It was almost as if Patrick Beverley couldn't put his excitement into words. Asked about getting a chance to compete on All-Star weekend in his hometown, the Clippers guard took a few seconds and then answered.
"It's like an emotion I really can't explain," Beverley said. "It's still surreal to me. I find myself trying to pinch myself sometimes."
Beverley graduated from Marshall High School on Chicago's West Side. Being from Chicago is a point of pride for him, and on Saturday night, he competed in the annual Skills Challenge.
"You know me -- I represent Chicago, the grit of Chicago. I'm just fortunate to be able to represent the city the right way," Beverley added.
Another Chicagoan competing this weekend is Anthony Davis. The Lakers big man grew up on the city's South Side and graduated from Perspectives Charter School.
"It means a lot to play here," Davis said. "All-Star (weekend) is a unique event, and for me to be here and play in front of my friends and family and share this weekend with them, it's been amazing so far."
Sunday night will see Davis play in his seventh All-Star Game, and he's thrilled to do it in from of so many people who watched him grow up.
"My family doesn't get a chance to see me play a lot, being on the west coast now, and I only come here once a year. For them to come and share this weekend and be a part of it with me is going to be amazing," said Davis.
And then there's Jimmy Butler. The Bulls drafted him in 2011 and he played the first six seasons of his career for the team. Even though he was traded away in the summer of 2017, Butler still holds the city in high regard
"Chicago loves the sport of basketball, and to have so many great basketball players here at one time is huge for this city," Butler said.
Butler went on to explain how the Bulls winning legacy makes the weekend even more special.
"When you think of a team and an arena, where Michael Jordan played is one that's always going to pop up. Where Scottie Pippen played is going to pop up. Where they (the Bulls) three-peated at is going to pop up," Butler said. "Chicago is a basketball powerhouse for high school going up to the league. Basketball is really, really important here, and I'm fortunate to be back here for All-Star weekend," added the five-time All-Star.
This weekend's festivities mark just the third time that the city has hosted the NBA All-Star Game, and it's the first time the event has been held in the Windy City since 1988.
Tip-off for the game itself is set for 7 p.m. Sunday.