The parking lot at Upper Deck’s offices in Carlsbad, Calif., was turned into a basketball court for a special appearance by company spokesman LeBron James. Fresh off his return from Beijing, the Olympic gold medalist was on hand to conduct a special basketball clinic for 10 youngsters from across the country.
The youngsters, ages 6-16, secured their spots at the clinic through various means. Three were selected at random from contest cards packaged inside retail packs of 2007-08 Upper Deck Series 1 Basketball and SP Basketball. The kids then entered numeric codes from the cards on the Upper Deck website for a chance to win a spot in the clinic. More than 300,000 online registrations were received. Two others won via a raffle drawing at Upper Deck’s retail store in Huntington Beach, Calif. Another won a video essay contest hosted by Upper Deck. Three other winners were chosen via a promotion hosted by a San Diego radio station, and the other winner was selected by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I’ll never forget,” said 13-year-old Mark Detrow of San Diego, one of the guests.
James said he enjoyed being around the youngsters. “It’s great to get out and have fun with the kids,” James said. “This is like a dream for them, so for me to be able to fulfill that dream and be out here and have fun with them is an unbelievable feeling for myself.”
The event attracted media coverage throughout Southern California. In addition to the clinic, James spent part of the day signing trading cards and memorabilia for upcoming UD product launches.