With the L.A. Clippers returning to Honolulu for training camp this fall to start the 2018-2019 NBA season, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) staged Hawaii Night, a festive celebration held tonight at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles to welcome the team and its fans.
Hawaii Night featured stellar ukulele performances by two modern-day legends of Hawaiian music, along with a hula halau performance before and during the game, giveaways of fresh flower lei and Aloha Clippers hats, and a contest giveaway of a free surfboard.
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Daniel Ho, a six-time Grammy Award winner, performed a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem on the ukulele joined by 21 members of Halau Hula Kealii o Nalani under the direction of Kumu Hula Kealii Ceballos.
At halftime, Taimane Gardner wowed the packed house with her phenomenal artistry on the ukulele, perfoming a medley of songs including Misirlou, Pipeline, the Hawaii Five-0 theme, Walk Don’t Run, and Wipeout.
Kekaiulu Hula Studio and Haloa Band greeted arriving fans in front of the STAPLES Center with beautiful hula and Hawaiian music and also performed on-court before the game and during a timeout in the first quarter. The first 10,000 fans received a fresh flower lei or Aloha Clippers hat created special for tonight’s event. Additionally, fans sitting behind the baseline were given foam “shaka” hands.
At the end of the third quarter, Wayne Hung, a UCLA student from Taiwan, sunk a free throw to win a Downing Surf Hawaii Surfboard in the Hawaii Shoot or Pass Contest.
Courtesy of Pleasant Holidays, residents in Southern California have been participating in an online contest, DreamHawaiiSweeps.com, to win one of four trips to Oahu.
“Hawaii Night was an opportunity to say mahalo to the Clippers and show their fans what makes being in the Hawaiian Islands such an amazing experience,” said Leslie Dance, HTA vice president of marketing and product development. “The entire Clippers organization really embraced the aloha spirit during their first training camp last year and we are thrilled to welcome them back this fall.”
Adding to the night’s enjoyment for Clippers fans, the Clippers came back with a big fourth quarter to beat the Orlando Magic by the score of 113-105.
The Clippers will travel to Honolulu in late September and hold training camp at the University of Hawaii. Details and dates for training camp and other events will be announced at a later date.