Is there a more star-studded event in America than NBA All Star Weekend? Every year it’s like a 1,000 celebrity pile up at the intersection of Athlete Street, Movie Star Avenue and Famous Musician Boulevard. Even the Academy Awards can’t put a cross section of fame like that together, even when they give some phony baloney Oscar to Kobe Bryant.
And yet who arrives in Charlotte in a style no one else can even approach? None other than Mr. Kraft. He sits alone upon the throne at the top of the platinum Celebrity Pyramid. Getting snuck into the back through the bowels of the arena like Henry Hill entering the Copa. Getting swarmed by less famous, less celebrated people. Bedecked with the diamond-encrusted, license plate-sized “CHAMPIONSHIPS” necklace his man Meek Mill gave him. And so great is the power of his A-list fame that it rubbed off on Meek and made him $4,000 richer.
It’s hard to remember now that there was ever a time when he was anything less than America’s most revered famous person. That 30 years ago he was just a respected philanthropist in the Forest Products industry. Or 25 years ago when he was “just” the man who saved pro football in New England. Before he became what he is now: The gold standard for American success. Steve Jobs, Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen all rolled into one 70-something body.
Now Mr. Kraft is onto the Oscars next weekend. Followed by God only knows how many other awards shows, concerts, state dinners with world leaders and sporting events before he goes back to the White House. And he’ll be the biggest power broker at those events too. It staggers the imagination to wonder what it’ll be like when he wins his seventh ring.