TAMPA — When the National Association of Black Journalists comes to town, parties and celebrities usually follow.
At this year's convention, which started Wednesday and runs through Sunday, the lineup features some of the biggest names in sports, entertainment, politics and media.
Here's a sampling of the stars you'll see strolling through downtown and the places you'll need to be:
• NBA MVP and Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James will promote his film, More Than a Game, during a news conference at the Tampa Convention Center at 11 a.m. today. The documentary, due out in select theaters Oct. 2, follows "King James" and four high school teammates on their journey from Akron, Ohio to the national high school championship series. The press conference will feature sports broadcaster Tiki Barber, twin brother of Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ronde Barber.
Can I get in? Invitation-only event for members of the NABJ Sports Task Force.
• Anika Noni Rose, who played alongside Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy in the movie adaptation of the Broadway hit Dreamgirls, will perform at 7:30 tonight during a preview of The Princess and the Frog. The animated picture opens nationwide Dec. 11 and marks the first time that a female Disney hero is African-American. Rose, a Florida A&M alumna, is the voice of Princess Tiana.
Can I get in? Sure — if you pony up money for a day pass to the conference, $245 for NABJ members, $395 for nonmembers. First come, first served.
• On Saturday, comedian Chris Rock and actress Nia Long will answer questions after two screenings of the film Good Hair, about African-Americans and — you guessed it — their hair. The movie will be shown at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Muvico 20, 1600 E Eighth Ave, Ybor City.
Can I get in? Only those registered for the convention will receive passes to the preview. (But read on. Good news ahead.)
• Ex-Bucs QB Shaun King, left, Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier and ESPN's Stuart "Booyah" Scott will be at Splitsville at 9:30 tonight for the 4th Annual NABJ Sports Task Force JAM, sponsored by ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Splitsville is located at 615 Channelside Drive, Suite 120.
Come on, can I at least get into this? Yes. See I told you to keep reading. Good things come to those who wait. Admission: $20, advance; $35, at door; free bowling from 10-11:30 p.m. for the first 200 people who purchase tickets. VIP admission: $75, advance; $100, at door; limited to 75 people. Tickets can be purchased at the registration desk at the convention center. No hats, shorts or jerseys allowed.
• Legendary DJ Kid Capri and "Fly Jock" Tom Joyner, left, the "haaardest" working man in radio, headline the Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists' Beach Jam at the Florida Aquarium at 10 p.m. Friday. The event will include a performance by rising R&B artist Tyler Woods; multinight luxury hotel prizes; and access to aquarium exhibits.
Can I get in? Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online at tbabj.com. Proceeds benefit the TBABJ's Griot Drum Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to aspiring journalists of color. Dress to impress.
Rodney Thrash can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 269-5303.