'I really wish I could play in this game': Houston Astros' Alex Bregman ready for NBA All-Star role

Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, always dreamed of being a big-league ballplayer.


He wanted to be a big-time All-Star.


He wanted to win a World Series.

Check. And check again.

He even dreamed one day of being an NBA player.

Oops, those aspirations actually ended by the eighth grade when his 5-foot-4 mother was still taller.

But, just when he thought his hoop days were over, along comes an opportunity exceeding his wildest, craziest imagination.

Bregman, 28, is going to be an assistant coach in this year's NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ok, so maybe not the real All-Star Game, but the NBA celebrity game on Friday, Feb. 17 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

"I can't believe it,'' Bregman told USA TODAY Sports. "I remember the last All-Star Game I went to was in Phoenix in 2011, watching Kobe Bryant win the MVP award, and Shaq coming out dancing onto the court. The place was electric. It is so much fun.

"Man, I really wish I could play in this game, but I'm not allowed to.''

Nope, the standard MLB contract prohibits baseball players from playing any other sport competitively, but guess who can play now that he's retired?

Yep, recently retired and future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols, 43, who will be playing on Bregman's team.

"I never thought I'd be the one coaching Albert in anything,'' Bregman, 28, said laughing. "I don't know what's going to happen on the court, but I'm sure going to be asking for baseball pointers while I'm there.''

Sports newsletter: The biggest stories, every morning. And we deliver. Sign up now!

The Houston Astros
The Houston Astros' Alex Bregman shoots a ceremonial first shot before the Houston Rockets' game against the Miami Heat at Toyota Center on Dec 15, 2022.  

Bregman will be coaching alongside two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and his two brothers, along with Olympian Lindsey Vonn. Celebrities like Seattle Seahawks All-Pro receiver DK Metcalf, singer Nicky Jam and rapper 21 Savage will be playing, too.

"Basically,'' Bregman says, "my job is to get everybody water. I'm in charge of making sure everyone stays hydrated.''

Still, no matter how few plays Bregman may call, the truth is that he's a basketball aficionado.

He grew up as a diehard New Mexico Lobos fan, watching their college games in The Pit. His parents, Sam and Jackie, became owners of the local NBA Development team, the Albuquerque Thunderbirds, and the family took several trips to the NBA All-Star Game.

Los Angeles Lakers coach Darvin Ham, 49, who coached the Thunderbirds to the D-League title in 2006, became a mentor to Bregman, and provided training techniques that he uses today.

"He's like a big brother to me,'' Bregman says. "I rooted for Darvin wherever he went, and rooted for him hard. He had an amazing influence on my professional career.''

Bregman rooted for induvial players, rather than teams while growing up, but concedes that one of his biggest thrills was watching LeBron James return to Cleveland and defeat the Golden State Warriors when they trailed three games to one in 2016.

"Now, that was cool, really cool,'' Bregman said. "I'm look forward to meeting so many of those guys that I've loved watched playing. It's a thing where I always loved baseball, ever since I was a baby, but the NBA has always had a special place in my heart.''

Bregman and his wife will celebrate the fabulous NBA All-Star weekend together, then jump on a plane back to Houston for a day, and then it's off to spring training where the Astros will be trying to defend their World Series title.

And, in the meantime, well, don't mind Bregman if he takes the opportunity to scratch that NBA itch once and for all.

"I've got to get on that court and shoot a few three-pointers before the game, right?'' Bregman says. "Come on.''

Follow Bob Nightengale on Twitter @Bnightengale.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Alex Bregman embracing NBA All-Star celebrity game opportunity


More Related News

Man accused in Olathe hotel killing caught in Arizona, brought back to Johnson County
Man accused in Olathe hotel killing caught in Arizona, brought back to Johnson County
  • US
  • 2023-03-22 21:42:37Z

After a woman was found with a broken neck in an Olathe hotel room, Franklin Bluelake, of Albuquerque, was suspected of hiding out on tribal lands in Arizona...

Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer's son, Cameron, wins Gatorade National Boys Player of the Year

Cameron Boozer is the No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2025 and led his Miami high school to back-to-back state championships.

From NBA Academy to Sweet 16, Santiago Vescovi thankful for opportunity with Vols
From NBA Academy to Sweet 16, Santiago Vescovi thankful for opportunity with Vols

On the verge of playing in the Sweet 16, Vescovi can't help but think about his journey from Uruguay to the University of Tennessee.

A 15-year-old boy is dead five others injured after another mass shooting in Milwaukee
A 15-year-old boy is dead five others injured after another mass shooting in Milwaukee
  • US
  • 2023-03-21 21:05:55Z

The shooting appears to be the latest in a string of interpersonal conflicts spilling over into mass gun violence in the city.

Comer, Republicans
Comer, Republicans' Investigative Chief, Embraces Role of Biden Antagonist

DANVILLE, Ky. - Steering his SUV through pounding rain on his way to the state capital on a recent Thursday, Rep. James R. Comer, the chair of the Oversight ...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Basketball