When Mayor Annise Parker ceremonially purchased tickets to the NBA All-Star Jam Session from James Harden and Clyde Drexler in December, it symbolized what the event is all about: easier access to tickets and a way to connect with the NBA’s past, present and future.

“The NBA Jam Session was completely built for the fans,” said Patrick Sullivan, the NBA’s vice president of special events. “We understand that it’s tough to get tickets to the actual All-Star Game. So we try to have something for all fans. Jam Session is the ultimate fan experience.”

The Jam Session — like the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl or Fanfest at the MLB All-Star Game — is a mix of exhibits, interactive events (shooting, passing, dribbling and even dunking), autograph sessions, music and games. The event opens at 4 p.m. Thursday and runs through Sunday.

The transformation of the George R. Brown Convention Center into a little bit of hoops heaven takes four days to complete as more than 70 18-wheelers worth of basketball gear is unloaded and set up.

This year’s Jam Session will feature a large element of Houston history. Retired Rockets star Clyde Drexler and current players James Harden and Chandler Parsons are among the more than 150 scheduled appearances from NBA/WNBA players, legends and coaches, Sullivan said.

What most consider the seminal moment in Rockets history — the back-to-back championships in 1993-94 and 1994-95 — also will be featured. Fans who saw the two trophies captured from afar can be close enough to touch the case containing them and will be allowed to take photos. Fans also can take a picture with the 2013 Larry O’Brien trophy.