NBA All-Star Weekend Primer

Welcome to New Orleans, where it’s officially NBA All-Star weekend. How do we feel about this…

Friday Night:

Friday night is kinda like a warm-up for Saturday…with that said, here are the main events you might be hearing about…

Celebrity Game: ESPN’s very own Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose host this year’s celebrity game as All-Star Weekend kicks off Saturday night. Who’s playing in this year’s game? It’s quite the array of stars, including: actor Michael B. Jordan, WNBA rookie Skylar Diggins, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and more. Tune in Friday night at 7pm on ESPN.

Rising Stars Challenge:The annual rookie-sophomore game kicks off Friday night at 9pm on TNT. Former NBA All-Stars and 1992 NCAA Championship alums Grant Hill and Chris Webber will coach this year’s squads, which are made up of the league’s best first and second year stars. Rookies to watch include: Utah’s Trey Burke, Philly’s Michael Carter-Williams, and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. Sophomores to watch include: New Orlean’s Anthony Davis, Portland’s Damian Llard and Washington’s Bradley Beal. This one should be fun.

Saturday Night:

Saturday night tips off at 8:30pm on TNT and has the potential to be beyond awesome. Why? The contest fields are loaded, and the fun is just about to begin…welcome to All-Star Saturday Night!

Shooting Stars: The Shooting Stars contest brings together a current NBA player, a WNBA player and NBA legend in a 3-person team to compete in a shooting contest. The 4 teams in this years event include:

  • Team 1 – Tim Hardaway Jr. (NYK), Tim Hardaway Sr. (Legend) & Elena Delle Donne (Chicago Sky)
  • Team 2 – Chris Bosh (MIA), Dominique Wilkins (Legend), Swin Cash (Chicago Sky)
  • Team 3 – Stephen Curry (GS), Dell Curry (Legend), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Stars)
  • Team 4 – Kevin Durant (OKC), Karl Malone (Legend), Skylar Diggins (Tulsa Shock)

The Pick: Team 3 (Stephen and Dell Curry are two of the best shooters in NBA history!)

Skills Challenge: The Skills Challenge highlights the some of the best point guards in the league. Contestants have to shoot a free-throw, dribble by obstacles, complete passes and a layup. The fastest time to complete the course wins the competition. This year’s teams include:

  • Team 1 – Miwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan
  • Team 2 – Philly’s Michael Carter-Williams and Orlando’s Victor Oladipo
  • Team 3 – Utah’s Trey Burke and Portland’s Damian Lillard
  • Team 4 – Pheonix’s Goran Dragic and Oklahoma City’s Reggie Jackson

The Pick: Team 4

3-Point Contest: Mirror, Mirror on the wall? Who’s the greatest 3-point shooter of them all?

  • Arron Affalo, Orlando
  • Bradley Beal, Washington
  • Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
  • Joe Johnson, Brooklyn
  • Marco Belinelli, San Antonio
  • Stephen Curry, Golden State
  • Damian Lillard, Portland
  • Kevin Love, Minnesota

The Pick: Stephen Curry is not only the best shooter in this contest, he’s the best shooter in the league. Enough said.

Slam Dunk Contest:The dunk contest is without a doubt the biggest event of the night. Historically, we’ve seen everything from dunks starting at the free-throw line to dunks over cars. What will this year’s contest bring? One thing is for sure, this year features one of the best line-ups in years. The field includes:

  • Terrance Ross, Toronto (2013 Champion)
  • Paul George, Indiana
  • John Wall, Washington
  • Harrison Barnes, Golden State
  • Damion Lillard, Portland
  • Ben McLemore, Sacramento

The Pick: See Ben Dance

Sunday Night:

NBA All-Star Game: The 63rd NBA All-Star Game tips off Sunday night at 8pm on TNT. It’s been quite the year so far for the league, from David Stern retiring to Adam Silver taking over as the new Commissioner; with great basketball and too many injuries everywhere and in between. While there’s been plenty of changes, this season has also seen some fan favorites and top talent showcase their game. In this year’s all-star game, we will see some of this talent unfold. The starters were voted by the fans, and the reserves were selected by the coaches:

  • Eastern Conference:
    • LeBron James, Miami (10-time selection)
    • Kyrie Irving, Cleveland (2-time selection)
    • Dwyane Wade, Miami (10-time selection)
    • Paul George, Indiana (2-time selection)
    • Carmelo Anthony, New York (7-time selection)
    • Reserves: Joakim Noah, Chicago; Roy Hibbert, Indiana; Chris Bosh, Miami;Paul Millsap, Atlanta; John Wall, Washington; Joe Johnson, Brooklyn; DeMar DeRozen, Toronto.
    • Coach: Frank Vogel, Indiana.
  • Western Conference:
    • Stephen Curry (1-time selection)
    • Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers (16-time selection, injured)
    • Kevin Durant, OKC (5-time selection)
    • Kevin Love, Minnesota (3-time selection)
    • Blake Griffin, LA Clippers (4-time selection)
    • Reserves: Dwight Howard, Houston; LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland; Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, Chris Paul, LA Clippers; James Harden, Houston; Tony Parker, San Antonio; Damian Lillard, Portland; Anthony Davis, New Orleans.
    • Coach: Scott Brooks, OKC

The Pick: The Western Conference and Kevin Durant will win the MVP. This game will be more fun than anything, so expect high scoring, little defense and lots of showmanship.

Random Facts:

  • There are a whole host of other events taking place over the weekend from the D-League All-Star game to press conferences to concerts.
  • Speaking of concerts, this year’s NBA All-Star game features Pharrell Williams and a whole hosts of guests including: Kendrick Lamar, Janelle Monae, Busta Rhymes, P. Diddy, Nelly, Snoop Lion and more.
  • Portland’s Damion Lillard will participate in a record 5 events over the weekend.
  • The MVP of the 2013 game was LA Clipper’s Chris Paul, who returns to his first team in New Orleans this weekend.
  • NBA All-Star weekend also leads into one of the biggest weeks for trades among teams. Expect movement.
  • This is also one of the biggest community service weekends of the year as many NBA and WNBA players come together to work with NBA Cares to give back in the New Orleans community.
  • Oh, and the parties… so many parties every night of the week.

Stories Around the League:

Family Magic
The best shooters in the NBA are from the same family
Where did Stephen Curry learn how to shoot? From his Dad. The best shooter in the league has come a long way from a college star at Davidson to become a NBA All-Star.

Expansion, Baby
Where does the NBA want to go?
Changes are coming to the new NBA as Commissioner Silver targets China, age limits, and the NFL.

Best Friends Forever
Size has got nothing on determination
Close friends Jared Sullinger and Trey Burke overcame obstacles to make it to the NBA.

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