NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the biggest events every calendar year in sports. Celebrities, actors, rappers and other Hollywood personalities travel to the city where the game is hosted to take in all the weekend has to offer.
This year, the city of New Orleans will host this one-of-a-kind All-Star celebration. Far more than just a game, the NBA All-Star Weekend has an array of events to keep fans entertained.
The Celebrity All-Star Game gets things started on Friday featuring the likes of Mark Cuban and Nick Cannon. Later that night, the Rising Stars Challenge takes center stage. This game features rookies and second year players that will be in the All-Star spotlight soon enough.
Saturday night the show continues. The Skills Challenge, Three-Point Shooting Contest and Slam Dunk Contest provide some of the weekend’s best highlights.
However, everyone will tune in on Sunday night for the main attraction. The NBA All-Star game tips off, and the best players in the world put on quite a show.
The opening act of All-Star Weekend is a fun one. Past NBA stars, comedians and actors take the floor for some lighthearted competition. Fans of all different styles of entertainment can see what kind of talent their favorite star has.
Baron Davis and Jason Williams will be the NBA talent that takes the floor. Win Butler makes his return to Celebrity All-Star game as well. The lead singer of Arcade Fire is the reigning MVP of the game. Other high profile stars competing in the game include Mark Cuban, Candace Parker and Peter Rosenberg.
Additionally, SportsCenter anchors Jemele Hill and Michael Smith will square off as coaches. It will feature a match up between the Eastern and Western Conference, and the game is much more entertaining than it is competitive.
The Rising Stars Challenge is a fan favorite during this exciting weekend. Rookies and second year players square off to usher in the next generation of All-Stars. An interesting format, the game splits the teams up in to U.S. born players and International born players.
This game is worth tuning in to because the offense never stops. The score last year was 157-154. Zach LaVine stole the show with 30 points and countless dynamic dunks.
Pelicans’ fans in New Orleans will have someone to cheer for, as Buddy Heild will represent the Pelicans on the World team. Other intriguing players to look out for on that roster include Nikola Jokic and Kristaps Porzingis. These two of the games most skilled big men, and their ability mixed with their height make them unstoppable at times.
The U.S. roster includes Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker, two former Kentucky basketball players that have found their footing in the NBA with ease.
First one to 150 wins?
All-Star Saturday Night gets kicked off with a bit of skill. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge includes four guards and four forwards to see who the most skilled player in the NBA is.
The obstacle course format includes shooting, passing, speed dribbling and a lay up to finish it off. Past winners have usually been guards, but it will be interesting to see if the big men can put up a fight. DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis wow NBA fans on a consistent basis will their flashes of skill. Karl-Anthony Towns represented the big men well last year by taking home the title.
Guards will come to play in this event. Isaiah Thomas made it to the finals last season before losing a close one. John Wall is in the conversation as the best passer in the league, so he will shine in that aspect of the competition.
It usually comes down to who is hitting their jumpers that particular night, but this contest usually comes down to the wire.
In recent years, the three-point contest has overtaken the slam dunk contest as most exciting event at All-Star Weekend. The NBA has shifted to a run and gun league, and the big names tend to avoid the slam dunk contest for fear of an unnecessary injury.
The roster for the three-point contest is star studded to say the least. Sharpshooters such as Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson and Eric Gordon headline the field.
Dark horses include players such as Kemba Walker and C.J. McCollum.
The “all-money ball” last rack is a recent tweak to the competition that has made it much more interesting down the stretch. Every shot is worth two points on the last rack, allowing any player to save their round when they reach the end of it.
The slam dunk contest has experienced a bit of a renaissance over the past couple of years. Zach LaVine broke the internet two seasons ago, and then last season defended his title in a showdown for the ages against Aaron Gordon. LaVine has stepped down this season to let someone else claim the throne.
Aaron Gordon has continued his impressive slam dunk form throughout this regular season, and is the favorite heading in to this competition.
DeAndre Jordan is usually on the end of alley-oops in Lob City, so fans will be anxious to see what he can do out there by himself. A big man hasn’t dominated the competition since Dwight Howard.
Two relative unknowns round out the competition. Thomas Robinson III and Derrick Jones Jr. will try to make a name for themselves by taking home the title. Robinson III is an athletic big man that comes off the bench for the Indiana Pacers, but Derrick Jones Jr. is flashing his skills every once in a while as a reserve for the Phoenix Suns.
It is shaping up to be an interesting night for this competition, and Aaron Gordon will have the pressure squarely on his shoulders to bring his best.
The main event is still the highlight of everyone’s weekend. The fun and games are over, and the true NBA All-Stars take the court. The East vs. West is one of the oldest battles in sports, and the high-flying action is addicting right from the tip.
The Western Conference starting line up is imposing to say the least. Kawhi Leonard, Steph Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant are five of the best players in the league.
Starters for the Eastern Conference include LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Giannas Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler. On paper the West has the clear advantage, but the All-Star game format lends itself to high-octane offense where any team can get hot.
Russell Westbrook and Gordon Hayward are the key reserves for the West. Kemba Walker and Isaiah Thomas will be coming off the bench for the Eastern Conference and will need to provide instant offense.
It will be interesting to see where the game stands heading in to the fourth quarter. That is when the defensive intensity ratchets up and teams can no longer rely on alley-oop dunks and wide-open threes. The East will rely on the chemistry of James and Irving, while the West will turn to Durant and Curry to provide some stability down the stretch.
For great deals, head to TicketNetwork for tickets to all the events taking place during this star-studded weekend.