By ZACH WOHLEKING
The NBA All-Star break always brings entertainment for hardcore and casual fans alike. This year in Los Angeles, All-Star weekend did not fail to disappoint us, as the NBA continues to find new ways to make the same events exciting.
Kicking it back to Friday, Feb. 16 the All-Star festivities began at 7 p.m. with NBA celebrity game. The celebrity game always brings a few laughs here and there as we get to see some the most popular faces of pop culture play in an NBA regulated basketball game. This year, because of the location, both celebrity teams were split into team Clippers and team Lakers, the names of the two respective Los Angeles basketball franchise. Notable players in the celebrity were Quavo, Jamie Foxx and Olympic sprinter Andre Degrasse. Quavo and Degrasse led the night in scoring with a combine 36 points for team Clippers. Team Clippers ended up getting the win 75-66.
The next event was the big one for Friday night, The rising stars game. The theme was again for the second-year USA vs the World. This brings all the top young up and coming players from the United States and all the top young international players against each other in an All-Star game setting. This game has always been seen to be more popular among hardcore NBA fans as it’s a great showcase of all the players that may be the faces of the league in a few years. The World team took this one shooting almost 60% from the field all game winning 155-124. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 35 on 14/21 shooting.
Saturday’s events were the skills, three point, and slam dunk challenges. All entertaining and fun events that always bring the flair and excitement to the weekend. These challenges are a great opportunity to possibly gain a little more fame among fans as well as further their brand. Winning one of these, stables you as one of the most skilled players when it comes to that specific skill in basketball. The first event was the skills competition, which puts players through an obstacle course where they must pass, dribble, and shoot faster than their opponents.
The winner was a fairly small named player out of Brooklyn, Spencer Dinwiddie, who has recently been playing well for the Nets. The next event was the three point contest, always an interesting showcase of the best shooters in the league. Players have one minute to hit as many threes as they can from five different spots behind the three point line. The young Devin Booker who is only 20 years old took home the title, hitting 20 of 25 shot attempts.
Lastly the big one, the dunk contest, it is pretty self-explanatory and pretty famous, anyone who knows basketball knows of the dunk contest. Although it has lost some of its luster over the years, it’s still a great showcase of just how freakishly athletic some NBA players are. Larry Nance Jr. and Donovan Mitchell were the two standouts in this contest but Mitchell took home the win with some crazy dunks. The most notable being a windmill dunk thrown off a backboard that was not the backboard with the rim he ended up dunking on. Hard to describe you’d have to see it to believe it.
Finally, the big show, All-Star Sunday. The sixty seventh annual All-Star game had a slew of talent like always. The set up for this year was way different then years past as this was the first year that instead of an Eastern Conference team against a Western Conference approach, each team would have a captain and that captain would then choose their team based on preference out of a pool of all star players chosen by fan voting and coaching selection.
The two top vote getters would be the captain of each team, and to no surprise those two players were LeBron James and Steph Curry. This format is big for All-Star weekend, because it’s done in a sort of school yard pickup style, players take a little more pride in being a part of a chosen team by a peer. It really showed during the game, as it was competitive throughout with a huge development, defense was actually played. Yes defense was played in an All-Star game and it was competitive throughout with team LeBron just beating team Steph 148-145. All-Star MVP being non-other than LeBron James. This puts another All-Star weekend in the books, next year Adam Silver and the NBA may have some new format changes to further spice up All-Star weekend.