NBA All-Star Weekend

Feb 20th 2019

Fans of the NBA had a weekend full of fun as rivalries were set aside during the All-Star Break. They watched some good basketball, as well as fun competitions before heading into the last few months of the regular season.

NBA All-Star Weekend 2019

(Pixabay / tookapic)

Here’s a look at what happened during the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte:

So good, it’s not even funny

This year’s All-Star Celebrity Game was full of stars like TV personality Dr. Oz, singer Chris Daughtry, 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year A’ja Wilson, rapper Quavo, and co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks Marc Lasry. The game ended with Team Home edging out Team Away 82-80.

Famous Los, a comedian known for his viral basketball videos, proved his worth on the court by scoring 22 points for Team Home. He was named the MVP of the game.

The USA takes on the World

Players showed off their skills in a high-scoring MTN Dew Ice Rising Stars game in a showcase of the NBA's youngest stars. Team USA defeated Team World 161-144. Los Angeles Lakers power forward Kyle Kuzma led scoring for Team USA with 35 points, six rebounds, and one block. He was backed up by Boston Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum who offered up 30 points, nine rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young scored 25 points off the bench and had ten assists and a block.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell added 20 points for Team USA, while also adding nine assists, five steals, and seven rebounds. Sacramento Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox had 16 assists and five steals.

Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons led the scoring for Team World with 28 points five rebounds, six assists, and three steals.

Kuzma was named the MVP of the game.

Killer skills

Eight NBA players went head-to-head in a test of skills in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In this challenge, the players pick up their ball, run down the court, weaving around posts of the NBA logo, then they pass the ball through a hole, dribble a ball down to the other side of the court to shoot a layup, take the ball back down the court, and shoot a free throw. The person who does all of these tasks the fastest wins the round.

Celtics small forward Jayson Tatum ended up winning the event, but not without some effort. Tatum took out Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round despite having a slow start after missing the pass. However, Tatum caught up and hit his three-pointer first to move on to the semifinal. Tatum had another slow start and struggled with the passing section in the semifinal, but ended up defeating Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic by banking his first three-pointer. Tatum faced-off with the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young in the final round. In this round, Tatum made the pass on the first try but was behind Young, whose speed put him out front. However, Tatum banked his three-pointer from half-court to win it all.

Going the distance

Hitting 3-pointers can be challenging. However, there are a lot of NBA players that easily make those seemingly impossible shots. Ten of those players gathered together to compete in the MTN Dew 3-point contest. The contest requires the contestants to shoot from five different positions around the arc and try to make as many 3-point goals as possible in one minute. At each station, there’s a rack of five balls, four of which are worth one point if they make it through the net. The fifth ball is worth two points and is known as a “money ball.” The last rack contains five money balls.

After round one, Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry scored 27 points, while Sacramento Kings player Buddy Hield scored 26 points and Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets scored 25 points.

In the final round, Harris shot first, knocking down all the money balls in the last rack to score 26 points. Hield went next, missing a lot of shots only to score 19 points. Curry followed and was on track to defeat or tie with Harris, hitting nine shots in a row. By the time Curry got to the money ball rack, he had enough possible points to earn to tie with Harris, but missed his third shot on the rack, giving Harris the win.

That’s a slam dunk

While Donovan Mitchell wasn’t in the running to defend his AT&T Slam Dunk title, he did commentate the showcase. Mile Bridges (Charlotte Hornets), John Collins (Atlanta Hawks), Hamidou Diallo (Oklahoma City, Thunder), and Dennis Smith Jr. (New York Knicks) each competed for the title. Each player got two dunks. In the first round, Diallo led the field, scoring 48 points from the judges on a lob dunk that he finished left-handed. Smith was in second with 45 points after tossing himself the ball and doing a running dunk from the sideline. Collins scored 40 points, while Bridges scored 33 points after missing a difficult dunk several times.

In the second round, Bridges opened the competition doing a 360-degree turn in the air to dunk the ball with his right hand. The dunk earned him 50 points. Collins put on a show as well, donning an early 1900s flying cap, goggles, and a scarf and jumping over a replica of the Wright Brothers’ plane. While he took out part of the plane’s tail with his foot, Collins scored 42 points with the maneuver, putting him one point behind Bridges.

Smith then dunked over rapper J Cole, who lobbed the ball up for him while sitting in a chair. J Cole then attempted a dunk himself but missed it. Smith earned 50 points from the judges to take the lead. Diallo brought the 7-foot-1-inch Shaquille O’Neal out on the floor and jumped over him to dunk the ball. He then hung on the rim and opened the front of his jersey to reveal the Superman logo beneath. He scored 50 points as well.

In the final round, Smith struggled to make his first dunk, then changed up the dunk on his third attempt and missed it, to earn only 35 points. Diallo then did a simple right-handed dunk to earn 43 points.

For Smith’s second jump, Stephen Curry lobbed him the ball while he leap-frogged over Dwyane Wade to dunk the ball after several attempts. He earned 50 points. Diallo only needed 43 points to win the contest and did so by jumping over a person who was holding the ball over their head. He grabbed the ball from the person's hands mid-flight, and knocked it down to score 45 points and win the contest.

Who shined the brightest?

The final event of the weekend was the All-Star Game, which pitted Team LeBron against Team Giannis. With over 300 points scored in the game, Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis 178-164.

Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors) led scoring for Team LeBron with 31 points, while nine other players scored in double digits. Kyrie Irving (Boston Celtics) had nine rebounds and six assists.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) led his team with a double-double, scoring 38 points and offering up 11 rebounds, five assists, and a steal. Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) also had a double-double with 12 rebounds and 10 points.

Durant was named the MVP of the game.