NBA All-Star Weekend preview

Michael Winn

Sports Blogger



(BipHoo Company, Flickr)

It’s about that time again when the best players in the NBA come together to compete in a meaningless game of basketball. This year, the All-Star festivities will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, home of the Lakers and Clippers. The All-Star Weekend usually features six events: the Rising Stars challenge, the Skills Challenge, the Slam Dunk contest, the 3-point contest, the Celebrity All-Star Game and the All-Star Game. However, one more event is added to the schedule this year: Snoop’s first annual Hip Hop All-Star game. Here’s what to watch in every event this weekend.

Celebrity All-Star Game

The action-packed weekend will start with the Celebrity All-Star Game at 6 p.m. Friday. In the 2017 celebrity game, the East easily won 88-59 against its West counterpart. Actor and social media star Brandon Armstrong, also known as BdotAdot5 on Twitter, walked away with the MVP trophy. Armstrong will compete on Team Clippers and will look to win his second MVP award in consecutive years. This will be a hard task to accomplish, though, as the opposing team, Team Lakers, is filled with celebrity talent. Team Lakers consists of former NBA players such as Tracy McGrady and Nate Robinson. Also on Team Lakers is the host of NBA2KTV, Rachel DeMita, back for another year. I would expect another low-scoring game with tons of great moments. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kevin Hart tried to make an appearance on the court.

Snoop’s first annual Hip Hop All-Star Game

This is the first year of this event, as Adidas and Snoop Dogg have brought together some of the big faces in rap and put them on a court. This event looks to be a good one. Many of the teams’ players are rappers and have a little experience in playing basketball. There are a lot of popular stars playing this game, such as team captains Snoop Dogg and 2 Chainz. Snoop’s team includes rappers/singers such as Chris Brown, K Camp and even Hitman Holla, a battle rapper on “Wild N’ Out.” 2 Chainz’s team has a lot of gold on its side with Trinidad James, Playboi Carti and former high school quarterback Quavo. I’m looking forward to watching this game and hoping it comes back for a second year.

Rising Stars game

The Rising Stars game will take place directly after the Celebrity All-Star game and will involve some of the brightest young talent in the NBA. The World Team and the U.S. Team will compete in this game. World Team has “The Process” on its side as Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons are playing. The U.S. Team will have some high flyers, such as Jaylen Brown, Donovan Mitchell and Dennis Smith Jr. Mitchell and Smith will compete in the Dunk Contest while Brown just has a habit of making others pay for trying to block his dunk. Lonzo Ball should compete for the U.S. Team but will not, as a knee injury will keep him sidelined. My hopes were that Ball would play so basketball fans could get a chance to see the Embiid versus Ball family hysterics. Lights-out shooting from Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield will keep this game fun to watch, along with showtime dunks and alley-oops from Mitchell and Smith jr.

All-Star Saturday Night

Saturday night of All-Star weekend consists of the Skills Challenge, the 3-point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest. The Skills Challenge is an obstacle course where centers and guards compete to show who’s the better ball handler. Some participants include Lou Williams, Joel Embiid and Al Horford. After the Skills Challenge will be the 3-point contest. Some of the best shooters in the league will look to dethrone last year’s champion Eric Gordon. Some of these participants include Klay Thompson, Paul George and Devin Booker. I 100 percent believe Booker will walk out the winner of the contest.

The Dunk Contest will end the evening and hopefully be the contest everyone talks about the week after. Lately, basketball fans have been spoiled with some of the greatest dunk contests, such as the Zach LaVine versus Aaron Gordon 2016 contest. This year has some of the youngest talent, as two of the contestants, Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell, are rookies. Larry Nance Jr. is also competing. Dunking runs in his blood, as his dad Larry Nance Sr. was the winner of the first ever Slam Dunk Contest. I’m not sure which rookie, but I do expect a rookie to walk out victorious.

NBA All-Star Game

The last event on All-Star Weekend is the 67th NBA All-Star Game. This year, LeBron James and Steph Curry were chosen as captains and allowed to select their own teams from a pool of fan-selected All-Stars. Team James has a couple of changes to its roster, as four players went down with injury and will not play. Team Curry is healthy and will not have to make changes. Curry is arguably the best shooter in the NBA. I can’t count out Team Curry, but I expect Team James to pull out a victory in another typical All-Star game with little defense after the first quarter, plenty of scoring and highlight reel plays. I believe Kyrie Irving will want to outperform James and will win the MVP Award of the All-Star Game.

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