NBA All Star Weekend in New York City
The best players in the world compete in three point shooting, dunk, and agility contests
You’ve probably seen the commercials. They frequent ESPN on an almost-nightly basis, hyping up the next big match-up in the NBA as the head-bobbing melody of Flo Rida’s new song, “GDFR,” plays in the background. You can expect a few more of those commercials in the near future, and they couldn’t be more accurate. It’s about to go down. For real.
This coming weekend, the NBA’s best will make their way to Madison Square Garden, the undisputed mecca of bright-lights basketball, in New York City for the league’s annual All-Star Weekend. Fans can look forward to a full weekend of the NBA’s brightest stars showing off their skills. Saturday will feature two popular pre-game contests which are sure to get fans excited for Sunday’s big game.
First up: the 3-Point Contest, in which the league’s most accurate sharpshooters try to make as many shots as they can from long range. While the silky smooth shooting of the Golden State Warriors’ Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, make them early frontrunners, keep an eye out for former Duke guard J.J. Redick, now of the Clippers, and the NBA’s leader in 3-point shooting, Kyle Korver, to make some noise and give the Splash Brothers a run for their money.
The other headliner event on Saturday night will be the always-popular Dunk Contest, featuring the highest of flyers in the association. In the past, the event has featured players wearing Superman capes and jumping over both people and cars, and is sure to once again provide more than a few Sportscenter-worthy moments. Expect the Milwaukee Bucks’ lanky Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Timberwolves’ uber-athletic rookie Zach Lavine to go head-to-head for the title.
Finally, on Sunday, fans will get the main event: the 64th All-Star Game, as the stars of each conference square off for bragging rights. If you like defense, this may not be the game for you: last year’s match-up finished with the East outlasting the West 163-155 behind an MVP performance from Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving. However, the game promises to be very entertaining with players on both sides looking to both secure a victory and bring the fans to their feet as often as possible.
The Eastern Conference will be led by a starting five consisting of hometown star Carmelo Anthony, who has managed to continue his high level of performance in spite of the woefully-bad New York Knicks; Pao Gasol of Chicago; Kyle Lowry of Toronto; assists leader John Wall of the Wizards; and LeBron James, back in a Cavaliers uniform after a soap-opera-worthy saga with the Miami Heat. The East will also benefit from bringing Al Horford and Jeff Teague off the bench, both of whom have been key factors in the surprising run of the Atlanta Hawks to the top of the standings.
The West, meanwhile, will look to avenge last year’s loss and get back to their winning ways with a line-up of leading vote-getter Steph Curry of the Warriors; Marc Gasol of Memphis; Kyle Korver of the Hawks making his first All-Star game after replacing Dwyane Wade; under-the-basket monster Anthony Davis of New Orleans; and first-time All-Star Demarcus Cousins of Sacramento, who will be replacing Kobe Bryant after the Lakers star suffered a shoulder injury that required season-ending surgery. Reserves for the West include Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, and the top scorer in the league, James Harden, all of whom would likely be starters if not for the overwhelming talent from the rest of the conference.
With the amount of depth coach Steve Kerr will have at his disposal in leading the West, I would expect the Western All-Stars to come away with a resounding victory. Without a doubt, though, the entire weekend will feature plenty of dunks, alley-oops, and I-can’t-believe-he-just-did-that moments. The league’s best players, facing off in the most legendary arena in the country? Yes please. Basketball fans can catch all the action on TNT this Saturday and Sunday.