Nolan Potts, ‘Doah Staff Writer
February 4, 2015
NBA All-Star Weekend is an exciting time for both fans and players. The fans get to see the best basketball players in the world assembled in one place, while the players get a chance to relax, enjoy the festivities and get away from the grind of an NBA schedule for a few days. This year’s events are taking place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. The two prominent nights are Saturday, Feb. 14, and Sunday, Feb. 15. Saturday night consists of a number of competitions, while Sunday night will be All-Star game itself. The three main events on All-Star Saturday night is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in which the participants show off their dribbling, passing, shooting and speed skills. They essentially go through an obstacle course, and the player with the fastest time wins the event. The participants for this event have not been announced, but in the past they have been some of the best guards in the league.
In the next event, some of the NBA’s best shooters will take the court in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. This year’s participants are Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Wesley Matthews (Portland Trail Blazers), J.J. Redick (Los Angeles Clippers) and Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks). There is also expected to be one more player added to the competition though the NBA has not yet announced that final participant. The final event of the night will show the fans some of the best athletes the NBA has to offer in the Sprite Slam Dunk. The four that will participate are Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Zach LaVine (Minnesota Timberwolves), Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic) and Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets).
Fans voted for the starters of the All-Star Game for each conference online, through Twitter and through text messaging. The Western Conference starters are Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzles) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans). This is Kobe’s seventeenth all-star selection, but he recently had shoulder surgery and will reportedly be sidelined for nine months so he will not play in this game. When a player is injured, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will name a replacement from someone who did not make the All-Star team. The two most likely candidates to replace the future hall of famer Bryant are Portland Trail Blazer guard Damian Lillard or Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. These two are having tremendous seasons and are considered to be the biggest omissions from the team this year by NBA experts, commentators and fans alike.
The Eastern Conference starters will be John Wall (Washington Wizards), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls) and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks). LeBron received the most votes among Eastern Conference players, only trailing Stephen Curry in the total voting. The reserves for each conference were selected by coaches around the NBA and were announced on Jan. 30. Teams that had multiple players selected in the Western Conference were the Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers — all with two each. In the Eastern Conference, those teams were the Atlanta Hawks (three players), while the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers all had two players named to team.
Even though these are not real games being played, the intensity will be at a high level on those two nights in Brooklyn. It’s the midway point for the NBA season, and the best players will be applauded for their efforts thus far. The fans will get to see their favorite athletes participate against the best of the best, and it is sure to be a very entertaining night for everyone involved!