Throughout the weekend of February 15, the annual NBA All-Star Weekend was held at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Every year, the greatest basketball players in the world gather to give their fans a show. Rising stars and celebrities also make their way into All-Star Weekend. Celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Ludacris, and Jamie Foxx traveled to Charlotte. The events held during the weekend were: NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest, Verizon Slam Dunk and the 67th NBA All-Star Game.
Being an NBA All-Star is a hard feat to accomplish. Most players never even step on the court in an All-Star game. The Rising Stars game and Skills Challenge help younger and less popular players get more time in the spotlight. The Rising Stars game consists of two teams in which players born in the USA compete against players from the rest of the world. Team USA defeated Team World 157-154 with Kyle Kuzma winning MVP of the game. For the celebrity game, there weren’t any team captains and teams were assigned randomly. The home team won 82-80 against the away team. Even though Quavo, an Atlanta rapper, had a game high of 27 points, Famous Los, a social media personality, took home the MVP award, racking up 22 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists.
The NBA is progressively becoming more reliant on three-point shooting. Nowadays, spectators are privileged to watch the greatest shooter of all time, Steph Curry. It seems as though all the Currys were involved in this competition. Steph was up against his younger brother, Seth Curry, who also plays in the NBA, with their dad, Dell Curry, in the crowd. Along with the Curry brothers, Buddy Hield, Damian Lillard, Kemba Walker, Danny Green, Joe Harris and Khris Middleton put their shooting capabilities to the test in the Three-Point Contest. Dirk Nowitzki made an appearance as a part of his farewell tour as well. Joe Harris advanced to the championship round with Steph Curry. In that round, he put up a score of 26. Curry had a chance to tie Harris by making his final five shots but he fell short and only made four. Joe Harris has come a long way since his days in the G-League. The Three-Point Competition caused his popularity to increase significantly.
The Dunk Contest is the most electrifying part of All-Star Weekend. Dunking the basketball always hypes the crowd up, but the contestants in this competition usually take it to another level. Competitors are innovating new ways to impressively dunk the basketball in order to entertain the crowd. The contestants of the dunk competition were John Collins, Miles Bridges, Dennis Smith Jr., and Hamidou Diallo. John Collins and Miles Bridges were eliminated after their first sets of dunks. Diallo ended up beating out Dennis Smith Jr. and winning the competition.
The All-Star Game had two teams, each equipped with a captain. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were chosen as the captains of their teams. They had a mini draft where they chose players already voted in the All-Star Game. The All-Star Game is notorious for not having defense so these teams faced off in an offensive battle. J. Cole did the halftime performance of the game. Hailing from Fayetteville, J. Cole got to perform in his home state, North Carolina. J. Cole chose to perform songs such as “A Lot,” “Middle Child,” “ATM” and “No Role Modelz.” He delivered an exceptional show. The game ended with a final score of 178-164 in favor of Team Lebron.
All in all, NBA All-Star Weekend was exactly what I expected. There was no defense being played in the All-Star Game and there were no flashy dunks in the dunk competition unlike in previous years. NBA All-Star Weekend is declining in quality but there is a chance that it will get better and regain the support of fans. Whenever there are non-competitive games, the All-Star Weekend will always be dull. The Three-Point Contest should feature past NBA players such as Ray Allen, known for his three-point shot, to entice older NBA fans. The dunk competition heated up in 2016 when Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon had a contest comparable to the famous 1988 dunk contest with Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. The All-Star Game was boring because there was no defense being played due to them having team captains instead of dividing the teams by conference like they used to do. This will enhance competitiveness among the players involved. Even though the Western conference has much more talent than the Eastern conference, it will give the players an incentive to compete. Lack of effort caused the best part of the game to be the halftime performance by J. Cole. I still watched All-Star Weekend but there are changes that should be made to make it more interesting.