NBA’s All-Star Weekend a huge success despite skepticism

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Alex Almahmoud, Staff Writer

This season, the NBA controversially elected to continue the annual All-Star Weekend, although many of the players disagreed with this decision.  Nevertheless, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came to the conclusion that some changes needed to be made to the format this year.  

The first of many changes made was bringing back the “Elam Ending,” a new format introduced in last year’s game.  In this format, each quarter is like its own game—there was a winner for each quarter, and the leading team at the end of the third quarter has 24 points (in honor of the late Kobe Bryant) added to their score to create a “target score.”  Whichever team reaches the target score first, wins the game.  

Along with the return of the “Elam Ending,” the NBA chose to condense the weekend down into one day—the 3-Point Contest and Skills Challenge before the game and the Dunk Contest at halftime of the game.  

Before the main attraction began, there was the 3-Point Contest, headlined by former 3-Point Contest champion Stephen Curry, and other stars such as Jaylen Brown, Zach LaVine, and Donovan Mitchell.  In this competition, some of the NBA’s best 3-point shooters took 25 total shots from 5 different spots on the court, with each regular ball being 1 point, and the 2 point “moneyball” at the end of each rack.  

“The 3-Point Contest is absolutely stacked this year, and even though I think anyone can take it, there’s no way you can bet against the greatest shooter of all time, Steph Curry,” said sophomore Jack McNaughton. 

 Jack’s prediction would end up being correct, as Curry won the contest, hitting his final moneyball in order to propel himself over the runner-up, Mike Conley.  After the 3-Point Contest, there was the Skills Challenge, headlined by New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic.  

Here, two players simultaneously attempt to make their way through a basketball obstacle course, and whoever completes it faster wins the matchup, and the loser is eliminated.  Domantas Sabonis of the Pacers destroyed all of his competition, winning this tournament and taking home the trophy.

In most seasons, the Rising Stars Game is played, with teams composed of the NBA’s best young talent from the USA going against the best young players from the rest of the world.  The NBAunfortunately decided not to have the Rising Stars Game this year; however, they did name the Rising Stars rosters as if there were a game.  This elite group of young players would’ve been headlined by Zion Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett.  

Finally, at halftime of the big game, there was the Dunk Contest, the fan-favorite out of the All-Star competitions.  The rules are simple: each player competing took turns doing the most creative, impressive, or athletic dunk.  There was a set of judges composed of former Dunk Contest participants, and they rated each dunk out of 50.  There were 3 rounds, and whoever received the highest total score wins the contest.  This group of incredibly young and athletic players consisted of Obi Toppin, Cassius Stanley, and Anfernee Simons.  

“This year’s dunk contest features some younger players who have an opportunity to prove themselves and show that they belong in this league. I think Obi Toppin has a really good shot at winning. He’s a bigger guy, but his athleticism is unmatched. If it’s not Obi, I’ve gotta go with Cassius Stanley to win the dunk contest, he’s got bounce,” said sophomore Joseph Asselta.  

Joe’s prediction didn’t exactly go his way, as Anfernee Simons won the contest, over Obi Toppin, after finishing with an insane dunk where he attempted to kiss the rim. 

The game was the most exciting event.  Team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant each drafted a team from the selected All-Stars before they go to battle.  The All-Star Draft aired March 4.  Team LeBron got the first pick since he was the leading vote-getter, selecting Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.  

With the second pick, Team Kevin selected his fellow teammate and one of the best guards in the league, Kyrie Irving.  Team LeBron’s starting lineup consisted of himself, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic, and Luka Doncic, and Team Durant’s starters Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, and Jayson Tatum.  Kevin Durant was unable to play in the game due to injury.  

“Team LeBron is stacked. I think there’s no way he can lose this game.  I don’t even think it’s going to be close,” said sophomore Sam Kassan.  

This prediction came to fruition, as Team LeBron ended up winning in dominant fashion, taking home the victory 170-150.  This statement win was led by All-Star Game MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who had 35 points on perfect 16-16 shooting.  

This season’s All-Star Weekend might’ve looked a little different, but it still had the same exciting competition among the league’s best players that the fans are treated to every year.