NBA All Star Weekend
This year’s NBA All Star weekend took place in Chicago’s United Center last February 14-16. The 69th edition of the annual event was quite a poignant affair with the recent passing of former NBA commissioner David Stern, as well as Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna still on everyone’s minds, along with the other crash victims.
Jennifer Hudson sang a moving tribute to the beloved legend. While Pau Gasol, one of Kobe’s former Lakers teammates, also paid tribute to him and shared how Kobe used to tell him to “Do epic things always.” With that in mind, Pau declared to the crowd at the United Center, “So let’s have an epic weekend.” And an epic weekend it was indeed.
As always, the All Star weekend was packed with events. Highlights of the 3-day affair included the announcement of the Hall of Fame class of 2020, the All Star Celebrity Game, All Star Saturday Night’s Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk contest, and of course, the highly anticipated All Star Game.
One of the favorite events during the weekend is the slam dunk challenge, which never fails to leave jaws hanging and spectators excitedly on their feet. This year saw a close competition between Orlando Magic’s Aaron Gordon and Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones, Jr. Both players took to the sky with high jumps, spins and all sorts of tricks. The players also got some side line help with the likes of Chance the Rapper lending a helping hand (or height), making the competition that much more exciting. While Derrick was hailed slam dunk champion, it was a tough call with the crowd equally impressed by both players.
The culmination of the weekend, Sunday’s All Star Game was between the teams captained by Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was one of the most exciting games in recent All Star Game history, with a revised format implemented this year. The hardcourt was enlivened even further with a halftime performance by DJ Khaled, Quavo and Chance the Rapper.
It was an intensely exciting game with a much buzzed about block by Giannis on Lebron, and Athony Davis scoring the game winning free throw shot. At the end of four quarters, the teams made a staggering combined score of 312 points, with Team Lebron finish at the top with 157 points and Team Giannis right behind with 155 points. Kawhi Leonard, who’s the current finals MVP, capped off the weekend with the inaugural Kobe Bryant All Star MVP award.
There was as much action off the court as there was on the court with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Kanye West and Karlie Kloss sitting courtside. In fact, Karlie Kloss showed off some of her own skills, doing a push up session on the sidelines, after losing on her slam dunk bet.
It will be hard to top this year’s All Star Weekend but already, NBA fans are eagerly anticipating next year’s events in Indianapolis.