The votes are in, the events are scheduled, and captains are in place! Yet again, it will be Team LeBron versus Team Giannis at the NBA All-Star Game. Though the teams haven’t been selected (that’s tomorrow!), the NBA has announced a few updates to the format of the game and contests. And we’re just now learning who will participate in the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest. Of course, after the devastating news of the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, we can also expect a few heartfelt tributes over the weekend. Here’s a look at the rule updates, news, and participants in this year’s NBA All-Star Events in Chicago.
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NBA All-Star Game – Rule Updates & Players
So it’s not actually going to be the East vs. West. For the third year in a row, the captains will select their own teams from the pool of NBA All-Stars who have been voted in by the fans and media. LeBron and Giannis will fantasy draft players for their respective teams on February 6th, if you want to watch it go down on TV! The teams will also be wearing No. 24 jerseys in honor for Kobe Bryant and No. 2 jerseys for Gianna.
About a week ago, the NBA also announced several rule changes for the game, heavily influenced by Bryant’s memory, along with $500,000 in charity donations. Here’s how the game will go:
- After both the first and second quarters, the score will be reset to 0-0.
- The winners of the first, second, and third quarters will each receive $100,000 to donate to a Chicago charity of their captain’s choosing.
- After three quarters, the scores will be totaled up (as in a regular game), and the fourth quarter will be untimed. A target score will be set by adding 24 points (in honor of Kobe) to the score of the team in the lead. For example, if the leading team has 100 points, the target score for both teams will be 124. Whichever team reaches the target score first is the winner.
- The winner of the game receives an additional $200,000 to donate to a charity of their choice.
For the East, the starters include Giannis, Trae Young, Kemba Walker, Pascal Siakam, and Joel Embiid. The reserves will be Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Domantas Sabonis, Ben Simmons, and Jayson Tatum.
For the West, the starters are LeBron, James Harden, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis. The reserves include Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Nikola Jokic, Damian Lillard, Donovan Mitchen, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook.
NBA Taco Bells Skills Challenge Updates & Participants
On Saturday night, the impressive NBA Skills Challenge will take place at the United Center. This fast-paced challenge includes a single-elimination bracket tournament format of eight players who’ll compete in an obstacle course out on the court. The challenge is supposed to test every ability that a player needs to thrive in the NBA. Players face each other head-to-head in identical obstacle courses, and the first to finish moves on to the next round while the other is eliminated.
In the past, the obstacle course has featured three rounds which test dribbling, passing, three-point shooting, and agility. Players had to dribble down the court between obstacles, pass through a hoop, make a lay-up, and score a three-pointer to finish the round.
This year’s Skills Challenge participants include Bam Adebayo, Patrick Beverly, Derrick Rose, Domantas Sabonis, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Pascal Siakam, and Spencer Dinwiddie. (Patrick Beverly, Jayson Tatum, and Spencer Dinwiddie have all won the Skills Challenge in years past!)
NBA Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest & Participants
Ooh, in this contest, we get to watch eight of the best shooters in the NBA try to make as many threes as possible. Each participant gets 70 seconds to move along the arc from one corner to the other, taking 27 shots from behind the three-point line from five different designated positions. The first four balls at each spot are worth one point, while the special (typically red, white, and blue) “Moneyball,” the final ball at each spot, is worth an extra point.
In this year’s 3-Point Contest, there will be two new positions located six feet behind the arc – one in the center and one at the wing. A green “3-Ball” (you know, green for Mountain Dew) will be located at each of these spots, and shots made with this new ball will be worth three points. The top three scorers in the first round move on to the final round where the same contest is repeated and a winner is declared.
Participants in the 3-Point Contest include Trae Young, Zach LaVine, Buddy Hield, Joe Harris, David Bertans, Damian Lillard, Devonte Graham, and Duncan Robinson. Joe Harris won it last year in Charlotte.
Slam Dunk Contest & Participants
Perhaps the most awaited Saturday night challenge, the Slam Dunk Contest is super exciting – maybe because the players are given total creative freedom in this one, or maybe because we just love a good dunk! Heck, there might even be costumes involved! It’s also the most subjective contest – a panel of judges decides who wins. (The fans actually decided until 2014.)
Four of the greatest dunkers in the league will face off to give us their best slam dunks. In the first round, the players get two opportunities to dunk and the judges will score each of those dunks on a scale of 0 to 50, with a little influence from the crowd’s noise, of course. Scores are based on skill, creativity, and athleticism. The two players with the highest cumulative scores will move on to the second and final round where they’ll dunk two more times each before a winner is declared.
This year’s Slam Dunk Contest participants include Derrick Jones, Aaron Gordon, Dwight Howard, and Pat Connaughton. None of these guys have won before!
Schedule of 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend Events in Chicago & Tickets
|Friday, February 14th||NBA Celebrity All-Star Game||Shop Tickets!|
|Friday, February 14th||NBA Rising Stars Challenge||Shop Tickets!|
|Saturday, February 15th||NBA Practice & Media Day||Shop Tickets!|
|Saturday, February 15th||NBA All-Star Saturday Night||Shop Tickets!|
|Sunday, February 16th||NBA All-Star Game||Shop Tickets!|