NBA All-Star Weekend is finally here! All of the festivities in Toronto will kick off at 7:00 ET on ESPN with the Celebrity All-Star Game. It should be a fun weekend, culminating in Kobe Bryant‘s final All-Star showcase.
With six events scheduled for the weekend, check out our picks!
Celebrity All-Star Game
The most “uninspired” basketball event, the Celeb All-Star game has been “dominated” by Kevin Hart for the past 4 years. Now in a coaching role, Hart’s squad is led by former All-Star Chauncey Billups and O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton).
ON the opposite bench, you better believe Drake will do whatever it takes to secure a victory in his hometown, including making a surprise appearance late in the game. Plus, he has Tracy McGrady & Rick Fox, which could almost guarantee a win in this format!
Winner: Team Drake
BBVA Rising Stars
The Team USA v. Team World format makes an appearance for the second consecutive year. In the inaugural event last season, Andrew Wiggins took home MVP honors in a blowout victory.
My money’s on Kristaps Porzingis, everyone’s favorite Latvian sensation, to turn heads. Rumor has it, Porzingis will spend some time at the 3!
Don’t sleep on Team USA’s Rodney Hood, however. Utah’s emerging swingman is averaging 20.4 points in his last 10 games and is deadly enough to cash triples and exploit mismatches in this one.
Winner: Team World | MVP: Kristaps Porzingis
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
In a three-round, tourney style match up, it’s bigs v. smalls! This event is always super unpredictable but somehow, I feel Draymond Green will dazzle and come away with the victory – while showing he’s THE MOST SKILLED PLAYER IN THE UNIVERSE!
Winner: Draymond Green
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
CJ McCollum (POR) *Bosh’s injury replacement*
Now THAT is a field that could easily headline NBA All-Star Saturday Night. With Curry, Klay and JJ Redick as the favorites, Booker as the wild card and someone like Middleton, McCollum, Lowry, or Harden primed to steal the show, there will be plenty of fireworks throughout.
Conventional wisdom says Curry will repeat as champion, since well, you know, he doesn’t lose much of anything these days. But instead of riding the popular choice, I suspect Khris Middleton to shock the masses and produce a strong shooting display.
Middleton has the quick release, poise and consistent stroke to win. But will it be enough to vault to the top of the bunch and dethrone Steph?
Winner: Khris Middleton
Sprite Slam Dunk
This year’s dunk contest could be the best overall competition in years. Everyone has their own intrigue:
LaVine: BUILT for any sort of dunking extravaganza; rumored to have a previously unreleased bag of tricks ready to be unleashed; 2015 Champ
Gordon: THE most athletic, young forward in the Association; former amateur dunk champ with the personality and aerial artistry to break out
Barton: His nickname is THRILL; Barton may seem like more of a “game dunker” but he’s a gifted athlete with a ton of flair and creativity
Barring any missed dunks, Zach LaVine’s showmanship will push him to another trophy, with Barton breathing down his neck in a tight finish.
Winner: Zach LaVine
65th NBA All-Star Game
Kobe says he’s not going for the MVP. But all of us want him to get it. In the Black Mamba’s FINAL All-Star Game, we’re betting a few special moments are in store.
For the sake of a storybook ending and unofficial capper of Kobe’s illustrious career, look for the MVP trophy to fall into his hands for the the fifth time.
Winner: West | MVP: Kobe Bryant