NBA All-Star Weekend: All in One

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Japheth Oydepo

The NBA All Star Game commenced in Atlanta, featuring all four of the regular events in one action packed night.

Japheth Oyedepo, Staff Writer

The NBA All-Star Game took place in Atlanta, GA. on March 7. All-Star Weekend is a fun-filled reprieve for many of the National Basketball Association’s stars, with different challenges and events. However, like many other worldwide events, all-star weekend had to be altered in some ways to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. To do this, the NBA decided to hold the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, Dunk Contest and the All-Star Game itself on the same day. With all of these events coming together, the result was an action-packed night that made the best out of an unfortunate situation.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The festivities took place at the Statefarm Arena in downtown Atlanta. The arena held only 1,500 fans due to COVID-19 restrictions. These fans were vaccinated frontline workers and members of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. All of the activities that would take place on a Saturday were moved to Sunday, starting with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. This challenge requires a compilation of obstacles including dribbling between pylons, throwing a pass into a ring and shooting a three-point shot. All of this has to be done quicker than your opponent. The Indiana Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis edged out the Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic to take home the trophy for the event.

Watching the three-point and dunk contest was very enjoyable. To be honest, though, I would like to see new events such as the a1v1 competition. That would be fun to see. ”

— sophomore Patrick Keough

Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest
Next was the 3-Point Contest, in which contestants had to see who made the highest number of 3-pointers against their opponents. Ths shots are taken from all around the three-point line, some shots being worth more than others. All in all, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry won the prize, as he defeated the likes of Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and Zach Lavine. Curry narrowly beat Utah Jazz player Mike Conley in the contest, winning with a score of 28 to Conley’s 27.

AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
The Slam Dunk Contest was held during the halftime intermission of the All-Star Game. The winner of the contest was Anfernee Simons, a young talent from the Portland Trail Blazers. His winning dunk came from a show-stopping display of jumping skills as he was able to come within inches of kissing the ten-foot rim. Simons controversially defeated Obi Toppin, a rookie from the New York Knicks who is on a two-way contract. Toppin’s final dunk was a one-handed, between the legs, slam in which he jumped just beyond the free-throw line. The judges panel overseeing these feats of aerial brilliance were former Dunk Contest champions such as Dominique Wilkins, Dee Brown, Spud Webb and Josh Smith.

The All-Star Game
The All-Star Game itself was far from boring, as both teams were filled to the brim with talented players. Team Lebron included a starting lineup of Lebron James, Gianni Antetokumpo, Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic. Team Durant was made up of Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum and Zion Williamson. In continuation of past All-Star Games, both teams would be playing for a cause. Team Lebron played for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund while Team Durant played for the United Negro College Fund. Money would be allocated for the winners of each quarter won by the teams. By the end of the night, Team Lebron won all four of the quarters, raising a total of 1,000,000 dollars. Team Durant concluded the game by raising 500,000 dollars. After the game, the All-Star MVP was awarded to Giannis Antetokumpo as he scored 35 points on sixteen shots made on sixteen attempts. Other notable scorers from Team Lebron were Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, who scored 28 and 32 points respectively. Bradley Beal topped Team Durant’s scoring with 26 points.

“Personally, I was rooting for Team Durant, but it was fun to watch either way. Giannis really showed out and the long-range shot from Damian Lillard was a great way to close out a great game,” sophomore Edglhys Lopez Jr. said.

The NBA All-Star Game was an outright successful event, with all the festivities and the game itself both providing lasting entertainment in a time when questions were raised about whether or not it should even take place. Fortunately, it did, and it shed light and raised money for Historical Black Colleges and Universities. Sports in Coronavirus may still take some getting used to, but the lack of fans luckily did not dim the stars that shone in Atlanta.