Wyatt Cushman, Staff Writer |
NBA All-Star Weekend is set to take place February 16-18 at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles (home to both the Lakers and the Clippers). The game, as well as the other events taking place, will showcase the best players in the world. The game itself is set to be played on Sunday, February 18. Before that, there are a couple of events, such as the Three Point Shootout and the always popular Dunk Contest that are sure to be intriguing.
The JBL Three-Point Shootout will pit some of the greatest shooters in the world against one another to see who is the best from behind the arc. With more and more three-point shots being taken with each passing season, this year’s contest is sure to be a good one. Some players that headline this year’s field are Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. Gordon is the defending champion and has a career percentage of 37.4 from behind the arc. Klay Thompson, on the other hand, won this competition just two years ago and is known around the league to be one half of the “Splash Brothers;” a nickname he and his teammate Steph Curry gained due to their ability to make long range shots. Gordon and Thompson come in as the sure favorites, but don’t be stunned if another player, such as Devin Booker, of the Phoenix Suns, or Bradley Beal, of the Washington Wizards, steals the show. You can catch the JBL Three-Point shootout Saturday, February 17 at 8:00 pm EST, on TNT.
The other “can’t miss” event, also on Saturday night right after the Three-Point shootout, is the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. This event always seems to be exciting, and we always see something new and creative from the participants. The men who will be showcasing their aerial creativity this year are: Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers, Larry Nance Jr. of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks, and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.
Every single one of these players has proven all season long why they should be part of the competition as they have been seen on SportsCenter time after time for their ferocious finishes at the rim. Oladipo is the only participant this year with previous experience in the Dunk Contest, which could be significant, though some will argue that it makes no difference whether experience helps you win a competition like this. Smith and Mitchell are both rookies and have shown us all season they can play above the rim with the best of them. Larry Nance Jr. may have the most impressive dunk of them all as he posterized All-Star Forward, Kevin Durant earlier this season. All these men should be confident coming into this event, as each is more than capable of bringing home the trophy. As fans, we should be excited and can only hope to see something that has never been done before.
Whether you’re a fan of all the All-Star Weekend events or you just want to see the game itself, this weekend is sure to be exciting. It’s a time for players and coaches to all have fun with each other and relieve some stress before the stretch run of the season hits. So, sit back and enjoy this weekend full of basketball—you won’t want to miss it.