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NBA All-Star Weekend preview

One of the best nights in sports is approaching and a full weekend of events is almost upon us with the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities from New Orleans. One reason it is such a great event is because there is so much going on each day, each more exciting than the last. This year will have a star studded lineup featured for many of the events at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

Capped off by the All-Star Game, the NBA will host the festivities starting Friday evening with the celebrity game. Kevin Hart is the defending MVP and will look to defend that crown. Other big names playing in the event include Nick Cannon and Skylar Diggins.

Later that night, the rising stars challenge will take place, featuring two teams of first and second-year players from around the league. This is a chance to show fans what kind of up-and-coming talent runs the NBA floors today and will for years to come. The game this year will feature names like Trey Burke, Damian Lillard, Jared Sullinger, Dion Waiters and my personal favorite, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Saturday night is when all the fun happens, with festivities starting in the early afternoon with the D-League all-star game. All-Star Saturday night features a few must-see events, including the 3-point shooting contest and the dunk contest.

The shooting stars challenge is the first event up, starting around 8:30 p.m. on TNT. This features one current NBA player, one NBA legend and one WNBA player in a competition of shot-making from different spots on the floor. The NBA legends will have four members, while players also join the teams from the WNBA. One thing to watch will be the father-son teammates of Steph and Dell Curry and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Sr.

Next event up is the skills challenge, where players have to complete a course full of various passing and shooting stations. Point guards have the upper hand in this contest, and defending champ Damian Lillard is back this year in one of his five events he will be competing in this weekend. Other players in the contest include Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo.

The next two events are the bread and butter of all-star weekend, beginning with the three-point contest. Kyrie Irving will be back to defend his title last year, and Kevin Love from the year before. Other competitors include Steph Curry, Joe Johnson and Damian Lillard. These are some of the best marksmen in the NBA and the contest is always exciting.

The last event on Saturday night is the slam dunk contest, one of the most anticipated events in the NBA season. Still no LeBron in the contest, but Paul George, John Wall, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore and defending champ Terrence Ross will be putting their dunks up against each other. Personally, I would like to see a less gimmicky contest and focus on the dunks themselves, but this should be fun either way.

Finally on Sunday night at 8 p.m., the all-stars will take the floor in the greatest explosion of offense the NBA will see this season. Don’t be surprised if combined scoring goes over 300 points, while the West tries to establish its dominance over the East. The ‘little brother’ East will start a small lineup with Paul George, LeBron and Carmelo Anthony all starting, while the West looks a little bigger than that.

The weekend gives the NBA a chance to feature its premier players and athletes while giving the fans an up close and personal experience in New Orleans or right at home. That’s where I’ll be and you should tune in as well.

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