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The 2011 NBA All-Star Game was a rousing success in terms of television viewership. Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily reports that overnight ratings for the Sunday game were up 35 percent to 6.2. The 2010 All-Star Game did a 4.6 in overnight national ratings.
The boosted All-Star ratings follows a season-long trend for the NBA, which has seen improved viewership in cable and network television this season. TNT also boasted huge numbers for NBA All-Star Saturday festivities, including the Slam Dunk Contest starring Blake Griffin. A Turner spokeswoman said that the 2011 All-Star Saturday broadcast had more viewers than ever before, with an estimated 8.1 million viewers. The previous record, set in 2009, pulled about 6.5 million viewers.
Unsurprisingly, All-Star Saturday broadcast viewership peaked during Griffin's contest winning dunk over a KIA, with an estimated 10 million viewers tuning in between 10:30 and 11 PM Eastern. It seems unlikely Al Horford and Coco Miller drew nearly that many viewers during the Shooting Stars event at the top of the broadcast.
Kobe Bryant took home the 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP award with 37 points and 14 rebounds. But LeBron James almost stole the trophy from Kobe with the second triple-double in All-Star Game history, pumping out 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. (Michael Jordan had the first triple-double, by the way, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in 1997. Glen Rice won the All-Star Game MVP that year.)
The two divisive stars led the way for their respective teams, but other studs like Kevin Durant (34 points) and Amar'e Stoudemire (29) contributed mightily to the 2011 All-Star Game highlight reel.
One player notably absent from the spotlight was Carmelo Anthony, who basically ran Los Angeles the rest of the weekend as trade rumors continued to circulate ahead of the NBA trade deadline (Feb. 24). 'Melo had a rough game punctuated by Craig Sager's attempt to make him say something interesting.
The All-Star rookies had mixed results. Russell Westbrook scored 12 points while looking like the most explosive player on the court during his stints. Blake Griffin, despite drawing chants from the Staples Center crowd, played just 14 minutes and finished with eight points, five rebounds and five assists. Kevin Love had the second least playing time on the West All-Star (he played four seconds more than Tim Duncan). The Timberwolf forward had two points, four rebounds and one Aaron Rodgers-like outlet pass.
A memorable moment during the Dunk Contest. A notable All-Star Game that included a stat-off between the league's two biggest stars. Lots and lots of Justin Bieber.
By all accounts, this was a very successful NBA All-Star Weekend. But what do we now know that we didn't know on Friday?
It's good to be on the home team. Both the Dunk Contest and the All-Star Game were won by guys on the local team, or teams as it were. Clipper Blake Griffin is only the third player to win a dunk contest in his team's home city and the first since T'Wolves player Isaiah Rider did it in 1994.
It's a little bit more common for All-Star Game MVPs, where this is the 13th time a player from a local team has won or shared the MVP. Next year's game is in Orlando so the smart money goes on Dwight Howard.
LeBron messed around and scored a triple-double (29 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists). Only the second player to ever do-so in an All-Star Game. The other guy? Michael Jordan, who "only" scored 14 to go with his 11 boards and 11 dishes. James also scored 20+ points in his sixth-straight All-Star game, the longest streak in NBA history.
It's all about LeBron & Kobe With his 2011 MVP, Kobe ensured that he or LeBron was named MVP in five of the last six seasons. It's Kobe's fourth overall, LeBron has a measly two.
However, Blake Griffin wins the weekend. Between his fancy play in the Rookie Challenge, his Dunk Contest victory and his strong showing the All-Star Game, Blake is confirming what we already knew...he's the next generation. Winning the Dunk Contest is like winning the Intercontinental Title in the WWE. It's either the highlight of your career or the stepping stone to super-stardom. I think we all know which one it'll be for Blake.
The biggest winner of the Dunk Contest? Not Blake Griffin. It's Kia. Not since Dee Brown bent down to pump up his Pumps has product placement worked so well in this contest. Chrysler might know a thing or two about commercials but leave it to Kia to do the best job of integrating themselves into the action. Their days of leaning of spokesman Gerry McNamara may be over.
We kinda already knew this, but it takes something like jumping Korean automobiles to make us notice the dunk contest these days. It wasn't that long ago jumping from the foul line was the greatest thing we've ever seen. Now? Barely even the tenth-best thing we saw that night.
Kevin Durant scored 34 points in the All-Star Game. Along with Kobe's 37, the Elias Sports Bureau says this was only the second time that teammates scored at least 30 points in an All-Star Game. The other time? 1977, when Bob McAdoo and Julius Erving each scored 30 for the Eastern Conference.
Want to win a Three-Point Shootout? Play for the Miami Heat. A different Heat player has won the shooting contest in three of the last five years (Jason Capono in 2007, Daquean Cook in 2009 and James Jones this year).
You can no longer say you "have no idea what a Bieber is." You now know exactly what a Bieber is. Stop it.
Rihanna hates pants. Just in case you weren't clear before this. Also, NBA All-Star Game Halftime Show > Super Bowl Halftime Show.
Wade had scored 14 points in the game before limping off the court with 5:04 left in the quarter. He also had four rebounds and two assists in 21 minutes for the East, who lost 148-143 loss to the West.
It is the same ankle that has been bothering Wade all week since hurting it against Boston last Sunday.
The Heat resume play Tuesday at home against the Kings. No word yet on the severity of the injury and whether or not he'll play in that game.
For more updates on Wade and more Heat-related All-Star talk, keep an eye on Peninsula Is Mightier.
Kobe Bryant was named the MVP of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game after leading the West to a 148-143 victory on his home floor at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Lakers' star scored a game-high 37 points and had a game-high 14 rebounds. He threatened Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star scoring record (42), but was content to move the basketball late as LeBron James led a furious fourth-quarter comeback by the Eastern team.
Had the East won, LeBron, who had the All-Star Game's second ever triple-double with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, would have had a strong claim on the trophy.
With the MVP win, Kobe joined Bob Pettit as the only player in NBA history with four All-Star MVP awards. Kobe had been tied with Shaquille O' Neal and Michael Jordan for second on that list with three apiece. Kobe shared the MVP award in the 2009 All-Star Game.
Kobe Bryant scored 37 points as the West team won the 2011 NBA All-Star Game 148-143. LeBron James, the league's MVP in each of the past two seasons, led the East with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It was only the second All-Star triple double in history; Michael Jordan had 14-10-10 in 1997.
Kobe also had 14 rebounds in 29 minutes, and, given that the West held on despite a serious charge by the East, was the clear choice for MVP honors. Kevin Durant, the NBA's leading scorer and reigning scoring champ, supported Kobe with 34 points. Amar'e Stoudemire had 29 for the East, including a late three-pointer that pulled his team within four points.
The West All-Stars led throughout as Kobe scored at will. That Bryant re-entered the game in the fourth quarter, with the West team up by more than a dozen points, was a clear indication Kobe wanted the All-Star scoring record of 42 points, held by Wilt Chamberlain.
Blake Griffin, the No. 2 star in Los Angeles behind Kobe right now, had a rather muted night. Fans in Staples Center had to chant for the Clippers' rookie in the second half, as Griffin played fewer than 15 minutes off the bench. He finished with eight points, five rebounds and five assists. But he will be content to look at his 2011 Slam Dunk Contest trophy.
Dywane Wade left the game in the third quarter after stepping on Deron Williams' foot. TNT's David Aldridge reported that Wade had aggravated a right ankle injury. He didn't return. Williams, who has struggled with a nagging wrist injury in recent weeks, held his arm during a late huddle.
Kobe Bryant scored 34 points through three quarters of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game as his West team lead the East 117-100. Kobe set himself up to challenge Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star record of 42 points, provided he convinces Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to let him play in a blow-out.
LeBron James led the East team with 15 points. Reigning scoring champ Kevin Durant had 20 points. Kobe was quite efficient in scoring his 34, hitting 13-22 shots. He also had a game-high nine rebounds. LeBron led the East with eight rebounds.
The East team was remarkably sloppy, as the West registered 16 steals through three quarters. Meanwhile, the West All-Star committed only seven turnovers in total through three.
Dwyane Wade left the game in the third quarter after suffering a right ankle injury after landing on Deron Williams' foot after attempting a spinning jump pass in transition. (The pass resulted in a turnover.) Wade was immediately ruled out of the rest of the game, even though the injury didn't seem terribly serious.
Dwyane Wade left the third quarter of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game with an ankle injury. TNT's David Aldridge reported that in stepping on Deron Williams' foot after attempting a spinning jump pass, Wade aggravated a right ankle injury that had been bothering him in recent days.
Wade limped off the court and was immediately ruled out of the remainder of the game.
Serious injuries rarely occur in the annual All-Star Game, but the incredible importance every participant has for their clubs makes even small maladies suffered in an exhibition game completely terrifying. Brad Miller, then with the Sacramento Kings, suffered an ankle injury in the 2005 NBA All-Star Game that nagged him all season, and arguably killed the Kings' playoff hopes.
Wade's injury didn't look that serious, but the margin of error at the top of the Eastern Conference between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics is so small that even a one-game absence could swing home court advantage.
Kobe Bryant scored 21 points in the first half to take an early commanding lead in the race for 2011 NBA All-Star Game MVP honors. Stars playing in front of their home crowd typically earn a built-in advantage in these races, and considering that fans vote for the MVP, Kobe's an instant favorite regardless. But Bryant left nothing to chance by taking a game-high 14 shots to taking the scoring lead. He also had a game-high six rebounds.
Lakers teammate Pau Gasol had a solid half off the bench with 12 points on perfect 6-6 shooting. Kevin Durant scored 15 as the West held a 76-64 lead at halftime. Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh led the East All-Stars with 12 points off the bench. His Miami co-stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade scored six and 10 points, respectively.
Russell Westbrook, who grew up in Los Angeles, had a rousing stint in the second quarter, scoring eight points in seven points. One of Russ' buckets came on a powerful transition dunk that momentarily sparked an otherwise dead-silent crowd.
Kanye West will contribute an unannounced performance to Rihanna’s NBA All-Star Game halftime show, according to a report by Deadspin. “Unannounced” instead of “surprise,” because nothing Kanye does is ever really all that surprising — you wouldn’t classify Blake Griffin’s KIA as a surprise appearance, would you?
Ye did just release a video for “All of the Lights,” a song that features Rihanna, and co-star in a six-minute Nike video for Kobe Bryant’s new shoes. Kobe Bryant is a basketball player who is playing in tonight’s All-Star Game, in case I haven’t connected these dots explicitly enough.
As for Rihanna, she’s likely to sing “Only Girl in the World” and some of her other recent hits, probably wearing a self-aware mechanical apparatus that’s designed to look sort of like a tuxedo and sort of like a thong. The camera will linger with appreciation on her quads.
“All of the Lights” also features every other musician you’ve ever heard of, so the stage at the Staples Center could get crowded in a hurry if everybody decides to show up.
Kobe Bryant took seven shots in the first six minutes of the 2011 NBA All-Star Game to lead all scorers with 11 points as the West took a 37-27 advantage out of the first quarter. Chris Bosh led the East with eight points, two of which came on a vicious putback jam.
Kobe had a pretty dunk of his own, going baseline on Bulls star Derrick Rose and finishing with a two-handed reverse bomb. Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, as you'd expect, woke up the crowd with an electric transition alley-oop finish on a give-and-go with Deron Williams of the Jazz. Griffin hit Williams in stride with a bounce pass, and Williams lofted the ball at the rim. Griffin murdered the ball, as he did Saturday night in becoming the Slam Dunk Contest champion.
Doc Rivers, coaching the East team in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, had four of his Boston Celtics at his disposal off the bench. With a bit of showmanship, Rivers put them all in the game at the same stoppage midway through the first quarter, sending Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen into the game to team up with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.
When asked who he'd play his Celtics with when the Boston four were named reserves for the game two weeks ago, Rivers joked that the fifth player who be whichever East All-Star was next it line for free agency. Ironically, that'd be Howard, who coincidentally plays the one position not covered by Boston's four All-Stars.
Courtside reporter Craig Sager revealed that during practice on Sunday, Rivers had his Celtics run some of the rival Miami Heat's favorite sets in another bit of gamesmanship to show that his team knew the Heat front and back after three wins this regular season.
The early part of the All-Star Game was marred by fouls, a particularly long mop-up session for a wet spot on the floor and a scoring battle between Amar'e Stoudemire (who was, oddly enough, guarded by Carmelo Anthony) and Kobe Bryant.
We're just hours away from the 2011 NBA All-Star Game and the infinite joy of seeing Blake Griffin try to dunk on every member of an opposing team at once. Need to know when, exactly, you'll get to see the NBA's showcase exhibition from Los Angeles? We have you covered with the tipoff time, TV information, and other need-to-know details.
Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern.
TV broadcast: TNT, which will begin its pregame coverage at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles
Rosters: The Eastern Conference's starters are Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard; the Western Conference starters are Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Tim Duncan, who replaces the injured Yao Ming. (See the full East roster and West roster.)
Coaches: Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers is the East's coach, and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs will coach the West. (Coaches come from the teams with the best records in each conference before the All-Star break.)
Prediction: Despite winning the Slam Dunk Contest and starring in the Rookie-Sophomore Game, Griffin underwhelms in the All-Star Game in Los Angeles, and is overshadowed by old hand Kobe Bryant, who scores more than 20 points and is named MVP. Phil Jackson's pithy whining about Popovich playing his veteran star and weakening the Lakers in the stretch run begins about three minutes after the final buzzer.
Further reading: Stay in this StoryStream for live updates on the All-Star Game, and visit our Slam Dunk Contest StoryStream for a full recap of Saturday night's fireworks.
NBA All-Star Weekend from Los Angeles rolls on in what many feel is the most entertaining day of the weekend. On Saturday, everything kicks into high gear, as many of the specialty competitions that make the weekend so fun take place. Everything culminates at night with the two biggest events of the weekend outside of the actual game: the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and the Sprite Slam Dunk competition.
Here is a complete schedule of all the events to take place on Saturday:
All-Star Practice And Player Interviews: Don't laugh: this sometimes produces some very hilarious moments. Like four years ago, when Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal engaged in a post-practice dance-off. What will happen this year? Will there be actual animosity because half of the East team is either from Miami or Boston? (1:30 p.m., NBATV)
D-League All-Star Game: This may be the one event where the players are actually playing their hardest. Everyone is playing for an NBA job, and you can be sure that there will be NBA executives watching. Here's a full list of participants and late replacements. (5 p.m., NBATV)
Commissioner David Stern's press conference: Stern will talk about the state of the league, including, most likely, last night's meeting between the owners and the players' union. It promises to be one of the most revealing Stern press conferences yet. (7 p.m, NBATV)
All-Star Saturday Night Begins With Haier Shooting Stars: Last year, Team Texas, made up of members of organizations relating to Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, won the competition. Seems kind of unfair that Texas can engulf so many teams, but it is what it is. This year, they'll defend their title against three other cities, including host Los Angeles. (8:30 p.m., TNT)
Taco Bell Skills Challenge: Chris Paul will go up against a group of young speed demons in John Wall, Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Stephen Curry. The competition tends to be a dud, so we're watching to see which player colossally screws up. (After the Shooting Stars, TNT)
Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout: Paul Pierce was really excited to win this thing last year, but this year will be a big challenge for him to repeat. He's going up against Dorrel Wright, James Jones, Daniel Gibson, Kevin Durant and ... oh yeah, the GREATEST THREE-POINT SHOOTER OF ALL TIME in Ray Allen. (Sorry, got a little carried away there). (After the Skills Challenge, TNT)
Sprite Slam Dunk competition: Will Blake Griffin take his place alongside Dr. J, Jordan, Dominique and Vinsanity in the pantheon of great Slam Dunk Contest dunkers? Will JaVale McGee pull off the upset or do his best Chris Andersen impersonation? Will DeMar DeRozan atone for for a dreadful performance in 2010? Will Serge Ibaka do anything creative? (After the Three-Point Shootout, TNT)
The Western Conference's NBA All-Star roster is full of legends of the old guard like Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and the ancient one himself, Tim Duncan. But if there were ever a year in which the new school made its legit takeover claim on the West, this might be it. Kids like Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love -- all of them 22 years old or younger -- are on the West All-Stars too, and don't figure to leave anytime soon.
Here's a full look at the West's NBA All-Stars.
Kobe Bryant, Lakers. Kobe has been named to the All-Star Game every year since 1998. Usually, he plays well -- he has three All-Star MVP trophies, one of them shared with Shaquille O'Neal. Will he bask in the opportunity to lob passes to an incredible young flyer like Blake Griffin? Or will he take 20 jumpers and preen for the crowd? Clue: the last time he played, in 2009, he had four assists and 23 field goal attempts.
Chris Paul, Hornets. CP3 will just bask in having teammates who can shoot straight. David West, Paul's one solid offensive teammate, won't be in L.A., so CP3 will have to be content to dish off to scrubs like Kobe, Durant, and Griffin. And then he gets to go back to Willie Green and Jason Smith on Tuesday. Woo!
Tim Duncan, Spurs. Duncan will start at center -- a label he resists -- in place of injured Yao Ming. Given that Gregg Popovich is coaching the West team, Duncan will likely play about 15 minutes. He only plays 29 for the Spurs as it is.
Kevin Durant, Thunder. Durant has rather quietly retaken his position as Saint Kevin, antidote for King James, after a slow start. KD remains the league's best young scorer, a true throwback to stars like George Gervin (without the snow) and Julius Erving (without the 'fro).
Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets. 'Melo will be the unquestioned star of the weekend, thanks to reported meetings with the Nets and Knicks and amaranthine trade rumors. Remember Jason Kidd in 2008? Triple that.
Pau Gasol, Lakers.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks. Gasol and Nowitzki, like Duncan and Kevin Garnett, are boring but required All-Star big men. Unlike someone like Amar'e Stoudemire, who can fly like a guard (or could, at least), these bros will just hit some short jumpers and maybe a goofy sky-hook. Hopefully Pop lets them rest for the stretch run and gives the guards free reign.
Deron Williams, Jazz. D-Will may very well be in Anthony's position next year, so enjoy the purity of Williams' play while we can.
Kevin Love, Timberwolves. Speaking of throwback players, the new Moses Malone figures to join that "boring but deserving All-Star" club with his debut performance. The difference is that Love is never afraid to hot dog. Expect a couple Unseldian outlet passes, and maybe a Kobe-like 25-footer.
Russell Westbrook, Thunder. The world's most explosive point guard will, Pop-willing, have a cover-your-face-in-disbelief moment or two. No one will soon forget his 40-point Rookie Challenge night.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs. If it's possible to flop in an All-Star Game, Manu will find a way. If not, he'll be content nailing jumpers and looking for ways to make his defenders look real silly.
Blake Griffin, Clippers. And finally, the star of the weekend (hopefully). If all breaks according to plan, Griffin will be coming off an MVP in the Rookie Challenge, a unanimous victory in the dunk contest and an Los Angeles Times Sunday edition headline referencing earthquakes. The All-Star Game will just be icing.
Blake Griffin lost his close friend and high school teammate Wilson Holloway to Hodgkin's lymphoma earlier this week, leading the young Clipper to break down in the locker room following L.A.'s Wednesday win over the Timberwolves. But Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports that his mourning won't keep Griffin from participating in any of the myriad NBA All-Star activities he's scheduled for this weekend.
But Griffin took part in his scheduled appearances Thursday and the Clippers said he would continue with the rest of his events, on and off the court. After the rookie-sophomore game, Griffin will compete in the slam dunk contest Saturday and play in the All-Star game Sunday.
It's unlikely anyone (with the possible exception of Ron Artest and Carmelo Anthony) will have a busier weekend than Griffin. The rookie has the rare opportunity to be in the spotlight all three nights of action, and also has endless event commitments owing to his status as L.A.'s new star. The NBA trots out its most recognizable players to its plethora of community events during All-Star weekend; other than members of the Lakers and the league's tip-top superstars, Griffin will be in the highest demand.
Holloway was a football player at Tulsa, and played basketball with Griffin at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond, Okla.
The 2011 NBA Eastern Conference All-Stars feature four members of the Boston Celtics and three players from the Miami Heat, with those two teams currently fighting for the East's top seed. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade of Miami will be starters, with Chris Bosh and the Boston four -- Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen -- coming off the bench.
Here's a full rundown of the East roster in order of star power and, thus, awesomeness.
LeBron James, Heat. LeBron is making his seventh All-Star appearance. As much of the nation is apparently desperately hoping he'll be denied a third straight league MVP award, he could use a dominant All-Star performance. Turn hate into haterade!
Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks. The Knicks' first All-Star since Allan Houston and Latrell Sprewell should do wonders for the game's ratings in NYC. No offense to Raymond Felton, but running a pick-and-roll with Derrick Rose should do wonders for the game's excitement level, too.
Derrick Rose, Bulls. Speaking of Rose, the Bulls' star, in his second straight All-Star Game, looks to continue his rise with a memorable night in Hollywood. He's the only Bull in the game, and thus is required to avenge the reputations of his spurned teammates like Keith Bogans and Taj Gibson.
Dwyane Wade, Heat. The top vote-getter among guards, Wade will look to create magic with his buddy LeBron, though it would seem unlikely they could top a 90-foot alley-oop. (Maybe go reverse, King James?)
Rajon Rondo, Celtics. Cynics would argue that Rondo has more All-Star experience than anyone, given that he's effectively spent all but the rookie year of his career playing on one. Rondo is the game's most selfless passer, but will he share the ball with rivals like LeBron, Wade and Bosh? Admit it, you want to see Rondo gunning threes all night long.
Chris Bosh, Heat. The greatest running subplot of the All-Star Game will be how Bosh and Kevin Garnett get along. I predict "not well."
Kevin Garnett, Celtics. K.G. is usually an All-Star dud, but he seems to be getting more and more unglued as his career progresses. Fingers crossed he treats this exhibition like a playoff game.
Dwight Howard, Magic. Solid post moves and suffocating defense have no place in an All-Star Game, but at least Howard will have more fun than ...
Al Horford, Hawks. ... who is both the most deserving reserve and the least likely to crack a single smile.
Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, Celtics. Either could go on a scoring streak, but I have a feeling Doc Rivers will keep his bullets -- dinged-up Pierce, especially -- in the chamber.
Joe Johnson, Hawks. J.J. once shot 0-7 in an All-Star Game. He could shot 0-14 and I'm not sure anyone would really take note.
The 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us (almost, as soon as Thursday's two games end). Los Angeles and its Staples Center -- so magnificent two teams call it home -- will host the NBA's grandest annual spectacle beginning on Friday.
The schedule is as packed as ever, as long as you excuse the lack of a H.O.R.S.E. contest, which has been discontinued by the NBA and broadcast partner TNT after two years of boring infamy. Here's the run-down on the weekend's events. All times Eastern.
BBVA Celebrity Game, 7 PM, ESPN. Bill Simmons and Jimmy Kimmel will serve as the coaches and choose teams among the illustrious stars of Hollywood and beyond on hand for the BBVA Celebrity Game. Justin Bieber makes his Celebrity Game debut, and would be a shoo-in for No. 1 pick overall if fellow contestant Scottie Pippen hadn't been prepping for weeks for his appearance. Magic Johnson, Bill Walton, Jason Alexander and Common are among the other players available. Terrible basketball guaranteed.
T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam, 9 PM, TNT. Blake Griifin will kick off his premier All-Star Weekend by heading into battle with John Wall and all the top picks of the 2010 NBA Draft not named Evan Turner. On the opposite side will be James Harden, Tyreke Evans and all the top 2009 NBA Draft picks not named Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio or Jonny Flynn. Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony will coach the rookies and sophomores, respectively. 'Melo is definitely sending Serge Ibaka after Derrick Favors' knees.
Haier Shooting Stars, 8 PM, TNT. Team Texas starring Dirk Nowitzki, Roneeka Hodges of the San Antonio Silver Stars and former Houston Rocket Kenny Smith will look to repeat as champions against a field that includes Taj Gibson and Rick Fox. This event is also known by its alternate name "Sandwich Time."
Taco Bell Skills Challenge, 8:30 PM, TNT. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge does not include an engineering task involving the creation of a triple-decker taco or a 17-layer burrito, but should! Derrick Rose and four contestants voted on by fans but not yet announced by the league will
jog through a mundane obstacle course compete for eternal glory and, I assume, tacos. This event is also known by its alternate name "Second Sandwich Time."
Foot Locker 3-Point Contest, after the Skills Challenge, TNT. Paul Pierce looks to defend his shoot-out championship belt against teammate Ray Allen, 30-percent three-point shooter Kevin Durant, former LeBron James posse member Daniel Gibson, current LeBron James posse member James Jones and former Heat benchwarmer Dorell Wright. As such, this is a proxy war in the Heat-Celtics rivalry.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, after the 3-Point Contest, TNT. Blake Griffin is the overwhelming favorite on his home court against Serge Ibaka, JaVale McGee and DeMar DeRozan. Even if the dunks are uncreative, the contest is worth watching to see what ridiculous Tucker Carlson tribute Dwyane Wade will wear, to see Kobe Bryant pretend to like other human beings and to hear Charles Barkley's xenophobia live.
NBA All-Star Game, 8 PM, TNT. The big show everyone is waiting for, with Kobe Bryant starring for the West team on his home floor. He'll be joined by teammate Pau Gasol and the previously discussed L.A. darling Blake Griffin. Seven of the 12 East All-Stars belong to the Heat and Celtics. It should be great fun seeing Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnett team up to defend pick-and-rolls.
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