The NBA announced Tuesday that the traditional Rookie Challenge, played on the Friday of All-Star Weekend, has been revamped and will be dubbed the Rising Stars Challenge. BBVA, the league's official bank, will sponsor the event.
In the past, a team of the top rookies would face off against the top second-year players in a game filled with alley-oops, three-pointers and, as a result, lore. (Booby Gibson forever.) Now TNT's NBA crew will get more involved as Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as general managers who will draft their teams from a pool of available first- and second-year players on February 16. The pool of players will be announced this Thursday.
Those teams will face off on TNT on Friday, February 24, at 9 p.m. ET. It's unclear whether Blake Griffin, slated to start on Sunday's main event, will participate in the Rising Stars Challenge. Other top rookies and second-year players include Ricky Rubio, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins and Greg Monroe.