LOS ANGELES CA - FEBRUARY 18: Greg Monroe #10 of the Detroit Pistons and the Rookie Team and Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers and the Rookie Team cheer from the bench during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam at Staples Center on February 18 2011 in Los Angeles California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The NBA has revamped its All-Star Friday rookie-sophomore event, which will now be called the Rising Stars Challenge. Shaq and Charles Barkley will draft teams from a pool of rookies and second-year players on February 16.
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.