Chris Snan, Staff Columnist~
This past weekend, the National Basketball Association All-Star game took place, and Los Angeles played host for this year’s showcase. This year, they also provided an alternative option for choosing the teams, rather than displaying the traditional Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference.
Before the All-Star game, a series of skills challenges added to all of the excitement, such as games like the Rising Star Challenge, which featured the brightest and youngest talents of the NBA today. Guys like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Jamal Murray showcased their talents as they beat Team USA 155-124. Bogdanovic, of the Sacramento Kings, was named the game’s MVP after he posted up 26 points and made seven of his 13 three-pointers.
Another skills challenge put on during the All-Star break was the three-point contest. Winning this contest gives any player bragging rights over everybody else in the league, by naming them the current best three-point shooter. Each year brings about a new winner, and this year’s winner was Devin Booker, from the Phoenix Suns. Not only did Booker win the crown, but he gave a record-breaking performance by accumulating 28 points in the final round.
The third and final skill showcase featured the Dunk Contest, and what better way to end the skills showcase than with some acrobatic performances? This year was no different than other years, with guys like Victor Oladipo, Larry Nance Jr., Donovan Mitchell and Dennis Smith Jr. in attendance. At the end of the night, Mitchell claimed victory over the other three participants in what was considered a pretty controversial call. Though Mitchell put on quite the performance with the alley-oops and the tribute to former dunk contest winner Vince Carter, Nance also won the crowd over with his showcase. Some believe that he should have actually won the whole thing with his windmill tribute to Larry Nance Sr., his father. However, Mitchell was awarded the crown, and that was the final word.
The 2018 All-Star game featured two captains – Lebron James and Stephen Curry – and these guys drafted the rest of their team. James opted to have players such as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins on his team, while Curry chose James Harden, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and Karl Anthony-Towns for his team. Both teams were set to take the stage and deliver entertainment to their fans, and they did just that.
In the end, the final score was 148-145 and, surprisingly, defense is what won the game. The double-team coverage by Durant and James of Curry forced an ill-advised shot and thus secured Team Lebron the win. With that, James was named the game’s MVP as he put up a near triple double, giving his team 29 points, eight assists and 10 rebounds. It was truly a great performance by James and all the all-stars who competed in this weekend’s events.