Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
This week the biggest stars in the basketball world will begin to converge on the New York area for the NBA All-Star weekend. For the first time, Madison Square Garden will be sharing its duties as host of the festivities with the Brooklyn Nets as the Barclay’s Center will be hosting the three-point competition, the slam dunk competition and the league’s D-League all-star game. All-star weekend is typically a fun getaway for fans and players from the grind of the NBA season but all all-star events aren’t created equal. Here are the top five events that are coming up this weekend:
5. The Slam-Dunk Contest
The slam-dunk has truly stood the test of time and there aren’t many other plays that are as exciting, especially when you consider how common a jam is in the NBA these days. The slam-dunk contest has successfully evolved into an amazing and strange event where props and people are used to create some of the most outlandish dunks possible. The only issue is that the lineup for the contest is by far the weakest of all-star weekend due to the inherent risks involved and star players not wanting to get injured jumping over a Kia.
Having said that, there are a lot of young guns in the competition this year who may just find a way to wow the crowd and make a name for themselves when all is said and done. Still, Odell Beckham Jr. might be able to take them all down.
Odell Beckham Jr. with the perfect LeBron James inspired dunk. https://t.co/oXTaKldZgw— Hooped Up (@hoopedup) February 4, 2015
4. The NBA All-Star Game
You may be wondering why the game itself isn’t ranked higher and the reason is simple: Watching any all-star game is like going to see your favorite band in concert and all they play is their biggest hit for three hours straight (for example: Bruce Springsteen playing ‘Born To Run’ over and over again). It may be awesome at first, but eventually it becomes very not awesome. The monotony overcomes the initial excitement and you start to miss everything that comes with a typical NBA game, like defense (some nights), effort (most nights) and a conclusion that doesn’t leave you less satisfied than Lost‘s finale.
Still, the amount of talent that will be on the floor makes the game worth at least a quarter or two of your time. That’s about all the time most will give it given that the game doesn’t start until 8:30 p.m. on Sunday for some reason.
3. The Celebrity All-Star Game
This rag-tag group of mostly quasi-celebrities will surely be, at the very least, as entertaining as the professionals. There are just so many exciting moments to look forward to already. For example, we get to talk about Mon’e Davis again! She’ll be competing in the game this year alongside celebrities like Common, comedian Kevin Hart and Win Butler of The Arcade Fire along with many others. They’ll laugh, they’ll make us laugh, and they’ll probably air ball a lot. And just in case it gets too bad – there will be some former players taking to the Garden floor as well, like Knicks legend Allan Houston and NBA Hall of Famer Chris Mullin. Also, one of the teams will be coached by Carmelo Anthony and Knicks fan Spike Lee. To figure out which one, just look for the team that passes the least.
2. The Rising Stars Challenge
If you want a glimpse into the future of the NBA this is the all-star weekend event for you. With young and rising stars such as Michael-Carter Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Andrew Wiggins, who has been named Rookie of the Month three months in a row. For the most part, the young stars of the NBA ramp it up a little more than the veterans do and try and prove something to the national audience and each other.
1. The Three-Point Contest
This. Is. Going. To. Be. Awesome. The Splash Brothers (Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Steph Curry), three-point wizard Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, J.J. Redick and now 2013 three-point champion Kyrie Irving has joined the fray. This is going to be the highlight of the weekend. The field couldn’t possibly be more worthy of this competition as it will truly be raining threes inside of the Barclay’s Center. Personally, I hope it ends with Curry vs. Thompson but any match up is going to be a great one.
However the contests shake out one thing that’s for certain is that for the first time this year, fans won’t leave Madison Square Garden or the Barclay’s Center disappointed after watching some basketball.