Slam Dunk Contest, High Scoring Game Highlight Toronto All-Star Weekend

By MARCUS MILES
On February 17, 2016

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison, Wikipedia

The 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend was one to remember. The event took place in Toronto, Canada this year, and was attended by many celebrities, such as singer Sting, American rapper and actor Ludacris, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and Canadian rapper Drake, representing his city Toronto.

The NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off with NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on ESPN, presented by Mountain Dew. The game featured celebrity head coaches Drake and Kevin Hart, with players such as “Blackish” star Anthony Anderson, “Straight Outta Compton” actor O’Shea Jackson and former NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady. Hart’s team fell short to Drake’s team by a score of 74-68. During the game, the four-time MVP, Hart made a surprise appearance late in the third quarter, despite being the coach of his team.

Later, the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge featured stars such as Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis, Denver Nuggets point guard Emmanuel Mudiay, Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, center Karl-Anthony Towns and guard Zach LaVine in a USA vs. World matchup. The Americans won by a score of 157-154.

Saturday night presented the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on TNT. It began with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge with a twist of adding Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, New Orleans Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and Towns. Towns ended the event on top; this was the first time in NBA history that a big man won the NBA Skills Challenge.

For the second straight year one of the Golden State Warriors’ “Splash Brothers” walked off the All-Star Saturday court as the Three-Point Contest champion. This was the first time in NBA Three-Point Contest history that different players from the same team have won the event in repeated seasons. Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson finished the final round with a high score of 27 points to conquer one of the most dominant performance in contest history, a performance that included some of the best long-range shooters in the game today, such as Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Reggie Miller, as well as Warriors point guard and 2015 NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

The final event of Saturday night was the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest.

Senior Jesse Bastin said about the slam dunk contest, “It was as if I was watching a video game.”

Senior Pablo A. Balmaseda said, “It was nothing I have ever seen on television, and for human beings to do the impossible was insane for me to see live.”

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and defending champion LaVine put on a performance to remember in Slam Dunk Contest history. Both players could have taken the championship, but LaVine ended up on top that night with a windmill from the free throw line that took the whole world by surprised.

The final event was the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. It was more about the game, since it was the final time the world would see Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Byrant on an All-Star Game court. Many records were set that night and the West took the game with a final score of 196-173. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was named the game’s MVP, while Pacers small forward Paul George finished the game with 41 points, one point shy of beating Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 points in an All-Star Game.

mmiles2@ramapo.edu

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