The NBA All-Star weekend, held in Toronto this time, isn’t just about the All-Star game. A lot of people like the other stuff too: Dunk contest, three-point shootout, rising stars challenge which was Team USA vs Team World this time and even the celebrities going at it, which on this occasion was Team Canada against Team USA.
Kevin Hart came out of retirement to coach Team USA while Drake was one the other sidelines coaching Team Canada. I guess the rapper, who loves wearing jerseys of the Toronto Raptors (who he roots for) and the Kentucky Wildcats (although not so much lately), knows more about bringing the most out of his team, as Canada beat the USA 74-64, as if this was just another Hockey encounter. Win Butler of Arcade Fire won the MVP, and when he tried forcing some politics he got shushed mid-interview to provide the funny moment of that night.
Rising Stars Challenge
Another Team USA with rookies and mostly sophomores, against Team World, mostly consisting of rookies, which as usual was about dunks and 0 defense, with Team USA winning 157-154. Zach LaVine (who had a busy two days) won the MVP with 30 points. Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay both scored 30 points as well.
The final came down to Isaiah Thomas from the Boston Celtics and rookie Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Towns won.
It’s funny that the 3-point shootout has more stars than the dunk contest, but it just shows you what kind of league this is turning into. The final came down to Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns and who else by Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. While Curry might be the best shooter in the history of this league, Thompson won the contest with 27 points in the final.
Slam Dunk Contest
In probably the best slam dunk contest we’ve had in years, it came down to defending champion Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. LaVine defended his title with a 200 in the final round, that seems to be a lot about hype, while Gordon finished three points behind him, getting 47 on one of the dunks with three 50’s. Was he robbed? Maybe, but making people excited is part of the job, and for now, LaVine does it better.