NBA All-Star Game Recap


Linda Qiu, Staff Writer

The National Basketball Association All-Star Game, held every February by the league, is a basketball exhibition game showcasing 24 of the NBA’s best players. Normally, the All-Star Game and a number of exhibition games and competitions are held over a three-day NBA All-Star Weekend. But this year during the 70th NBA All-Star Weekend, all events took place on Mar. 7.

The NBA All-Star Weekend lasted approximately six hours, starting in the afternoon with the Skills Challenge and Slam Dunk and 3-Point Contests. They served as appetizers leading up to the All-Star Game, and the Slam Dunk Contest was held at the game’s halftime.

Since 2018, the teams for the All-Star Game are no longer based on affiliation with the Eastern Conference or Western Conference, but are picked by two captains. This year’s teams were selected by team captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant. However, Durant did not play in the game due to a hamstring injury.

The 3-Point Contest was a highlight of the night. Stephen Curry unsurprisingly was the 3-Point Contest champion. During the Slam Dunk Contest, Anfernee Simons won by a hair. Domantas Sabonis dominated the Skills Challenge, and defeated Julius Randle, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Vucevic to capture the title.

The All-Star Game featured some big shots. Starters on Team LeBron were: James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Curry, and Doncic. Team Durant’s starters were: Bradley Beal, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, and Jayson Tatum. The rest of LeBron’s team were: Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Rudy Gobert, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Sabonis, and Ben Simmons. The reserves for Team Durant were: Devin Booker, Anthony Davis (who was injured), James Harden, Zach Lavine, Donovan Mitchell, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, and Zion Williamson. 

“It’s over, guys,” said Antetokounmpo before the All-Star Weekend. “Me, Lebron, Luka, Jokic, and Steph? Man, that’s a good starting five.”

In the end, Team Lebron took a 170-150 victory over Team Durant. The All-Star MVP trophy was awarded to Antetokounmpo himself for scoring 35 points on perfect 16-of-16 shooting.

There were some other things of note about this basketball festival. 

The NBA paid homage to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The All-Star Game court was designed in collaboration with HBCU alumni, and the NBA and its partners—which include the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and UNCF—committed to an initial $3 million donation to the schools. The game referees, front line workers, and entertainment were all courtesy of HCBUs.

“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “In addition to the festivities on the court, the All-Star Game will honor the vital role HBCUs play in our communities and focus attention and resources on COVID-19 relief, particularly for the most vulnerable.”

Additionally, there was a record number of nine international players, five of which were starters, illustrating how basketball’s reach is growing globally.


Graphic courtesy of THERINGER.COM