Besides the NBA Finals in June, the highlight of the NBA season is NBA All Star weekend. Usually the third weekend in February, NBA All Star weekend honors the games current best players, along with paying homage to some of the games best players of the past. The weekend which begins on Friday evening with the celebrity all star game and ends with the NBA all star game on Sunday, is full of competition, glitz, and glamour.
One of the competitions fans look forward to is NBA All Star Saturday Night, in which NBA players compete in a skills challenge, a 3 point shootout, and the dunk contest. This years contest was full of spectacular moments and basketball abilities of high levels being put on display.
The night began with the skills challenge, a competition in which players compete head to head in an obstacle course which involves dribbling around barriers, making an accurate pass through a tire, dribbling to make a lay up, then finally making a 3 point shot. In recent years the competition has been dominated by NBA front court players (forwards and centers) but that changed Saturday evening when Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, defeated Chicago Bulls rookie forward Lauri Markkanen in the final round to take home the trophy. This is the first time a guard has won since 2016, the year in which the NBA changed the skills challenge format.
Next up was the 3 point shootout. This contest involves some of the games best long range shooters putting their shooting abilities to the test. Players are given 60 seconds to make as many 3 point baskets as possible from five different locations on the floor.
This years competition was won by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker. In the championship round Booker scored a record high 28 points to beat Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Clippers forward to Tobias Harris.
NBA All Star Saturday Night ends every year with the highly anticipated slam dunk contest. High flyers combine their jumping abilities with power, creativity, and agility to compete for the crown as the NBAs best dunker. Legends such as Michael Jordan, Larry Nance, Spud Webb, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, and Vince Carter, to name a few, have all won the competition and this year Utah Jazz rookie standout Donovan Mitchell added his name to the list of winners. In the championship round Mitchell, with a Vince Carter inspired 360 degree windmill, defeated Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance, Jr., whose father Larry Nance, Sr. won the first ever slam dunk competition.