The All-Star break is a time in the NBA for a break from the vicious rivalries, treacherous workouts, and battles for wins. It is a time for the players to enjoy themselves, enjoy the game of basketball, and all the fans that support them. The All-Star weekend is filled with basketball everywhere you look. Its about the gear, shoes, superstars, fans, and charities. Each conference (East and West) are representing a handful of charities. Whichever conference wins, will donate a large amount of money to their charities. Now, the players have some true life motivation. The past All-Star weekends have definitely been impressive. It all started with the greats MJ, Magic, Bird, Dr. Jay, and the list goes on. The most recognized events in All-Star weekend consist of the Taco Bell skills challenge, Foot Locker 3-point contest, and the grand finally the Sprite dunk contest.
The Taco Bell skills challenge kicks of the night with an obstacle course for some of the best guards in the league. The course consists of first a layup at the first hoop. Then, weave down the sideline to the first passing hoop. To move past the passing hoops you must get a ball through each hoop. Once the player successfully makes a chest pass through the hoop he moves on to the second passing hoop for a bounce pass. After that is completed, he then runs to the top of the key on the opposite basket to where he started, and must hit a jump shot before he can move on. Finally, he goes through the same dribbling and passing sequence going back until he gets to the hoop he started at. Once the contestant has reached this point, the time will be stopped once he makes a layup or dunk. This obstacle course doesn’t matter for a professional player, but it does for who they are racing for. Each contestant will be representing a child in the contest. If he wins their child wins scholarship money for college from a sponsoring company. Although the players are competing for fun, they also are competing for a great cause. Portland Blazer’s Damian Lillard won the 2013 Taco Bell skills competition, winning scholorship money for the young student- athlete he was representing.
Following the Taco Bell skills challenge is the 3-point contest. This contest brings the best shooters in the game around one hoop to see who the best 3-point shooter is. The rules to follow are simple, shoot five balls per rack including the final multicolored moneyball worth two points. The rest of the normal balls are worth one. There are five racks. Therefore, the most possible points scored is thirty five. Each contestant must complete all five racks within the required time. Whichever contestant has the highest score at the end of the round wins. This year’s contestants for the east were Kyrie Irving, Steve Novak, and Paul George. The contestants for the west were Stephen Curry, Ryan Anderson, and Matt Bonner. In the preliminary rounds Kyrie Irving advanced for the East with eighteen. For the West, it was Matt Bonner with the round high, nineteen. The final round was a head to head matchup between Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs. Both contestants shot better than their first rounds, but it was Kyrie Irving that ended up on top with twenty three. Kyrie was two shy of the contest record twenty five.
The Sprite slam dunk contest is the most popular and exciting event in All-Star weekend. There have been so many great dunk contests consisting of the league’s greatest players to ever play the game. For example, the 1988 dunk contest where the best player to step on the court, Michael Jordan took flight from the foul line. That dunk is what comes to mind when the dunk contest is discussed. It doesn’t matter if you were alive to see it or not, that dunk is one of the most famous dunks ever. The rules of the dunk contest are simple, each contestant gets 1 minute and 30 seconds to complete the dunk of their choice. Whichever dunk is scored the highest by the judges advances. This year the dunk contestants from the east were Terrence Ross, Gerald Green, and James White. The contestants for the west were Jeremy Evans, Eric Bledsoe, and Kenneth Faried. Again, like the previous events, the winner earns points for their conference and money for their charities. For the east,Terrence Ross qualified for the finals by beating out Gerald Green in a tie breaker. For the west, reigning champion, Jeremy Evans qualified for the finals trying to defend his title. In the end, Terrence Ross prevailed with his Vince Carter tribute dunk to make him the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk winner.
All-Star weekend is fun for every basketball fan in the country. The rich traditions of crazy dunks, and hot 3-point shooters will forever live on. Even though some may say the All-Star weekend has declined since MJ showed us his stuff, charities everywhere benefit from these competitions. The NBA is making a difference in peoples lives one dunk, and one 3-pointer at a time .