The 2014-2015 NBA season has reached the midway point, which means one thing; All-Star Weekend. Basketball’s brightest stars in the NBA will align for a show-stopping weekend of play and thrilling events. Over the weekend of February 13-15, New York City will host the 2015 NBA All-Star festivities at both the Barclay’s Center and the iconic Madison Square Garden for three days of excitement featuring the biggest names in the basketball.
According to tradition, the Celebrity Game and the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will occur on Friday night. As a classic All-Star event, hoops fans and non-fans alike enjoy watching former basketball legends, WNBA players, actors, musicians, and athletes from across other sports take the court for the Celebrity Game. As of the 2015 All-Star Weekend, the Rising Stars challenge will consist of a new format. Replacing the rookie versus sophomore match-up, the contest will feature a face-off between a U.S. Team and World Team of the best young players in the league. Team USA includes an explosive lineup of dominant players, like Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams, that will go up against a World Team composed of the most upcoming foreign players, such as first round draft pick Dante Exum and Canadian superstar Andrew Wiggins.
On Saturday night of NBA All-Star Weekend, one of the most explosive contests in sports will ensue with the Shooting Stars contest, Three Point Contest, Skills Challenge, and Slam Dunk Contest. The Three Point Contest should be a showdown that will be remembered for years to come, as sharp-shooters Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, and J.J. Redick will face-off against one another, as well as the nearly unstoppable Splash Brothers of the Golden State Warriors, Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. In an obstacle course that tests the player’s passing, shooting, and dribbling abilities, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature the NBA’s most elusive guards like Brandon Knight and Kyle Lowry. For the grand finale of Saturday night, the Slam Dunk Contest will return to its traditional format as Zach Lavine, Victor Oladipo, Mason Plumlee, and “The Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo throw down some of the nastiest dunks that basketball fans have ever seen.
The most anticipated event of the weekend will finally occur on Sunday afternoon at The World’s Most Famous Arena known as Madison Square Garden. The 64th annual East versus West match-up will showcase the finest players that professional basketball has to offer with two rosters filled with superstars. The East looks to defend its title, fresh off of its first All-Star Game win in five years courtesy of a remarkable performance from Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in last year’s contest in New Orleans. In this year’s competition, the East will count on Irving’s chemistry with his new teammate LeBron James to lead a high-powered squad to its second consecutive victory. The West traditionally dominates the mid-season match-up, but the West will be without the injured future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant once again at the 2015 NBA All-Star Game and hopes that DeMarcus Cousins can fill some awfully large shoes. With big men Anthony Davis and Damian Lillard quickly rising in the ranks as the NBA’s next big stars, the Western Conference looks to the pair of two-time All-Stars to carry the team this year.
Entering the second half of the NBA season, the most skilled and talented players in the league gear up for the All-Star Game and strive to declare their respective conference as the biggest player for the remainder of the year. As the match-up creates a rivalry between the most premier players in the NBA, sports fans are in for yet another All-Star Weekend filled with exciting competition and unforgettable moments.