Updated: Feb 28
By: ALEX DELEON / STAFF REPORTER
The NBA’s 71st All Star Weekend was this past weekend and was filled with tons of fun and exciting events.
The NBA is also celebrating its 75th anniversary this season so throughout the weekend there were several homages paid to the anniversary of the league and the legends that paved the way for the game.
The NBA released a 75 Greatest Players list to commemorate this anniversary, similar to the 50 Greatest Players list the league created for its 50th anniversary in 1997.
These 75 players are universally recognized as some of the best to ever play the game, they kept the original 50 players from the 50th anniversary list and added 25 new players.
There is never going to be a perfect list and there is always going to be debates concerning certain players on the list. But for the most part these are universally recognized as some of the greatest basketball players in NBA history.
Celebrity All-Star Game and Rising Stars Challenge
The city of Cleveland, Ohio, hosted the All Star Weekend just like it did for the 50th anniversary back in 1997. The weekend also featured big performances from artists such as DJ Khaled, Lil Baby, Gunna, The Migos, Mary J Blige, Lil Wayne and Ludacris.
All Star Weekend kicked off with The Celebrity All Star game which featured big name athletes, influencers, and rappers such as Quavo, Myles Garret, Tiffany Haddish, Jack Harlow, Anuel AA and many more.
The captains for both teams were members of the NBA’s 75 Greatest Players list: Dominique Wilkins and Bill Walton.
Team Nique came out on top beating Team Walton 65-51, led by Peloton workout influencer, Alex Toussaint, who finished with 18 points and was honored as the Celebrity Game’s MVP.
The Rising Stars challenge took on a new form this year with a format that includes four teams of seven players each (12 rookies, 12 sophomores, and 4 players from the G league Ignite team.) In a three-game tournament, the semi-finals were played until the first team scored 50 points and the final game was played to 25 points.
The captains for these teams were other members of the NBA’s 75 greatest players list: Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton, James Worthy and Rick Barry. Team Barry took home the championship of the tournament, led by rookie phenoms Cade Cunningham and Franz Wagner.
Finishing with a 25-20 score over Team Isiah, Cunningham hit a huge 3-point shot to give his team a lead of 24-20.
On the following possession, Cunningham found a cutting Wagner, who was fouled and sent to the free throw line where Wagner proceeded to make the game winning free throw.
Cade Cunningham was awarded the Rising Stars MVP producing a total of 18 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and two blocks in two wins for Team Barry.
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
Before Saturday Night’s events, the NBA hosted the inaugural NBA x HBCU Classic where Morgan State played against Howard University to give further exposure to HBCUs (Historically Black College and Universities) across the nation during one of Basketball's biggest weekends.
The NBA and All Star Point Guard Chris Paul have created a huge campaign to aid HBCUs across the country and give them the exposure to encourage more students to attend a Historically Black institution. Chris Paul and Stephen Curry talked with the student athletes before the game giving them advice and words of encouragement. Fostering a real connection with players at schools that do not get as much recognition as PWI’s.
Robert Covington of The Los Angeles Clippers is currently the only player to have attended an HBCU (Tennessee State University), Chris Paul has enrolled in classes at Winston-Salem State University. There was not much of a connection with The NBA and HBCUs prior to these efforts. Further emphasizing why branching out to these institutions is very significant.
Howard was able to come back from a 12 point deficit in the second half to come out on top with a 68-66 victory over Morgan State.
The first event of the night was the Taco Bell Skills challenge, where three teams of three players each go through four rounds of obstacles and challenges that test their shooting, passing, and ball handling abilities. The two teams with the most challenge points after the first three rounds proceed to the final round.
The three teams were Team Cavs featuring the three stars of the All Star Weekend host team: the Cleveland Cavaliers with Darius Garland, Jarret Allen, and Evan Mobley against Team Rooks featuring some of the league's best rookies this season which includes Cade Cunningham, Josh Giddey, and Scottie Barnes. The final team was Team Antetokounmpos starring the Antetokounmpo brothers: Giannis, Thanasis, and Alex.
Team Antetoukounmpo and Team Rooks finished with a tie in the passing round, but with Team Antetokounmpo’s completing more outlet passes, they won the tie breaker.
Team Cavs established themselves in the Shooting competition scoring 44 points total, followed by Team Rooks with 32, Darius Garland alone scored 21 points which was more than Team Antetokounmpo’s total of 20.
Team Rooks won the Team Relay challenge awarding them 200 Team Points, finishing with a time of 1 minute and 18.5 seconds in the competition that had the players go through a course that challenged various skill sets.
Team Cavs failed to finish in the time Team Rooks did, resulting in a tiebreaker where a member of Team Antetokounmpo and Team Cavs would shoot 3 point shots to determine who advances, Giannis would miss his shot while Garland made his sending Team Cavs to the final round.
The last round had Team Cavs face off against Team Rooks in a half court shot competition to see who would make a half court shot in the shortest amount of time.
Team Rooks applied pressure early by making the half court shot in only 9.9 seconds. Evan Mobley, of Team Cavs, was able to come up clutch, cashing in a three-pointer in only 5.5 seconds. Resulting in Team Cavs winning the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
The MTN Dew 3 Point Contest followed shortly after featuring the league's most elite three-point shooters: Trae Young, Zach Lavine, Karl-Anthony Towns, Cj Mccolum, Luke Kennard and more.
The players would shoot from various locations beyond the three-point line with every shot adding points to their score. Shots taken with official NBA basketballs counted as 1 point per make while shots with a multicolored ball known as the “moneyball” gave 2 points.
The three players with the highest score after the first round will advance to the final round where the player with the highest score will be the winner. Trae Young, Luke Kennard, and Karl-Anthony Towns advanced to the final round where Karl-Anthony Towns was crowned the winner after scoring an impressive 29 points in the final round.
The AT&T Slam Dunk contest was the final event of the night to cap off an eventful All Star Saturday night.
Featuring some of the NBA’s best dunkers showcasing their abilities in front of a panel of judges, the players would perform a dunk and then receive a rating out of 10 by each of the 5 judges.
This year the judges were all members of the 75 Greatest Players List, including Isiah Thomas, David Robinson, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, and Clyde Drexler.
This year's four participants were Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets, Cole Anthony of the Orlando Magic, Juan Toscano-Anderson of the Golden State Warriors, and Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks.
Anthony and Green were eliminated after the first round, leaving Toppin and Toscano-Anderson to compete in the finals. Brooklyn native, Obi Toppin, was able to bring home the trophy after a heroic final dunk where he hit the backboard with the ball before slamming it in.
Sunday Night All-Star Game
The current All Star format has changed vastly from previous seasons, currently the scoreline is reset to 0-0 after each quarter for the first three quarters.
Each quarter is 12 minutes long and the winner of the first three quarters will be the team that scores the most points. The winner of each individual quarter will win more money to donate to a charity of the team's choice.Team LeBron represented the Kent State I Promise Scholars program and Team Durant represented The Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
In the Final quarter the game clock gets turned off and a target score is set. The first team to reach the target score is deemed the winner of the 2022 NBA All Star Game.
The Game Started with Joel Embiid winning the jump ball against Nikola Jokic for Team Durant giving Team Durant the ball first, Steph Curry and Trae Young got each of their teams momentum going early by hitting 3 pointers for their teams at the beginning of the game.
Team Lebron started to take the lead quickly and held it for the majority of the first quarter until Team Durant started to catch fire.
By the end of the first quarter, the game was neck-and-neck with both teams showing their talents with magnificent plays like reverse dunks from Ja Morant and Karl Anthony Towns.
Shots were taken from everywhere around the court and some impressive contested three’s from players like Fred Vanvleet and Luka Doncic to secure the First Quarter win for Team LeBron.
Team Durant would win the second quarter, with some of the best plays of the quarter including Ja Morant’s monstrous 360 slam dunk, and Steph Curry's three-point shot takeover. Throughout the quarter, Curry would find himself open from all over the floor to keep Team Lebron Alive.
The Halftime show was an homage to the 75 Greatest Players Listed as the NBA’s 75 Greatest players. Every member in attendance would walk across the court with their 75th anniversary themed jacket, have their name announced and stand with the rest of the players on a platform placed on the court thus showing signs of the utmost respect for legends of the games past, present, and future.
The third quarter saw Curry continue his hot streak, making three-point shots from near half court, including a one-legged long ball. Curry would finish the quarter with 45 points and 15 total threes made in just the first three quarters, which is something the NBA has never seen before.
The fourth quarter would combine the points from the previous three quarters.
The game clock would be turned off and the first team to score 163 points total would win the game. It would come down to the wire as Team LeBron had the lead at 161-160.
With this being the last possession needed, LeBron would take the ball, do a post up on the opposing team’s guard, Zach Lavine, turn for the post-fade, and sink the game winning shot resulting in a victory for Team LeBron.
In the end, both charities received nearly $3 million in donations from proceeds gathered from the All Star game itself and several other donations from The NBA and partners such as State Farm.
Stephen Curry was awarded the Kobe Bryant trophy and named the All Star Game MVP finishing with a phenomenal 50 points, five rebounds, two assists, one steal, and two blocks.
Lebron James (Captain) F, Los Angeles Lakers
Giannis Antetokounmpo F, Milwaukee Bucks
Stephen Curry G, Golden State Warriors
Demar Derozan G, Chicago Bulls
Nikola Jokic C, Denver Nuggets
Jarrett Allen C, Cleveland Cavaliers
Jimmy Butler F, Miami Heat
Luka Doncic F, Dallas Mavericks
Darius Garland G, Cleveland Cavaliers
James Harden G, Philadelphia 76ers
Donovan Mitchell G, Utah Jazz
Chris Paul G, Phoenix Suns
Fred Vanvleet G, Toronto Raptors
Coach: Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams and his staff will coach Team LeBron
Kevin Durant (Captain) F, Brooklyn Nets
Joel Embiid C, Philadelphia 76ers
Ja Morant G, Memphis Grizzlies
Andrew Wiggins F, Golden State Warriors
Trae Young G, Atlanta Hawks
Jayson Taytum F, Boston Celtics (Replacement for Durant)
Devin Booker G, Phoenix Suns
Rudy Gobert C, Utah Jazz
Zach Lavine G, Chicago Bulls
Khris Middleton F, Milwuakee Bucks
Karl-Anthony Towns C, Minnesota Timberwolves
Draymond Green F, Golden State Warriors
Dejounte Murray G, San Antonio Spurs
Lamelo Ball G, Charlotte Hornets
Coaches: Miami Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff will coach Team Durant