by Alma Bean
Feature Image: Photo Courtesy of the Utah Jazz.
Are you planning on watching the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend? Here are the details and my predictions for each event.
Friday, February 17
February 17 is the start of the NBA All-Star Weekend. Fans in or traveling to Salt Lake City will have many events to attend as Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith will appeal to many different demographics. Smith understands that this event which hasn’t been in Utah since 1993, will bring a large audience to the city, but will tend to be relatively expensive. Below are the events that have been currently announced^ (events held by the NBA).
Jordan Rising Stars Practice
This practice will be the first time that these premiere rookies, sophomores, and the G League’s young talent will meet each other as teammates. There are no tickets for this event outside of the NBA experience packages. The practice will air on NBA TV at 2:30 p.m. EST. The players selected for this event are listed below:
Rookies- Paolo Banchero, Jalen Duren, AJ Griffin, Jaden Ivey, Walker Kessler, Bennedict Mathurin, Keegan Murray, Andrew Nembhard, Jabari Smith Jr., Jeremy Sochan, Jalen Williams
Sophomores- Jose Alvarado, Scottie Barnes, Josh Giddey, Jalen Green, Quentin Grimes, Bones Hyland, Evan Mobley, Trey Murphy III, Alperen Sengun, Franz Wagner
G League- Sidy Cissoko, Scoot Henderson, Mojave King, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Leonard Miller, Mac McClung, Scotty Pippen Jr.
Coaches- Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah, Jason Terry, Deron Williams
Basketball Hall of Fame News Conference
Not much is known about this event, but my assumption is one of two potential things. First would be a press conference with the 2022 Naismith Hall of Fame Class speaking with the press about their time being inducted and what they have done since their enshrinement in September. The second option would be the announcement of the individuals that are on the ballot for the 2023 Naismith Hall of Fame Class. Either way, the NBA Hall of Fame will be there to do meet and greets with fans per the NBA experience packages listing a lunch with a random hall of fame player.
This event will be televised on NBA TV at 5:30 p.m. ET.
Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game
The Ruffles NBA All-Start Celebrity Game will have faces that everyone will recognize. From musicians, NFL players, comedians, and more, fans will be in for a treat. Led by Utah Jazz majority owner and CEO of Qualtrics Ryan Smith and Utah Jazz minority owner and former 13x All-Star, 3x NBA Champion, and future hall of famer Dwyane Wade as captains. Their teams are listed below:
Team Dwyane: Nicky Jam (musician), Jesser (YouTube streamer), Simu Liu (actor, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings), DK Metcalf (NFL), Hasan Minhaj (comedian), Janelle Monáe (musician/actress), Arike Ogunbowale (WNBA), 21 Savage (musician), Ranveer Singh (Bollywood actor), Frances Tiafoe (ATP), Alex Toussaint (Puma/Peloton)
Team Ryan: Kane Brown (musician), Cordae (musician), Diamond DeShields (WNBA), Calvin “Megatron” Johnson (NFL), Marcos Mion (Brazilian actor), Michael “The Miz” Mizanin (WWE), Everett Osborne (actor, Chicago Fire), Ozuna (musician), Albert Pujols (MLB), Guillermo Rodriguez (talk show personality, Jimmy Kimmel Live!), Sinqua Walls (actor, Teen Wolf)
It’s hard to typically gauge how a celebrity basketball game will turn out since you don’t know everyone’s talent levels. If I had to take a shot in the dark, I would pick Team Dwyane to win given his background, having a WNBA player along with 21 Savage actively playing in an organized basketball league over the last year.
This event will be televised on ESPN at 7:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Tickets | 2023 NBA Tickets & Schedule | Ticketmaster
Jordan Rising Stars Challenge
This event is a four-team single-game elimination tournament. Rosters are mixed of a rookie, sophomore, and G League players, and the rosters are listed below:
Team Pau- Banchero, Mathurin, Ivey, Barnes, Alvarado, Murray, Nembhard
Team Deron- Wagner, Green, Sengun, Murphy III, Griffin, Hyland, Kessler
Team Joakim- Mobley, Giddey, Williams, Sochan, Grimes, Smith Jr., Duren
Team Jason- Cissoko, Henderson, King, Lofton Jr., McClung, Miller, Pippen Jr.
The format is by a final score that is predetermined by the round. The semifinals will be played to the first to 40 points and the final will be first to 25 points. This is similar to the format for the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star game.
How do I think it’s going to go down? I believe that Team Deron and Team Pau have the strongest and most versatile rosters from the draft. If they don’t play each other in the semifinals, these teams should be the prime matchup that would provide fans a battle to the finish. I do believe Team Deron will come out on top with their roster having five talented sophomores with two big rookies that could cover up any mistakes with ease.
This event will be televised on TNT at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: NBA Rising Stars Tickets | 2023 NBA Tickets & Schedule | Ticketmaster
Saturday, February 18
NBA All-Star Practice/Media Day
This will be the first time that the fans will see this year’s NBA All-Stars together. At this time the players will not know which team they will be playing for or who they will be teamed up with. With this in mind, this will be a great opportunity for fans to interact with the players and potential autograph opportunities. This year’s All-Stars are listed below:
East- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving*, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant*, Jaylen Brown, DeMar DeRozan, Tyrese Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Julius Randle, Pascal Siakam
West- LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Lauri Markkanen, Ja Morant, Nikola Jokic, Stephen Curry, Zion Williamson*, Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox, Paul George, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jaren Jackson Jr., Damian Lillard, Domantas Sabonis
The players will practice with those in their conference but will not know who their teammates are till minutes before the game.
*Kyrie Irving was traded to the Dallas Mavericks from the Brooklyn Nets after being selected for the East.
*Kevin Durant was traded to the Phoenix Suns from the Brooklyn Nets after being selected for the East.
*Zion Williamson was selected as an All-Star before his hamstring injury prevented him from playing.
This event will be televised on NBA TV at 1:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: NBA All-Star Practice presented by AT&T Tickets Feb 18, 2023, Salt Lake City, UT | Ticketmaster
NBA x HBCU Classic Presented by AT&T
This is the first time this event has been a part of NBA All-Star Weekend. This event will highlight two HBCU men’s basketball programs to promote HBCU schools. In this inaugural event, we will see Southern University (13-13, 9-4) vs. Grambling State University (17-8, 10-3). With less than a month left in the season, this game can possibly determine the winner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference. Grambling State is seen as the favorite in this match and rightfully so. Southern is coming in with an even .500 record while Grambling State is coming in on a four-game winning streak. Even with the needle leaning towards Grambling State, I don’t expect them to run away with a win so easily. I believe the game will come down to the final two minutes but Grambling State came out on top 72-67. This would even the season series 1-1 as Southern won the previous match 81-73.
This event will be televised on ESPN2/NBA TV/TNT at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: NBA HBCU Classic presented by AT&T Tickets Feb 18, 2023 Salt Lake City, UT | Ticketmaster
Commissioner Adam Silver News Conference
The new conference is an address on the state of NBA All-Star Weekend and allows the media to ask questions about the events, the current NBA season, and what the NBA future may look like. One hot topic may be the negotiations on the expiring CBA deal, which its negotiation deadline was extended on December 15, which will expire at the end of the 2023-24 NBA season.
This event will be televised on NBA TV at 7:00 p.m. ET.
State Farm All-Star Saturday
State Farm’s All-Star Saturday is arguably the most popular part of the NBA All-Star Weekend. Three events happening one after the other emphasizing pure talent on three different levels will capture the attention of any basketball fan.
The remaining events for Saturday will be televised on TNT starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: State Farm All-Star Saturday Night Tickets Feb 18, 2023 Salt Lake City, UT | Ticketmaster
KIA Skills Challenge
This year’s KIA Skills Challenge will follow the same format as last year with a three-team tournament. The three teams that will compete are listed below:
Team Antetokounmpo- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Kostas Antetokounmpo
Team Utah- Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler, Collin Sexton
Team Rookies- Paolo Banchero, Jabari Smith Jr., Jaden Ivey
PepsiCo 3-Point Contest
The PepsiCo 3-Point Contest is a test of who is the best square-up perimeter shooter in the league. Last year’s winner Karl-Anthony Towns became the first big man since Kevin Love in 2012 to win the event. The lineup for this year’s contest is below:
Kevin Huerter– Sacramento Kings
Tyrese Haliburton– Indiana Pacers
Damian Lillard– Portland Trail Blazers
Anfernee Simons*- Portland Trail Blazers
Julius Randle*- New York Knicks
*Julius Randle will be replacing Anfernee Simons due to injury.
In a three-round system, I think that Herro, Hield, Lillard, and Markkanen will move on from the first round. Lillard will be the front-runner being the overall leader in both rounds and Markkanen will move on by a point or two. I believe that Lillard will take home the title, but Markkanen will only be short by a money ball in the final round. If that’s the case, Lillard would be the first player for Portland to win the 3-Point contest since it started in 1986.
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
The AT&T Slam Dunk Contest allows the NBA’s best dunkers to show off their creativity. Last year’s winner Obi Toppin became the first New York Knick to win the contest since Nate Robinson in 2010. Contestants for this year’s dunk contest are listed below:
Kenyon Martin Jr.– Houston Rockets
Trey Murphy III– New Orleans Pelicans
Mac McClung– Delaware Blue Coats
Judging a dunk contest is difficult since you’re asking players to be more creative than they can be in a game. The only precursor leading to this event is how many times these players have dunked and how many times have they been highlighted. Martin Jr. has had many dunking highlights this season and many of them are jaw droppers Which is why I think he’s a no-brainer to move on to the next round. The dark horse that I believe will move on as well is McClung. Many players including Shaquille O’Neal have gone on record about how McClung’s vertical is phenomenal and surprising. The final will come down to who will be the most creative, but I think I will side with Jamal Crawford that Martin Jr. will be the winner of this contest. If this happens, Martin Jr. would be the first player for Houston to win the award since it started in 1984.
Sunday, February 19
In the final day of NBA All-Star Weekend, fans will be looking forward to the marquee matchup of the NBA’s biggest stars. This year, the NBA has added additional events to give the fans a wider variety leading up to the main event.
NBA Legends Awards
The NBA Legends Awards is an event to recognize players throughout NBA history. Players that will be recognized are part of the National Basketball Retired Players Association. Details of the awards are unknown.
This event will be televised at 1:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV.
NBA G League Next Up Game
This is the first time NBA All-Star Weekend has held a G League All-Star game. Just like the NBA format, this game has two captains selected by the fans and then those captains draft their team. Unlike the NBA format, the teams are drafted a few days in advance. The teams that were drafted are listed below:
Team Luka- Luka Garza, Charles Bassey*, Sharife Cooper, Frank Jackson, Carlik Jones, Saben Lee, Sandro Mamukelashvili*, Mac McClung, Isaiah Mobley, Shareef O’Neal, Trevelin Queen, Zavier Simpson, Gabe York
Team Scoot- Scoot Henderson, Sidy Cissoko, Tyler Cook*, David Duke Jr., London Johnson, Mojave King, Kenneth Lofton Jr., Eric Mika*, Leonard Miller, Scotty Pippen Jr., Neemias Queta, Babacar Sane, Gui Santos
*Sandro Mamukelashvili is replacing Charles Bassey due to an injury
*Tyler Cook is replacing Eric Mika due to an injury
This event will be televised on NBA TV at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: NBA G League Next Up Tickets | Single Game Tickets & Schedule | Ticketmaster.com
NBA All-Star Draft
This will be the first time in NBA history that no one will know their team till minutes before tip-off. With that being said since the NBA went to a draft format rather than East vs. West, LeBron James is undefeated (5-0) as a captain. Though history has a tendency of repeating itself, I believe this will be the first year that James will lose as a captain.
This event will be televised on TNT at 7:30 p.m. ET.
72nd NBA All-Star Game
Immediately following the draft and a performance from Post Malone the NBA All-Star game will tip off. I expect a high-scoring game, but Team LeBron will come out on top 175-1658 with Doncic receiving the All-Star Kobe Bryant MVP award. If this happens, Doncic will be the first player for Dallas to win the award and James will be 6-0 in the All-Star game as a captain.
This event will be televised on TNT at 8:30 p.m. ET.
Here are tickets for the event: 72nd NBA All-Star Game Tickets Feb 19, 2023, Salt Lake City, UT | Ticketmaster
^Event schedule information and pricing provided by the NBA, TicketMaster, and the Salt Lake Tribune.