NBA All-Star weekend is right around the corner, and this year’s lineup of events is sure to be a slam dunk.
Friday night marks the start of the 69th annual NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago, Illinois, which will feature a celebrity game, musical performances, and competitions to showcase the league’s best talents in a three-day-long extravaganza.
Sunday’s game is one of the NBA’s biggest nights of the season, you won’t want to miss out — here’s everything to know.
The game will feature two teams, one represented by LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and the other by Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.
On Fed. 7, the NBA released the All-Star player rosters, and both teams are stacked with the top names in the league.
Team LeBron’s starters include Anthony Davis (Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks) and James Harden (Houston Rockets).
Team Giannis will feature Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics), Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).
This year marks the second All-Star season that James and Antetokounmpo are competing as captains — last year the former defeated the competition 178-164, according to CBS Sports.
The All-Star game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. EST, airing live on TNT.
The All-Star celebrity game will air on Friday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m. EST on ESPN and the NBA Rising Stars Challenge will air later that evening at 9 p.m. EST on TNT.
NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which includes the skills challenge, 3-point contest and dunk contest, will air Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. EST on TNT.
The All-Star game and All-Star Saturday Night will take place at the United Center in Chicago.
The All-Star celebrity game, presented by Ruffles, will be played at Wintrust Arena also in Chicago.
NBA officials recently announced changes to the All-Star game itself that places a focus on charity.
Each quarter will play out as a sort of mini-game, with the score resetting back to 0-0 at the start of the second and third quarters. The team with the most points in each quarter — again, played out like its own game with the score resetting to zero — will win $100,000 for its chosen charity.
Team LeBron has selected Chicago Scholars and Team Giannis has chosen After School Matters as their Chicago-based community organizations.
This format changes in the fourth quarter, though, when the scores of each of the last three quarters get tallied up. Instead of setting a time limit, a target score is set that each team has to reach in order to win. The target score is decided by adding 24 points — in honor of Kobe Bryant — to the winning score after three quarters.
For example, if Team LeBron has a winning score of 100 at the start of the fourth quarter, 124 points will become the target score for either team to win.
The winning team will earn another $200,000 for its charity.
The 2020 All-Star game will also feature a special tribute to basketball legend Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, and seven other victims of the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
All members of Team LeBron will wear No. 2 on their jerseys, in memory of Gianna, who wore the number as a member of the Mamba Sports Academy. In turn, Team Giannis players will wear No. 24 in honor of Kobe, who wore the number in the latter half of his career.
To pay tribute to the other victims, both teams will wear patches with nine stars to represent all who were lost in the crash, including John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.
Players not participating in the All-Star game will also be commemorating the victims throughout the weekend, the NBA said. Participants in the Rising Stars and All-Star Saturday Night challenges will wear the nine-star patches that also feature both Kobe and Gianna’s numbers.
Streaming for the All-Star game is available on the TNT app or FuboTV, and the All-Star celebrity game can be streamed on the ESPN app.
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