By Matt Bagdat,
Sports Business Writer
It is almost that time of year for NBA fans, players and coaches. All-Star weekend is on its way, and its arrival has the league buzzing. The NBA’s 65th annual All-Star game will take place at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
The events that will take place during All-star weekend include the Rising Stars challenge, skills competition, three-point shootout, dunk contest, celebrity all-star game, and the main attraction that has everyone talking: the players’ All-Star Game.
The weekend will begin on Friday, Feb. 12, and will conclude on Sunday with the big game. This time of the season is a great opportunity for teams to rest their players, and for fans to enjoy a showcase of the league’s finest players.
Defensive plays and fouls are a rarity in this game, giving room for the best offensive players to shine. As has been the method for the past few years, the fans were able to vote for the players they wanted to see as the starters for the game. This has been made possible through social media, and the results for the 10 starters have finally been revealed.
The Eastern Conference, will feature Kyle Lowry (Toronto), Dwyane Wade (Miami) as guards, and Paul George (Indiana), LeBron James (Cleveland), and Carmelo Anthony (New York) in the frontcourt. All of these players are familiar faces.
The Western Conference will be led by last year’s league MVP and current scoring leader Stephen Curry (Golden State), who will be alongside Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City) and Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers). Bryant will be playing in his 18th and final all-star game, giving him the second most appearances of all time, only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio) will round out the lineup.
Leonard, who was named Defensive Player of the Year last season has transitioned into the focal point of the Spurs’ offense. He will be making his first appearance in the All-Star game. With his potential and increased role, it is likely that we will be seeing him in this game for many years to come.
While Leonard has had a remarkable season thus far, many feel that Draymond Green, who plays a crucial role on the team with the league’s best record should have been voted to start over him. Regardless, both teams have a starting lineup filled with superstars.
The question that remains to be answered is who the reserves will be to fill out the teams. Unlike with the starters, the coaches are the ones who vote in the reserves to the game. They will have to pick seven players from each conference: two guards, three forwards, and two wild cards. It will be exciting who the coaches select to round out the rosters.
Regardless, this All-Star game will be a special one. The fact that it is Kobe Bryant’s last makes it a must-watch, and it will certainly draw attention from all over the world.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, January 26th print edition.
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