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Barkley, Shaq to draft teams for BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

By Official release

Posted Feb 7 2012 2:32PM

NEW YORK -- NBA All-Star 2012 will play host to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, which will introduce an exciting new format to a game that has historically featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. BBVA, the Official Bank of the NBA, will serve as the title partner of the new event.

TNT Analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will serve as the general managers of two opposing teams, each with nine man rosters, consisting of NBA rookies and sophomores drafted from a pool that was previously selected by the NBA's assistant coaches. Also, TNT's Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary Commissioner and Ernie Johnson will host the live BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16, on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET.

"The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will showcase the bright future of basketball," said Ignacio Maldonado, BBVA Global Director of Sponsorship and Content. "This is a great opportunity for us to support these young players who will continue to help make the NBA the best league in the world."

As part of this new partnership, BBVA will have a presence prior to the game in promotional materials and during the game through on-court decals, courtside signage, in-arena activities, and during the televised broadcast. NBA rookies and sophomores will wear custom BBVA Rising Stars Challenge patches on their jerseys during the game. BBVA will also be the new title partner of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge practice to be held at NBA All-Star Jam Session at 9:30 a.m. on Friday morning, Feb. 24, and will be broadcast on NBA TV.

"The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge is an innovative approach to a traditional All-Star event that features our game's most exciting first and second year players competing on a grand stage," said Mark Tatum, NBA Executive Vice President of Global Marketing Partnerships. "BBVA is an ideal title partner for this event where the best young players in our game will be showcased to a global audience."

The pool of players will be announced on Feb. 8, followed by the live BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday evening, Feb. 16. Fellow TNT Analysts Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr will be part of the coaching staffs for the teams, with Fratello joining TEAM CHUCK and Kerr joining TEAM SHAQ. The Head Coaches for both teams will be the lead assistant coaches from the 2012 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs.

The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages. NBA games are broadcast to 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Tickets to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge are available for $35 for the upper bowl and $50 for the lower bowl, and fans can visit to purchase them.

NBA All-Star brings together the top NBA players and performers for a week of competition, community service and world-class entertainment. Among the many other exciting All-Star events are Sprite Slam Dunk, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Haier Shooting Stars and NBA All-Star Jam Session.

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