Posted Feb 6, 2014 8:01 PM - Updated Feb 7, 2014 8:30 AM
NEW YORK -- NBA All-Stars Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and John Wall of the Washington Wizards headline the list of dunkers in the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk (#SpriteSlam), taking place during State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night (#StateFarmSaturday) at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 15. Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors and Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings fill out the Western Conference teams, while reigning Sprite Slam Dunk champion Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors completes the East roster.
This marks the first time in 26 years that three All-Stars are competing in the Sprite Slam Dunk. In the 1988 competition in Chicago, All-Stars Clyde Drexler, Michael Jordan, and Dominique Wilkins squared off, with Jordan claiming the crown in front of the hometown fans.
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will be exclusively televised on TNT. The event also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio and will collectively reach fans in 215 countries and territories in more than 47 languages.
For the second consecutive year, the Eastern and Western conferences will compete during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night in an evening of challenges that will raise money for charity. NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $100,000 awarded to each event's winning conference's charities and $25,000 going to the charities of the runner-up for each event. The Eastern Conference will be playing for the American Heart Association and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF while the Western Conference will compete for Teach for America and Wounded Warrior Project®. All-Stars Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and George, winner of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award, will serve as captains of the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. The charities were selected by George and Curry, the NBA, and State Farm.
"It's a real honor to serve as the Captain of the Eastern Conference Team for All-Star Saturday Night," George said. "This is a great opportunity to support and raise awareness of very worthy charities while entertaining our fans with contests showcasing the athleticism, creativity and excitement of our game. I'm particularly pumped to be in the Slam Dunk Contest as the new format provides players with the chance to display our individual skills while battling for conference bragging rights."
This year's event will feature the participants competing as a team -- three players representing the Eastern Conference and three players representing the Western Conference -- in an above-the-rim two-round format. In a significant first in the event's history, the competition will tip off with a Freestyle Round where the dunkers for each conference will have 90 seconds to showcase as many dunks as they want. At the conclusion of the Freestyle Round, the panel of judges will then choose a winner by voting "East" or "West." The winning conference will earn the advantage of deciding whether its dunkers will dunk first or second in the head-to-head battles that take place in the Battle Round.
The Battle Round will feature head-to-head matchups pitting East dunkers vs. West dunkers, with the judges choosing a winner for each battle. Upon losing a head-to-head battle, that dunker is then eliminated from the competition. The first team to win three battles will win the competition and be crowned 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk champions. Complete rules for the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night can be found on mediacentral.nba.com.
After the competition, fans will also have the opportunity to vote for the player of their choice as "Dunker of the Night" through SMS, Twitter, NBA.com and the NBA GameTime app.
Lillard, the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, also is participating in the Taco Bells Skills Challenge and Foot Locker Three Point Contest, becoming the first player to appear in three events during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. He is additionally participating in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge to be played Feb. 14, and the 2014 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16. Barnes and Ross also are both participating in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
"I'm excited to represent the Trail Blazers in the Rising Stars Challenge and my first NBA All-Star Game," said Lillard. "It's also an honor to be the first player to participate in three events at All-Star Saturday Night."
EASTERN CONERENCE SPRITE SLAM DUNK PARTICIPANTS
> Paul George, Indiana Pacers
> Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors
> John Wall, Washington Wizards
WESTERN CONERENCE SPRITE SLAM DUNK PARTICIPANTS
> Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors
> Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
> Ben McLemore, Sacramento Kings
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