Bulls' assistant coach Ron Adams to lead Team Shaq in 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge

GMs Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal draft teams for Feb. 24 Challenge

NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2012 – TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, serving as general managers for the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, made their player selections Thursday night on NBA TV.

With the first pick of the first-ever draft for the event, TEAM SHAQ selected Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers while TEAM CHUCK countered by tapping Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers with the second overall selection. Each former All-Star then filled their rosters through the draft process.

In a Draft night surprise, TNT’s Kenny Smith, the Honorary Commissioner of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, added Norris Cole of the Miami Heat and Jeremy Lin of the New York Knicks to the player pool.

The 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be played Friday, Feb. 24, in Orlando during NBA All-Star 2012. While Barkley and O’Neal functioned as the general managers for the draft, Smith served as the honorary commissioner and Ernie Johnson performed the hosting role.

Joining Griffin, Lin and Cole on TEAM SHAQ are Ricky Rubio (Minnesota Timberwolves), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers) and Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons).

Besides Irving, TEAM CHUCK is comprised of DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), MarShon Brooks (New Jersey Nets), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs), Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs).

This marks the first year in which rookies and sophomores have been mixed together on teams. Historically, the game featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. The participants in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.

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 are the lead assistant coaches from the 2012 NBA All-Star Game coaching staffs. The Chicago Bulls’ Ron Adams will lead TEAM SHAQ and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Maurice Cheeks will man the sidelines for TEAM CHUCK.

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 NBA.com will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages.

Last year in Los Angeles, the Rookies won for the second consecutive year, 148-140. Wall earned MVP honors after recording a record 22 assists, five more than Chris Paul managed in 2007.

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 NBA.com/allstar2012 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.