Kyrie Irving Announced As Participant In The 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge

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CLEVELAND, OH - February 20, 2012 - Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving has been named as a participant in the 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge to be held on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Orlando during NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBA announced today. Irving joins defending champion Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets in the Skills Challenge.

Irving, the number one overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, currently leads all rookies in scoring (18.3), field goal percentage (.485) and free throw percentage (.846) while ranking second in assists (4.8) and third in three-point field goal percentage (.419) in 30.5 minutes per game through 26 games. He was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in the months of December and January.

The 19-year-old point guard becomes the third player in Cavaliers franchise history to be invited to participate in the skills challenge and the first since Mo Williams in 2009. Irving is also set to participate in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 24 as a member of Team CHUCK. Teammate and fellow rookie Tristan Thompson will also participate in the game as a member of Team SHAQ.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features six players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The three players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which will also feature the Haier Shooting Stars, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk. TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 7 p.m. EST from Amway Center in Orlando. The 61st NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 26, will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio, and in more than 200 countries in more than 40 languages.