All Access: Team Chuck's Rising Stars Challenge Practice

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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One of the perks of being selected for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge is the privilege of playing for two of the NBA’s all-time greatest superstars in Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal. It’s an added bonus for the rookies and sophomores who not only get to experience All-Star Weekend, but also get to take in the festivities with NBA legends.

Who knows? Maybe they can take something away from the experience on the court.

“I hope he shows me a thing or two,” said Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried about his presence on the boards. Faried is known for ferociously attacking the rim, and Barkley snagged over 12,500 boards in his career. “He’s a Hall of Famer. I want him to show me a thing or two.”

Tipoff for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge is set for 8 p.m. on TNT.

For Ricky Rubio, this year marks his second trip to the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. And this year he’ll be switching teams. A year ago he played for Shaq, and this year he’ll be playing for Team Chuck.

He said leading up to All-Star Break that meeting Shaq and seeing how big he was in person was one of the most memorable parts of his first-year experience.

Barkley will bring another animated persona into the huddle, and Rubio’s teammates are excited to see what that is going to be like.

“Chuck’s a character, man,” forward Anthony Davis said. “I’m wearing his shoes, because I’m on his team, but he’s definitely one of the guys you love to have in your life. He’s a funny guy, he played great in the league, but Chuck’s a character, someone who is fun to hang around.”

Guard Brandon Knight said he is most looking forward to Barkley’s pregame speech. Faried fell into that category, too.

“Chuck’s a confident, respected player,” Faried said. “Hall of Famer. I love how flamboyant and energetic and a great person he was [as a player].”

As for the game, Shved said he’s excited to get to know his teammates. He said he’s begun to meet some of them and have talked basketball while they wait for the game.

Faried said he’s seen Rubio’s alley-oops before, and he’s intrigued by what it would be like to catch one. “I would love to see how it is,” Faried said. “I play with Andre Miller so I’m pretty sure it’s—not the same thing but h’ell be a little bit faster.”

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