Eight players to compete in first bracket-style tournament
POSTED: Feb 5, 2015 7:40 PM ET
Inside The NBA: Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Shaq, Kenny, Ernie, and Chris announce the 2015 All-Star Taco Bell Skills Challenge participants.
NEW YORK — Four guards from the Eastern Conference All-Star team -- starters John Wall of the Washington Wizards and Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, as well as reserves Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks -- and defending champion Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz will headline the 2015 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge during State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday, Feb. 14.
TNT will exclusively televise the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, which features a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the first time. The Philadelphia 76ers' Michael Carter-Williams, the Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Knight and the Phoenix Suns' Isaiah Thomas complete an eight-player field for the three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and shooting skills.
Wall, who leads the NBA in assists (10.2 apg), will be appearing in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge for the third time. His first-round opponent will be Thomas, who ranks second in scoring among NBA reserves (15.4 ppg). Wall will also play in his second All-Star Game, on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden, where he will be joined by first-time All-Stars Lowry, Butler and Teague.
Lowry, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December, is matched up in the first round of the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge against Butler, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for October/November. Teague, one of three All-Stars for the East-leading Hawks, faces Carter-Williams, the 2013-14 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year. Carter-Williams will also compete in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13, at Barclays Center, as will Burke, who was part of last year's winning team in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge. Burke's first-round opponent will be Knight, who leads the Bucks in scoring (17.9 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg).
The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round. In the first round, the eight players have been paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. The four winners advance to the second round, where two more head-to-head showdowns will determine the two finalists. Complete rules can be found at mediacentral.nba.com.
As part of this year's Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, four lucky teens will be paired with the NBA participants. Through the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens™, $120,000 will be donated to local Boys & Girls Clubs in support of educational scholarships and teen empowerment. Each teen participating in the Challenge will receive educational scholarships between $10,000 and $30,000.
NBA All-Star 2015 in New York City will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league's history for a global celebration of the game. The 64th NBA All-Star Game will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports' 30th year of All-Star coverage, as well as the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Other events at Barclays Center include the NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire and the NBA Development League Dream Factory presented by Boost Mobile on Sunday, Feb. 15, airing on NBA TV. Madison Square Garden will host Friday night's ESPN-televised Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Below is the roster for the 2015 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, the bracket and a list of previous winners:
• Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
• Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls
• Jeff Teague, Atlanta Hawks
• Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
• Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia 76ers
• Brandon Knight, Milwaukee Bucks
• Isaiah Thomas, Phoenix Suns
• John Wall, Washington Wizards
2014 - Team West: Trey Burke, Jazz & Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
2013 - Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
2012 - Tony Parker, Spurs
2011 - Stephen Curry, Warriors
2010 - Steve Nash, Suns
2009 - Derrick Rose, Bulls
2008 - Deron Williams, Jazz
2007 - Dwyane Wade, Heat
2006 - Dwyane Wade, Heat
2005 - Steve Nash, Suns
2004 - Baron Davis, Hornets
2003 - Jason Kidd, Nets