NBA All-Star 2020:
All-Star Weekend Storylines:
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The new All-Star Game format is designed to increase the level of competition throughout the game, provide additional excitement at the finish and make the outcome of every quarter count for charity.
Teams will compete to win each of the first three quarters. The winner of each 12-minute quarter (1st, 2nd & 3rd) will be the team that scores the most points within that quarter. Each of the first three quarters is worth $100,000 to the winning team’s charity.
The fourth quarter will be untimed. The winner of the game will be the first team to reach (or surpass) the Final Target Score, which will be the leading team’s total score from the first three quarters PLUS 24 points. The team that wins the All-Star Game will earn $200,000 for its selected charity.
Final Target Score example: If Team LeBron leads Team Giannis by a score of 100–95 after the first three quarters, the Final Target Score is 124 (100 + 24).
- The NBA’s new wave of stars has arrived. Eight NBA All-Stars are under 24 – the most since the league’s first All-Star Game, in 1951 (nine).
- Luka Dončić (20), Trae Young (21), Jayson Tatum(21), Brandon Ingram (22), Bam Adebayo (22), Donovan Mitchell (23), Ben Simmons (23) and Domantas Sabonis (23).
A record eight international players from seven countries are NBA All-Stars.
- 4 Starters: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon) and Pascal Siakam (Cameroon).
- 4 Reserves: Rudy Gobert (France), Nikola Jokić (Serbia), Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) and Ben Simmons (Australia).
Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam – starters on Team Giannis – are both Cameroon natives and former Basketball Without Borders (BWB) campers.
Feels Like the First Time
Nine players are first-time All-Star selections – the most in 10 years.
- 3 Starters: Luka Dončić, Pascal Siakam and Trae Young.
- 6 Reserves: Bam Adebayo, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Donovan Mitchell, Domantas Sabonis and Jayson Tatum.
Luka Dončić and Trae Young – traded for each other on draft night in 2018 – are both All-Star starters and first-time All-Star selections in their second season. The last time multiple second-year NBA players started the same All-Star Game was in 1996 (Grant Hill and Jason Kidd).
With Dončić, 20, and Young, 21, selected as starters, this marks the second All-Star Game with multiple 21-and-under starters. The previous time was 1998 with Kobe Bryant (19) and Kevin Garnett (21).
Dončić, who turns 21 on Feb. 28, is set to become the ninth player to appear in an All-Star Game at age 20 or younger. He is the youngest starter since 20-year-old LeBron James in 2005.
The eight players to appear in an All-Star Game at 20 or younger:
- Kobe Bryant (19), LeBron James (20), Magic Johnson (20), Kevin Garnett (20), Isiah Thomas (20), Kyrie Irving (20), Anthony Davis (20) and Shaquille O’Neal (20).
Kobe Bryant is one of the most decorated players in NBA All-Star history.
- 18 NBA All-Star selections: Second-most selections all time behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19).
- 4 NBA All-Star Game MVPs: Tied for the record with Bob Pettit.
- Youngest to appear in NBA All-Star Game: 19 years, 169 days for the 1998 All-Star Game.
- 1997 Slam Dunk champion: Won the contest as an 18-year-old NBA rookie.
Team Giannis will wear No. 24 and Team LeBron will wear No. 2 – the basketball jersey numbers of Kobe and his daughter Gianna, respectively.
Both All-Star teams will wear jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing Kobe, Gianna and their seven friends and teammates who tragically passed away in a helicopter accident on Jan. 26.
A record three NBA All-Stars are NBA G League veterans: Rudy Gobert, Khris Middleton and Pascal Siakam.
Siakam is the first NBA G League veteran to be named a starter in the NBA All-Star Game.
Last year, Middleton became the first player to become an NBA All-Star after playing in the NBA G League.
Before joining the Raptors, Team Giannis coach Nick Nurse spent six seasons as a head coach in the NBA G League. Nurse guided the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and the Iowa Energy to one NBA G League title each, making him the only head coach to win championships in both the NBA and the NBA G League.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the son of Nigerian parents, and Cameroon natives Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam comprise Team Giannis’ starting frontcourt.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: In 2013, he was viewed as an NBA Draft project after playing on a second-division team in the Greek League. Now, he is a back-to-back All-Star captain, a four-time All-Star and a strong candidate to win his second straight regular-season MVP award.
- Joel Embiid: The former BWB camper didn’t take up basketball until well into his teens.
- Pascal Siakam: The former BWB camper didn’t take up basketball until well into his teens. As the 27th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he has defied the odds to become a star.
King for a Weekend
LeBron James continues to add to his extraordinary All-Star résumé …
- 16th All-Star selection – Moves into sole possession of third place for the most in NBA history behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18)
- 16th straight All-Star selection – James has been an All-Star every year since his second NBA season. The only player with more consecutive All-Star selections is Kobe (18 straight).
- 16th All-Star start – When he takes the court in Chicago, James will set the NBA record for All-Star starts with 16, passing Kobe (15).
- 16th straight All-Star start – James will extend his record for consecutive All-Star starts to 16.
Better with Age
Kyle Lowry, 33, is the first player to be named to six All-Star teams after not being selected in any of his first eight seasons.
Chris Paul, 34, is an All-Star selection for the first time since 2016. This is his 10th All-Star nod.
LeBron James, 35, leads the NBA in assists – something he has never done over a full season.
Anthony Davis is from the South Side of Chicago. Once known as “the little guy who would shoot threes from the corner,” Davis experienced a rapid growth spurt in high school and became the top recruit in his class. This is Davis’ seventh consecutive All-Star selection.
Chicago will host NBA All-Star for the first time in 32 years. When the Windy City hosted in 1988, the Bulls’ Michael Jordan scored 40 points to earn MVP honors in the All-Star Game and edged Dominique Wilkins to win one of the best Slam Dunk contests in NBA history.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Vince Carter’s electrifying performance to win Slam Dunk at NBA All-Star 2000 in Oakland, Calif. At the time, Carter was 23 and playing his second NBA season. Carter is now 43 and playing his record 22nd NBA season.
2020 All-Stars Anthony Davis and Brandon Ingram were the centerpieces of a blockbuster trade between the Lakers and Pelicans last summer. Ingram has blossomed into a first-time All-Star selection with New Orleans.
2020 All-Stars Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul were the centerpieces of a blockbuster trade between the Thunder and Rockets last summer.
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MTN DEW 3-Point Contest
New Wrinkle: The 3-Point Contest features two new shots from the MTN DEW Zone, attempted 6 feet behind the three-point line, shot with a special green ball and worth three points each (aka the “3-Ball”).
Dame and Fortune: Damian Lillard has been the NBA’s hottest player over the last few weeks, averaging nearly 50 points in a recent six-game stretch. Lillard has become known for audaciously deep three-point attempts, making him a perfect fit for the MTN DEW Zone.
Zach Attack : Representing the hometown Bulls, two-time Slam Dunk champion Zach LaVine will try to become the first player to win both the Slam Dunk and 3-Point Contest at NBA All-Star.
Cup of Joe : Defending champ Joe Harris can become the first back-to-back winner since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008. Harris is one of two NBA G League veterans to win the event, along with Daequan Cook (2009).
Heat Check: The Wall Street Journal described Miami’s Duncan Robinson as “the most improbable player in the NBA.” Robinson began his college career at a Division III school before transferring to Michigan. After going undrafted in 2018, Robinson was picked up by the Heat and has turned into a starter on a top team.
Break on Through: Davis Bertans, Devonte’ Graham and Duncan Robinson are having breakout seasons. The same could be said of Trae Young, who has moved from promising rookie last season to All-Star this season.
AT&T Slam Dunk
Superman Returns: 2008 Slam Dunk champion Dwight Howard is back in the competition for the first time in 11 years. At 34, the eight-time All-Star has revitalized his career in his second stint with the Lakers.
Unfinished Business: Aaron Gordon’s dazzling performance in the 2016 Slam Dunk would have been good enough to win in most years, but he was edged by Zach LaVine. After struggling in the 2017 event, Gordon is motivated to earn the title for the first time. He is the consummate showman with creativity to spare.
Jump Start: Derrick Jones Jr. will compete in Slam Dunk on his 23rd birthday. In 2017, he became the first player to participate in Slam Dunk and play in the NBA G League in the same season. Since then, he has blossomed into a solid NBA contributor, now with Miami.
Talent to Burn: Pat Connaughton is one of the NBA’s best athletes. At the 2015 NBA Draft Combine, Connaughton recorded a max vertical leap of 44 inches, tied for the third-highest mark in event history. The Milwaukee guard was also selected as a pitcher by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2014 MLB Draft.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Champions Club: Defending champion Jayson Tatum and former winners Patrick Beverley (2015) and Spencer Dinwiddie (2018) lead the field. (A fourth former champion, Derrick Rose, withdrew due to injury.)
Winds of Change: Spencer Dinwiddie was playing for the Windy City Bulls of the NBA G League when he earned a Call-Up to the Nets in December 2016. Since then, he has developed into an All-Star-caliber player.
Chicago’s Own: Chicago native Patrick Beverley’s success is hard earned. He plied his trade overseas for several seasons before breaking into the NBA. He is one of the NBA’s top defenders and a dogged competitor.
Frontcourt Flair: First-time All-Stars Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis and Pascal Siakam are making their Skills Challenge debuts. All three big men possess guard-like passing and ball-handling skills.
Northern Exposure: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a budding star and one of a record 16 Canadian players on NBA opening-night rosters this season.
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Ja Rules: Prized rookie Ja Morant generated All-Star buzz while joining fellow Rising Stars U.S. Team selection Jaren Jackson Jr. to lead Memphis into the playoff hunt. This game is tailor made for Morant’s rare combination of athleticism and court vision.
Auspicious Debut: Zion Williamson already looks like a standout after a late start to his rookie year. He averaged 21 points over his first nine career games.
Follow You, Follow Me: Rising Stars will be a fun warmup for Luka Dončić and Trae Young, both NBA All-Star starters in their second season. Dončić and Young were traded for each other on draft night in 2018.
Oh, Canada: A record four Canadians are participating in Rising Stars: Nickeil Alexander-Walker, RJ Barrett, Brandon Clarke and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Alexander-Walker and Gilgeous-Alexander are cousins.
BWB Pipeline: The World Team features four players who participated as campers in Basketball Without Borders (BWB): Deandre Ayton, RJ Barrett, Rui Hachimura and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
History for Rui: RuiHachimura is the first player from Japan to be named to a Rising Stars roster. Last June, he became the first Japanese player ever selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Bar Nunn: Undrafted rookie Kendrick Nunn has been the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month all three times this season, helping Miami emerge as a contender. He spent last season in the NBA G League.
Golden Days: Eric Paschall, a bright spot for Golden State, is the only second-round pick from the 2019 NBA Draft class to be selected for Rising Stars. Paschall’s best friend is 2020 All-Star Donovan Mitchell.
Buzz Feed: The Hornets placed three players on the U.S. Team: Miles Bridges, Devonte’ Graham and PJ Washington. Graham is a candidate for the Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award.