The big men continue to rule the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
Bigs were brought into the competition in 2016, and they’ve won four of the six competitions since then. By defeating fellow big man Nikola Vucevic in the final round, Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis won the 2021 competition and joined Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis and Bam Adebayo as big-men skills champs.
Sabonis had a perfect first two rounds, eliminating the Knicks’ Julius Randle and the Mavs’ Luka Doncic by going 2-for-2 on the pass and 2-for-2 from 3-point range. He nailed the pass again in the final round, but needed some help from Vucevic to close it out. Both bigs missed their first 3-point attempts, but Sabonis drained his fourth to take home the trophy.
Vucevic, the All-Star center for the Orlando Magic, had a similarly narrow escape in the semifinals, draining his third 3-point attempt to eliminate the Suns’ Chris Paul, who is now 0-5 in the Skills Challenge. Vucevic had a perfect first round to beat the Blazers’ Robert Covington.
–John Schumann, NBA.com
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 8, 2021
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About the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge
The 19th Taco Bell® Skills Challenge was an obstacle-course competition that tests players’ dribbling, passing, agility and 3-point shooting skills. The event took place as part of NBA All-Star 2021 on March 7.
Dončić, who was named an NBA All-Star Game starter for the second year in a row, joined Sabonis (the 2020 runner-up) and Vučević as second-time participants in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge. Paul, an NBA All-Star selection for the 11th time, made his record fifth appearance and first since 2011. Randle and Covington made their event debuts.
Covington is in his eighth NBA season after not being selected in the 2013 NBA Draft. In the 2017-18 season, he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team and ranked 11th in the league in 3-pointers made (203). Covington attended Tennessee State, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Nashville, Tenn. As part of NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs and support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines. On March 7, the league will also paid tribute to the vital role of HBCUs through music, content and storytelling.
— #NBAAllStar (@NBAAllStar) March 3, 2021
The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge is a three-round competition with a single-elimination tournament format. Two players will compete simultaneously on an identical course and the winner of each headto-head matchup will advance to the next round. Two of the six participants, as chosen by the NBA, will receive a bye in the first round and automatically advance to the second round. Click here for a complete explanation of the rules.
Taco Bell Skill Challenge Winners
- 2003 – Jason Kidd, New Jersey
- 2004 – Baron Davis, New Orleans
- 2005 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
- 2006 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
- 2007 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
- 2008 – Deron Williams, Utah
- 2009 – Derrick Rose, Chicago
- 2010 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
- 2011 – Stephen Curry, Golden State
- 2012 – Tony Parker, San Antonio
- 2013 – Damian Lillard, Portland
- 2014 – Trey Burke, Utah and Damian Lillard, Portland
- 2015 – Patrick Beverley, Houston
- 2016 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
- 2017 – Kristaps Porzingis, New York
- 2018 – Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn
- 2019 – Jayson Tatum, Boston
- 2020 – Bam Adebayo, Miami
- 2021 – Domantas Sabonis, Indiana