Parker to Compete In Skills Challenge at All-Star Saturday Night

NEW YORK – Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors will defend his Taco Bell® Skills Challenge title against a field consisting of Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, 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. The 2012 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will take place on Feb. 25, at Amway Center in Orlando.

Curry will attempt to join the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash (2005 and 2010) and the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (2006 and 2007) as the only two-time winners in Taco Bell Skills Challenge history. This year’s Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from five to six participants.

Curry, who leads the Warriors in assists with 6.5 per game and averages 17.2 points and 1.8 steals, won last year’s Taco Bell® Skills Challenge with a final-round time of 28.2 seconds to beat Westbrook. Irving, the overall top selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, who also is participating in the BBVA Rising Star Challenge, leads rookies in scoring (18.3 ppg) and ranks second in assists (4.8 apg). Parker, a 2012 NBA All-Star, paces the Spurs in both scoring (19.4 ppg) and assists (7.8 apg). Wall, the No. 1 selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, averages a team-high 7.5 assists to go along with 16.9 points. Westbrook, the 2011 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge runner-up and a 2012 NBA All-Star, ranks fifth in the league in scoring (23.2 ppg) and seventh in steals (1.9 spg), while adding 5.5 apg. Williams, the current record holder in the event at 25.5 seconds which he set in 2008 in New Orleans, is a 2012 NBA All-Star, ranks sixth in assists (8.3 apg) and eighth in scoring (21.7 ppg).

This is the third year Taco Bell has offered the Graduate To Go™ experience for teens at the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In partnership with NBA Cares and the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, each Taco Bell Skills Challenge player will be paired with an All-Star teen from an Orlando area Boys & Girls Club who has shown outstanding leadership and determination to stay in school despite personal obstacles. All participating teens will receive the Graduate to Go™ experience of a lifetime: a behind-the-scenes career tour of NBA All-Star; an opportunity to meet with NBA players; the chance to be on the court during the Taco Bell Skills Challenge to cheer on their NBA player; and an educational scholarship. At the conclusion of this event, $55,000 in educational scholarships will be awarded to the participating All-Star teens. The teen paired with the winning Taco Bell Skills Challenge player will receive a $25,000 educational scholarship.