Article by: Martin Lee
To get ready for the NBA All-Star Game, the NBA had a couple of contests between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. The Sprite Slam-Dunk Contest, Footlocker 3-Point Contest, the Taco Bell Skills Contest, and the Sears Shooting Stars Challenge. The winner of each challenge gets $100,000 dollars to donate to the charity of the team captain’s choice and the runner up gets $25,000.
The Sears Shooting Stars challenge started off last night. In the first round Team Curry finished in 1:05, Team Durant finished in 1:00, Team Hardaway finished in 1:25, and Team Bosh finished in 35.6 seconds. Team Curry and Team Hardaway had the longest times in the first round so they were automatically eliminated. In the second round it was Team Bosh vs. Team Durant. Durant’s team finished in 43.6 seconds while Bosh’s team finished in 31.4 seconds. Bosh knocked down his half court shot on the first attempt. Second year in a row Team Bosh won the Sears Shooting Stars Challenge.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was the next contest. Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan finished in 45 seconds, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo finished in 43.3 seconds, Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson finished in 42.3 seconds, while Trey Burke and Damian Lillard finished in 40.6 seconds. Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan, Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson were eliminated. In the second round of the contest Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo finished in 45.3 seconds, while Trey Burke and Damian Lillard finished in 45.2 seconds, winning the contest by only 0.1 seconds! What an amazing finish!
The Foot Locker 3-Point Contest was next. The orange basketballs were worth 1 point and the multicolored basketballs are worth 2 points. For the first time, one rack was filled with multicolored basketballs that the player can place in any of the 5 spots around the 3-point arch. In the first round Kevin Love finished with 16 points, Damian Lillard finished with 18 points, Marco Belinelli finished with 19 points for the West. While Stephen Curry finished with 16 points, Joe Johnson finished with 11 points, Arron Afflalo finished with 15 points, Bradley Beal finished with 21 points, and Kyrie Irving finished with 17 points for the East. Both Belinelli and Beal had the highest scores from both sides and advanced to the finals. In the final round Marco Belinelli finished with 19 points, while Bradley Beal also finishing with 19 points forcing a tie breaker. During the tiebreaker round Bradley Beal finished with 19 points, a very solid score. But Marco Belinelli finished with 24 points. The dark horse of the competition saved his best for last, and took home the trophy.
The Sprite Slam Dunk contest is what everyone was waiting for. This years contest finally had stars in the competition and many fans and players were excited to watch. It had 2 rounds, the freestyle round and the battle round. The Freestyle round consisted of the 3 players from each conference to perform any dunks for 90 seconds. Being an individual dunk or a team dunk that they have choreographed. Team East won the Freestyle Round 3-0. In the first battle round Terrence Ross defeated Damian Lillard 2-1. In the 2nd battle round Paul George defeated Harrison Barnes 3-0. In the last battle round John Wall defeated Ben McLemore 3-0. Team east swept the West in the battle round 3-0 John Wall won slam dunker of the night.