By Angelina Liang
Last week, the National Basketball Association (NBA) took a break from its regular season to meet in New Orleans for the annual NBA All-Star Weekend.
The event was originally scheduled to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina. However, after the state passed House Bill 2, legally taking protection away from the LGBTQ community, the NBA decided to speak out by changing the location of the 2017 game.
In an interview with ESPN, a league representative stated,“We have been guided […] by the long-standing core values of our league. These include diversity, inclusion, fairness and respect for others.”
The change did little to stop the festivities, on Friday night, the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome kicked off the weekend. The roster for Team East included actor Ansel Elgort and television personality Nick Cannon while Team West included musician Andy Grammer and satirist Hasan Minhaj.
Amidst rebounds and air-balls, the players found time to freeze the game for the Mannequin Challenge and to put in 14 year old Jarrius Robertson who suffers from a chronic liver disease who hit a jump shot.
The following day, the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night spotlighted popular players in three contests: Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest, and Verizon Slam Dunk contest.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge tested players’ agility, speed, and skill, resulting in a victory for New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis.
In the second event of the night, the NBA’s top shooters participated in the three-point contest. Ultimately, Eric Gordon, shooting guard for the Houston Rockets, won the event with 21 points in the overtime round.
To conclude the evening, players competed to win the Verizon Slam Dunk contest. After making a dunk while simultaneously clearing 6’9” teammate Paul George, his team mascot, and a dancer, Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers won the contest with perfect scores in two of the four rounds.
Finally, on Sunday night at 5 p.m., the 66th Annual All-Star Game began. The Eastern Conference was represented by starters Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James while the Western Conference was represented by starters Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kawhi Leonard.
After a record breaking night, the Western Conference won the game, 192-182. New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis was named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) after scoring 52 points, beating the previous record of 42.
Davis stated, “I wanted to get the MVP for this crowd, for this city, and I ended up doing it. […] This definitely means a lot to me.”
The players returned to their regular season yesterday, and continue to fight for the title of NBA champions.