While Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game is the main event, it’s easy to argue that All-Star Saturday Night is the most entertaining aspect of annual fesitivites.
The night begins at 5 p.m. PT on TNT, with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, followed by the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest, and the night is then capped off with the AT&T Dunk Contest. Participants and details for each event are included below.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Participants: Mike Conley (Grizzlies), Luka Doncic (Mavericks), De’Aaron Fox (Kings), Nikola Jokic (Nuggets), Kyle Kuzma (Lakers), Jayson Tatum (Celtics), Nikola Vucevic (Magic), Trae Young (Hawks)
Once again, the skills competition will feature four big men in Jokic, Vucevic, Kuzma and Doncic, while having four typical guards in Fox, Young, Tatum and Conley.
After the big men took home two straight titles, it was the guards who reclaimed it in 2018 and Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie won the competition over Chicago Bulls big man Lauri Markannen in the finals.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kuzma is in the Skills Challenge, coming off of his Rising Stars MVP win on Friday night, putting up 35 points, the most ever by a Laker in that game.
Kuzma is the first Lakers player to participate in the Skills contest since Jordan Clarkson was eliminated in the first round in 2016.
While this is an extremely talented and crowded field, many consider Fox to be the favorite, as his game is predicated on speed.
Mtn Dew 3-Point Contest:
Participants: Devin Booker (Suns), Seth Curry (Trail Blazers), Stephen Curry (Warriors), Danny Green (Raptors), Joe Harris (Nets), Buddy Hield (Kings), Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers), Khris Middleton (Bucks), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Kemba Walker (Hornets)
The 3-point contest has slowly overtaken the Dunk Contest as the weekend’s most exciting individual event, and the crowded field of shooters shows why.
Booker won the crown in 2018 with a staggering 28 points in the final round, and will look to become the first back-to-back winner since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008. However, Booker faces an insanely tough field of shooters.
Harris, both the Curry brothers and Hield are all top-10 in three-point percentage. Additionally, Steph, Hield, Walker and Lillard are all top-10 in three-point makes. This is probably one of the most crowded fields ever.
Steph is obviously the favorite, as not only is he the greatest shooter in NBA history, he’s also from Charlotte, making him the hometown favorite as well.
If there could be a dark horse in such a crowded field, look to Green, who is in the top-15 for almost every shooting statistic.
AT&T Slam Dunk Contest:
Participants: Miles Bridges (Hornets), John Collins (Hawks), Hamidou Diallo (Thunder), Dennis Smith Jr. (Knicks)
This is certainly not the most star-studded group to ever do the Dunk Contest, but highlights and in-game performances suggest that this could be entertaining nonetheless.
Bridges will likely be the fan-favorite as he plays for hometown Hornets, but the overall favorite for the contest is recently traded Smith.
Big men don’t usually fare too well in this competition, with Dwight Howard being the obvious exception, but watch for Collins as a dark horse. He is extremely athletic for someone his size and could give a great show.
Smith is the only player in this field who has been here before, as he made it to the second round of last year’s contest, ultimately losing while Utah Jazz guard Donavan Mitchell took the win.
NBA All-Star Saturday Night Details
5:00 P.M. PT, Feb. 16, 2019
Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina