On top of the usual excitement and highlights that come with NBA All-Star Saturday Night, the festivities at Staples Center were particularly memorable for the events’ winners.
Beginning with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Brooklyn Nets guard and Los Angeles native Spencer Dinwiddie toppled Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, Denver’s Jamal Murray, then Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen to win the competition.
That Dinwiddie did so in front of his family and the city he’s from, made the accomplishment all the more memorable.
“It’s big for me to even be at All-Star Weekend considering the road that’s been in my career, very up and down,” he said.
“Then it all really feels and seems full circle because I got to come home and do it in front of my family.”
The JBL 3-point Contest saw Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, and Clippers forward Tobias Harris reach the final round. Houston Rockets sixth man and defending champion Eric Gordon managed just 12 points and was eliminated in the first round.
Although Thompson has the reputation as being one of the best shooters all-time, it was Booker who put on a show. He found his rhythm and rode it a 28-point performance in what marked the highest score in NBA history.
Booker took pride in making up for his subpar showing in the event as a rookie, and for giving Suns fans a reason to cheer in what’s been another trying season for the franchise.
Named as a replacement for injured Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell took full advantage of the opportunity. He earned perfect scores on two of his four dunks, paid homage to Darrell Griffith and Vince Carter, and edged Larry Nance Jr. for the trophy.
Among the celebrities to attend All-Star Saturday Night were actor Kevin Hart, comedian Chris Rock and actor Chadwick Boseman.
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