NBA All-Star Weekend began in full earnest Friday morning with the U.S. and World rosters taking the court at the Verizon Up Arena inside the Los Angeles Convention center for their respective practice sessions ahead of the evening’s Rising Stars Challenge.
Los Angeles Lakers teammates Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma each drew plenty of applause from the fans who purchased tickets to see some of the NBA’s marquee, young talent prepare for the annual showcase.
In addition to walking through the offense, Ingram and Kuzma also went head-to-head against Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, to determine which teammates knew each other best.
The U.S. Rising Stars then concluded the practice session with a free-for-all halfcourt shooting competition. From there, it was time for media availability, which meant questions for Ingram, Kuzma and others that pertained to the Rising Stars Challenge and an array of topics.
Both players spoke positively of teammate Lonzo Ball as a rapper, and Kuzma named Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid as the player he was looking to throw down a slam dunk on. Meanwhile, Ingram dished on which teammate is the worst-dressed.
And despite the Rising Stars Challenge marking a third game in as many nights for Ingram and Kuzma, they both expressed a desire to shoot for the MVP Award. Kuzma said he went so far as to tell Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell that he needed to defer to him since the game is being played at Staples Center.
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