6 Things We Loved About The 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend
Highlights from three days of basketball in star-studded Los Angeles
The NBA’s 2018 All-Star Weekend just wrapped up, and we’re still on a bit of a high from the festivities. This year’s event was held in Los Angeles, which meant all the stars — basketball and otherwise — came out to play.
Read on to check out some of our fave moments of the weekend:
1. Three-point 🔥🔥🔥
It started out in the Rising Stars Challenge, where Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings won MVP after hitting seven threes of Team World’s 23 threes (a Rising Stars game record). He led his team to a 155–124 victory over Team USA.
The weekend’s hot shooting from young stars continued during the actual Three-Point Contest during All-Star Saturday Night. Third-year Suns player Devin Booker exploded in the final round. Devin hit a record 28 points, edging out Klay Thompson (who hit a respectable 25 points, to no avail) to take home the three-point crown.
2. A decent (if controversial) dunk contest
The Rising Stars Challenge also gave us a preview for the contest, as towards the end of the game the rookies and sophomores did what rookies and sophomores tend to do:
Let’s be real — it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get a dunk contest as unbelievable as Aaron Gordon vs. Zach LaVine in 2016. But this year’s contest was surprisingly enjoyable, with a Black Panther cameo and throwbacks to dunk legends.
The contest also made for some fun debate fodder afterwards. Some thought Dennis Smith, Jr. had the best dunk and deserved to make it to the finals. Some thought Larry Nance, Jr. should have gotten the title for that blink-and-you’ll-miss-it double-tap dunk. Still others thought that Donovan Mitchell was the rightful winner. Whatever side you fall on, though, you can’t deny that the night was entertaining.
3. Celebrity-spotting in the City of Stars
The All-Star Weekend always includes a celebrity game, featuring former players, WNBA players, singers, and actors. Headliners for this year were Justin Bieber, Common, and Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things fame.
But aside from the game, this year’s Celebrity Row was full of famous personalities — after all, what better place to look for stars than in Hollywood?
Always-stylish power couple Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union were present, along with Queen Bey and Blue Ivy on the cutest girls’ night out. Rappers like Chance, Ludacris, the boys from Migos, Diddy, and Cardi B were also all sitting courtside, with comedians like Chris Rock and Kevin Hart (who introduced the players for the All-Star Game). Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan also showed up, with Chadwick even giving Victor Oladipo an assist during the dunk contest.
4. Tons of #NBAStyle and #NBAKicks
NBA players enjoy dressing up for the tunnel walk before games, so it’s no surprise that they put on their best outfits for All-Star Weekend. But maybe the best style of the weekend came from all the new shoe colorways from Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour that dropped just for the event. Check out some of our faves:
Some of them are player-exclusive versions, but here’s hoping we can get our hands on the others soon.
5. They fixed the All-Star Game!
Last year’s incredibly lackluster All-Star Game felt like a crisis point for the league. Sure, the highlight dunks were fun, but when people start tuning out of what’s supposed to be the main event of the weekend, you’ve got a problem.
This year’s new format — two top vote-getters become team captains and get to draft their teams — was supposed to make the ASG more competitive. And…it worked.
There weren’t as many of the flashy passes and dunks of years past, but we saw actual plays and actual defense, which made for a more enjoyable game. Seeing the best NBA athletes team up — that Russ-to-LeBron reverse alleyoop was a dream come true — in a game that was close right up to the final buzzer was so, so fun.
The best part? After the success of the new format, Adam Silver’s said that they’re probably going to televise the 2019 All-Star Game draft, so we’re sure next year’s will be even better.
6. Community and camaraderie
Personally, one of the things I love most about the NBA is that it’s an entire community, and All-Star Weekend always feels like a celebration of that. From the players to the coaching staff, trainers, team and league employees to the journalists, brand and media partners to the fans, it felt like everyone participated in the festivities, whether they were in Los Angeles or watching on a screen from thousands of miles away.
The All-Star Game was the culmination of this: despite the increased level of competition, the players were kicking back and having fun amidst thousands of eyes and all the spotlights at Staples Center. Even #NBATwitter came together to provide running commentary on everything.
The NBA didn’t shy away from social issues, either. NBACares, the league’s social outreach program, held days of service throughout the weekend, with stars helping out in schools, hospitals, food banks, and donation drives.
Another highlight: after being criticized and told to “shut up and dribble” for speaking out on the current U.S. political situation, LeBron James responded with his shoes:
And LeBron later followed up on his statement with the All-Star Game MVP trophy. Moments like these are why we love the NBA.
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Let us know what you’re looking forward to for the rest of the NBA season in the comments section below!