Although All-Star Saturday night did not compare to last years, the night definitely did not disappoint. The night was filled with surprises, laughs, and overall fun as the NBA reminded everyone why it is the best league in sports.
1. Kristaps Porzingis won the skills challenge
Although the Taco Bell Skills Challenge featured many notable guards including John Wall and Isaiah Thomas, it was the big men who remained dominant. For the second year in a row (Karl Anthony-Towns won last year), the big men have proved that they have the versatility and skill to compete with the speed and agility of guards. The final round featured a matchup between Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Kristaps Porzingis, two electric centers in the league. Jokic has had a phenomenal year this season, being the next superstar for the Nuggets. He has a plus/minus of 8.3, which is the third-highest in league behind James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Porzingis proves in every single game that he is the one the carry the Knicks forward with his impressive ability to score and get to the rim. But it was Porzingis who came out on top and further ensured everyone that big men are the ones to beat when he said, “This one’s for the bigs”, after winning the challenge.
2. Eric Gordon wins three-point contest
It was more surprising to see Klay Thompson to get one of the lowest scores than to see Eric Gordon win the challenge. Going into the contest, it was predicted that Eric Gordon would be a sleeper, the one who would silently get the trophy. The potential sixth man of the year has had a phenomenal season since he was traded to the Houston Rockets. This trophy only adds to the highlights.
3. TNT raises money for the Sager Foundation in the most fashionable way
This was perhaps the most admirable moment of the night. It was that one moment that left everyone thinking, “This is why I love the NBA”. Following the three-point contest, Ernie Johnson started a shoot-out to raise $500,000 for the foundation. DJ Khaled, Michael B. Jordan, Reggie Miller, and James Harden were among those who participated. Stephen Curry even attempted half-court shots, though he did not make any. But that did not matter. The memory of Craig Sager and his legacy were the things that mattered the most.
4. Glenn Robinson III wins the Slam Dunk Contest
This year’s dunk contest was uneventful, to say the least. Not only were there not as much creativity and energy as there was last year, but Aaron Gordon barely made a dunk. It looked as if he would take it all when showed off his drone as part of his routine, but the many failed attempts diminished the hype. Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III won the competition with his electric final dunk in which he jumped over three people.