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2021 NBA All-Star Festivities Open Thread

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A one-day extravaganza!

70th NBA All-Star Game Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images

With the league trying to walk the tightrope of maximizing profits while maintaining the health of its players during the still ongoing global pandemic, this year’s NBA All-Star weekend has been shrunk from the normal Friday-Sunday schedule to a single jam-packed All-Star Sunday. Unfortunately, tonight’s main event won’t include Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons, as the Sixers stars were ruled out earlier today following a positive COVID-19 test from a barber they both went to in Philadelphia.

Yet, the show will go on. The festivities will kick off with the Skills Challenge, followed by the 3-Point Contest, then the All-Star Game itself, with the Dunk Contest taking place during halftime. Honestly, while we lost a couple nights of NBA entertainment this way, I’m looking forward to seeing how this format plays out.

Let’s run through some noteworthy details of the events this year. The 3-Point Contest will once again feature one rack comprised entirely of money balls worth two points apiece, plus two MTN Dew Zones six feet behind the arc worth three points each. The All-Star Game will bring back last year’s Elam Ending format, with the league honoring Kobe Bryant by using 24 as the target score. As a refresher, the fourth quarter will be untimed, and the team who first reaches the score of (leading team’s score after the third quarter + 24) will be the winner. The format eliminates the incentive for incessant fouling at the end of the game; the end of last year’s All-Star Game was as competitive as we’ve seen in years, which many people attributed to the Elam Ending.

We should be in store for an extremely fun evening of NBA entertainment. Here’s the schedule of events, with the list of participants:

Schedule (televised on TNT):

6:30pm - Skills Challenge
Robert Covington (Process Legend)
Luka Doncic (Guy who Ben Simmons completely shut down recently)
Chris Paul (Former Future Sixer)
Julius Randle (Player who Knicks fans irrationally said was better than peak Chris Bosh)
Domantas Sabonis (Not the best passer in his family)
Nikola Vucevic (Former Sixer, held back by Doug Collins)

Following Skills Challenge - 3-Point Contest
Mike Conley (Only-ever winner of the NBA’s H.O.R.S.E. contest)
Jaylen Brown (Not the best Jay on his team)
Stephen Curry (Seth’s brother)
Zach LaVine (Future Sixer)
Donovan Mitchell (Doesn’t understand the word rookie or how scoreboards work)
Jayson Tatum (Sadly better than Markelle Fultz; way to go, Bryan)

8:00pm - All-Star Game
Team LeBron vs. Team Durant (coached by Doc Rivers and Sixers staff)

Halftime - Dunk Contest
Anfernee Simons (Portland Trail Blazers, 24th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft)
Cassius Stanley (Indiana Pacers, 54th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft)
Obi Toppin (New York Knicks, 8th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft)