NBA All Star Weekend Takeaways

Marco Garibaldi, Reporter And Editor

From February 18 to 20 All Star Weekend for the NBA was held. This three-day event was held in Cleveland, Ohio. The schedules for All Star Weekend were as follows:

Friday, February 18

  • All star Celebrity game (7 pm ET)
  • Rising Stars game (9 pm ET)

Saturday, February 19

  • NBA All star practice (11 am ET)
  • NBA x HBCU presented by AT&T (Morgan State vs. Howard University) (2 pm ET)
  • State Farm All Star Saturday Night (Includes Skills Challenge, three-point contest and Dunk contest) (8 pm)

Sunday, February 20

  • NBA Legends Awards (12 pm ET)
  • NBA G League Next Gem Game (G League Ignite vs. Cleveland Charge) (2 pm ET
  • 71st All Star Game (8 pm ET)

After a fun weekend of basketball there were winners from each event. Team Walton won the Celebrity game, Rick Barry’s team won the Rising Stars game, Evan Mobly won the Skills Challenge for the Cavs, Karl Anthony Towns won the three-point contest, Obi Toppin won the Dunk Contest and Team Lebron won the All star game. This was a great weekend for basketball fans around the world. 

Here are ten takeaways from All Star weekend:

1. The three-point contest was the best event of the three contests:

With the NBA Saturday Night consisting of the skills challenge, three-point contest and dunk contest, there were bound to be some great moments. Even though all three events were below par this year, the three-point contest was still the best event. With the addition of the “Dew Balls,” participants now have two chances to score three points in one shot. Each round there were two “Dew Balls” located on the court, one in between the right wing and the top of the key and the other being between the left wing and the top of the key. The catch is the “Dew Balls” are located six feet beyond the traditional three-point line. That is a whopping 28 feet from the basket. And yes, the three-point contest was sponsored by Mountain Dew, hence the name “Dew Balls.” This new part of the contest has been implemented for a few years now, and it’s a great addition. Karl Anthony Towns ended up winning the three-point contest and, even though there were some odd choices for participants in this challenge, it was fun to watch players get hot and get a score of just under thirty.

2. Steph Curry is still the best in the world:

Steph Curry played on Team Lebron and had one of the best All Star Game performances I’ve ever seen. Steph finished the game with 50 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals. To add to that Steph drained 16 three-pointers and shot 16-27 from distance (59%) as well as going 17-30 from the field (56%). Interestingly enough, Steph is the second player in NBA history to record 50 points in an All Star game and is the third oldest player in NBA history to win an All Star MVP. He is also the first player to ever hit 10 or more threes in one All Star Game. Yes, there was little to no defense, but regardless it was still impressive and fun to watch. This is exactly what Steph needed to get back in the action to finish the regular season. Regardless of all the cool statistics, this solidifies Steph’s title as the best three-point shooter in NBA history. 

3. The dunk contest isn’t great anymore:

After last year’s disappointing dunk contest, fans were hoping for a redemption dunk contest this year. Sadly, the complete opposite happened. This very well might have been the worst dunk contest of all time. There was no creativity and the dunks were very generic; they had no fun element to them. Personally, I was excited to see Juan Toscano Anderson participate because I’m a big Warriors fan. Although he had no horrendous dunks, the overall contest was boring, and, to be honest, this probably isn’t going to change. None of the participants in the dunk contest have any charisma and this hurts them. Look at guys like in past contests like Dwight Howard and Erin Gordon; both have some charismatic elements to their personality, and it showed in their dunk contest performances. Not only were their dunks creative, but they had some sort of meaning to them. Obi Toppin’s trophy means nothing and is a reminder that he won the worst dunk contest of all time.

4. All Star weekend is more publicity than competition, and that’s okay:

All star weekend has never been known for its fierce competition. Rather it’s a fun and friendly environment. Although it would be fun to see the All Star Game be more competitive and be an all out battle between the league’s best and most popular players, that’s not the point of the weekend. The All Star Game and it’s other events are more of a showcase for the fans to see the league’s most skilled players compete in fun challenges and contests. 

5. There needs to be more events:

For too long the NBA has had the same All Star Weekend schedule and it’s time for a change. This year the NBA tried to change the skills challenge and make it team oriented, but it didn’t work very well. The original individual bracket style for the skills challenge worked fine and was fun and easy to understand. Maybe the NBA should make a knockout tournament, or do a horse tournament. Something I’ve been waiting for them to implement is a one vs. one tournament. One player from every team in the NBA goes into a bracket placed randomly and plays each other in a tournament style. Although these events would take longer, they probably would be more interesting and add a new element to All Star Weekend.

6. The Skills challenge should go back to how it was last year:

This year the Skills Challenge was changed to a team event rather than an individual tournament style. This didn’t work. It felt slow and simply isn’t necessary to have. The Saturday night events should be individual, whereas the events on Sunday are team based, like the All Star Game. The NBA had made good tweaks in the last few seasons to the league as a whole, like adding in the play-in tournament for the 8-10 seeds in both the Eastern and Western Conference, as well as the addition of one coach’s challenge per game. Both are great additions and have made the league more competitive. Hopefully the skills challenge goes back to how it was last year.

7. Each contest should have a majority of its participants be skilled at the event they are playing in:

Although this isnt always a problem, it was apparent this year. Like why was Zach LaVine in the three-point contest? It showed he wasn’t supposed to be in it when he only scored 14 points in the first round. This was his third year in a row being eliminated in the first round of the three-point contest. And why was Karl Anthony Towns in the 3-point contest? Sure he won, but he’s a big man in a three-point contest, and he seemed out of place. I’m sure that the NBA asked guys like Steph Curry to be in the three-point contest and Aaron Gordon to be in the dunk contest, but they declined the invitation. Sadly, this is probably true, but it always baffles me when they announce the participants in the event, and it’s someone who barely shoots above 30 percent from distance or doesn’t even have a 40-inch vertical jump.


What a surprise. Karl Anthony Towns won the three-point contest and by a landslide. In the final round he got in rhythm and scored 29 points to secure him the win. In his final round performance, KAT knocked down four of five threes on his money ball rack, which was located at the top of the key. Right after his moneyball rack he scored one of the two “Dew Balls” to add three points to his score. This definitely secures KAT as a top three shooting big man in the league. 

9. Where was Chris Paul?:

Days before All Star Weekend, Chris Paul was diagnosed with a broken thumb, a right thumb avulsion fracture to be specific. At the time of the reports it was said he would be out for six to eight weeks. This didn’t stop the 12-time all star from competing in the All Star Game. Although he didn’t compete in any other events, he was present and did in fact play in the All Star Game on Sunday night. Chris Paul took the court in the first quarter and had a plus/minus rating of -2, only playing two minutes. Why play a meaningless game with that injury, though?

10. The NBA has never been more skilled than it is right now:

A few days ago the NBA released the NBA 75 team. This list features the 75 greatest players in NBA history. Players names were revealed in increments of 25 names being released over the course of three days. Right now, 11 players that were listed in the top 75 are still playing. Those on the list and still playing are: Giannis Antetkounmpo, Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Considering this list is for the most part accurate, 14 percent of the players on the list are in the league right now. Along with other small additions to the league rules like the addition of one coach’s challenge for every game and the play-in tournaments, the league has never been more competitive. Almost half of the 24 players that played in the All Star Game were in the top 75 team list. This definitely impacted the outcome of the game considering both teams scored above 160 points. We have never had this many great players playing for different teams and competing against one another. This is going to be a great second half of the season and an even better postseason.