The NBA was forced to cancel the 2021 NBA All-Star Weekend in Indiana because of the current pandemic situation. Even the NFL’s version of an All-Star game did not push through last season. Fans were already used to the idea of having no events this year, but the NBA said “Let’s do this”. The show went on, with Atlanta playing the role as backup.
What used to be called “All-Star Weekend’ during normal times became “All-Star Night” this year. All events were held in just one evening. There were big changes for the night; having less contestants for the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shootout, and Dunk Contest. No more concerts from big time celebrities. Will this be the new norm? It might be for the next few years, and time will tell.
These were the stars of the night.
The Skills Challenge would seem like an event suited for guards, so everyone expected Luka Doncic or Chris Paul to win easily. However, Sabonis (forward/center) for the Indiana Pacers won. And second place went to Nikola Vucevi another big man. Maybe we should not be surprised anymore since frontcourt players have been winning this competition in recent years.
Sabonis looked nervous before the event started and slightly lost control of the ball while dribbling during his warmup. But he was steady once action began, making passes through that vertical net and hitting three-pointers with ease.
Chris Paul, on the other hand, missed an open lay-up. That is all you need to know about his performance.
Second winner of the night goes to another son of a former NBA player. Everyone was expecting Curry to win the 3-Point Shootout. The only surprise here would be the point spread. He won by a single point. Additionally, no one expected Mike Conley to finish in second place. Curry needed to make his last attempt to win and hitting it in front of a full-capacity crowd would have been a perfect scenario.
The Warriors guard also played a big role in the All-Star Game. He scored 28 points, including two three-pointers from the All-Star logo and one from the half-court line.
Giannis won MVP and how he won it will be talked about for years to come. He never missed. Attempted 16 shots and made all of them including a trio of three-pointers. He added a steal and a block, which is a lot for a game where defense is not played. Kobe Bryant once challenged Giannis to get an MVP award. Now he has three: 2019 NBA MVP, 2020 NBA MVP, and 2021 All-Star MVP.
Simons blazed a trail by becoming the first Portland player to win a dunk contest. That is something Clyde Drexler could not do in five tries. Simons grabbed a ball, which was placed a foot or two higher than the rim, and dunked it. Everyone knew how high he could jump after that. His last dunk looked simple and fans would only understand what happened when he blew a kiss to the rim after he landed. Replays would show that he tried to kiss the rim.
LeBron James / Team LeBron
Team LeBron has won four All-Star Games in a row.
Four in a row. Enough said.