All-Star Saturday is dedicated to entertainment. The day’s three major competitions: the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shootout, and Dunk Contest, showcase the top NBA players’ skills. The versions this year did not disappoint.
Team Antetokounmpo (Alex and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday) faced off against Team Rooks (Jaden Ivey, Paolo Banchero, and Jabari Smith Jr.) and Team Jazz in the Skills Challenge (Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, and Walker Kessler). This year’s tournament consisted of three rounds: the Relay Round, the Passing Round, and the Shooting Round.
The Rooks got the festivities off to a strong start by winning the Relay Round. Team Jazz, the local team, prevailed in the final two rounds to win this year’s Skills Challenge.
The 3-Point shootout featuring Tyrese Haliburton, Tyler Herro, Buddy Hield, Kevin Huerter, Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Julius Randle, and Jayson Tatum followed.
Lillard, Haliburton, and Hield were the top three shooters in the preliminary round and proceeded to the final round. The championship was won by Dame Time after he made clutch shots in the last game.
Lillard nailed two Starry Shots worth three points apiece and four consecutive shots, including the Money Ball, to reach 26.
All the players in this year’s Dunk Contest ended up stealing the show with their spectacular dunks.
The outrageous dunks that Mac McClung had up his sleeve stunned everyone. He had a nearly flawless performance, missing consecutive 50s by only 0.2 points.
He began the game with a slam over two opponents, then tapped the ball on the board before completing a reverse jam.
He sealed the deal with a 540 dunk that left the audience speechless.
Should we say it? The Dunk Contest has returned!
This must be sent to McClung. The individual single-handedly saved the Dunk Contest, which was in jeopardy before All-Star Saturday.
In contrast to the other All-Star weekend festivities, nobody of note participated in this year’s slam dunk contest, much to everyone’s dismay. McClung was a member of the G League when he accepted the invitation to the event.
McClung, who is now a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, demonstrated that all it takes to save the show are insane, never-before-seen dunks.
He wore the Gate City jersey in his final dunk, which is also quite remarkable. While playing for his high school squad, he became a viral phenomenon for… dunking.
What he uttered
It was incredible that Lillard, a Weber State graduate in Utah, won the 3-Point Challenge in front of his family.
Lillard wore his college jersey in the championship game to represent his roots.
Did you witness this?
Steph Curry held the record for the highest single-round 3-Point Shootout score with 31 points in the first round of the 2021 competition.
He is no longer alone. In the first round of this year’s shootout, Haliburton matched his previous score of 31.
With that score, Haliburton not only tied Curry, but he also raised $300,000 for the NBA Foundation.