NBA All-star weekend - Preview
This Sunday will see the 61st edition of the NBA All Star game which is set to be held at Orlando’s brand new $480 million Amway Arena.
For those who don’t know, the NBA All-star game is a showcase match between the most popular and best players from both conferences’ in the league who then go head to head in a match as part of the All-star weekend.
One of the memorable past All-star games was when Orlando last hosted the weekend in 1992.
The game was marked by Magic Johnson coming out of retirement following his announcement of his infection with Aid’s and then going on to win MVP following a sensational performance.
The All-star game is known for its spectacular play and much higher score line than average NBA games mainly due to limited defensive play and players looking to put on a show for fans.
Over the years a significant rivalry has built up between the East and West conferences with the East currently having a 36-24 lead in victories over the West.
Both conferences squads are chosen in two separate parts. The first part decides who plays in the starting five.
This is decided via fans selecting their preferred player they wish to see play by entering a ballot on the NBA’s official website.
Once this is done each conference lineup is made up of the most popular player in each position in each conference.
The second stage is to decide who makes up the bench. The bench is chosen by NBA head coaches who vote players from their respective conference.
The coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players. The bench consists of two guards, two forwards, one center and two players regardless of position.
The eastern conference starting five is a stellar cast of Chicago Bull’s Derrick Rose at point, Miami Heat’s former all-star MVP’s Dwayne Wade at shooting guard.
Miami’s Lebron James and New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony fill the small forward and power forward positions respectively.
Finally, Orlando Magic’s Center Dwight Howard makes up the East’s starting five.
Howard also had the privilege of been the league’s leading vote getter with 1.6 million votes from fans to see him play at his home arena.
The eastern bench consists of Miami’s Chris Bosh, Chicago’s Luol Deng, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Boston’s Paul Pierce and Deron Williams from New Jersey.
Altogether Miami Heat have more players representing the franchise than any other team in the league, with Heat’s Dwayne Wade, Lebron James and Chris Bosh all set to feature.
The western conference-starting lineup includes four times All-star MVP Kobe Bryant, who received the second most votes from fans with just over 1.5 million selecting him to feature in his 14th consecutive all-star game.
The other starters for the west are L.A Clipper’s point guard Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Small forward Kevin Durant, Power Forward Blake Griffin and Laker’s Center Andrew Bynum.
The west is a largely Los Angeles affair with Bryant and Bynum featuring for the Lakers while Paul and Griffin appear for the Lakers neighbors the Clippers.
On the bench are Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Memphis’s Marc Gasol, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, Phoenix’s Steve Nash, Dallas’s Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Oklahoma’s Russell Westbrook.
Weekend of action
The All-star game is itself part of the wider All-Star weekend. The weekend runs from Friday to Sunday with the All-Star game been the final event.
Other events at the weekend include the Skills Challenge where the four players considered having the best skill set in the league compete in a number of tasks whilst being timed.
There is then the Rookie challenge, which is again a showcase match between the league’s best young players.
The famous slam-dunk contest is the penultimate event where again four players considered to be the league’s best dunkers go head to head.
The players in these events area chosen by the NBA’s commissioning body and a panel of coaches and analysts.
The weekend will most likely come and go quickly and fans will once again have to wait for the stars to descend on a new city with the next destination for the event being the Toyota Center in Houston.