Posted by Evan Owen
This coming weekend marks the 60th playing of the NBA all-star game in Los Angeles - a star studded weekend with two games and many other head-to-head events such as slam dunk and three point contests. The highlight of the weekend is sure to be the actual all-star game itself, which takes place on Sunday, but other events are expected to draw some attention as well.
For readers who aren't NBA savvy, all-star weekend is just what it sounds like: a gathering of the league's best players for a trick and pony show of gargantuan men wielding basketballs. There are two games and four main contests. The first game is played on Friday and is a Rookies vs. Sophomore game where teams of rookies and second-year players square off to showcase the league's up and coming stars.
The second game is played on Sunday and is the regular all-star game: a battle between the best of the Eastern and Western conferences. The starting rosters for each side are relatively unsurprising.
The East's starters include Lebron James and Dwyane Wade from the Miami Heat, Derrick Rose from Chicago, Dwight Howard from Orlando and Amar'e Stoudemire from New York.
The West's starters are Kobe Bryant from L.A. (of course), Kevin Durant from Oklahoma, Carmelo Anthony from Denver (who might be playing in New York soon, fingers crossed), Chris Paul from New Orleans and Kevin Love from Minnesota who replaces Houston's Yao Ming who has been out for most of the season.
Each team also has a deep bench with powerful players from all over the country, but there are too many to list and the focus of the game will mostly be on the starters.
As for predicting the outcome of the game, I would have to side with the East this year. All of the East's starters have been having spectacular seasons, even with James and Stoudemire adjusting to new teams. The players' respective teams (including the bench players) are all from the top six teams in the East, meaning that the players are doing well both individually and with their teams.
The West's players are having decent seasons, but not nearly as good as their Eastern counterparts. Bryant and the reigning league champs have been sliding lately and many of the players' teams are in the bottom half of the conference and, in Kevin Love's case, even in last place. All signs point toward the East winning again this year.
On Saturday, there are four main contests, which include: A shooting contest, a ball skills contest, a three-point shooting contest and, arguably the most famous and intriguing, a dunk contest. I usually only watch the latter two events, the three-point and dunk contest. This year, both of these contests have a bit of buzz about them.
Regarding the three-point contest, last week Boston Celtic's player Ray Allen passed former Indiana Pacer's star, Reggie Miller, for the most three pointers made in a career at 2560. He will be entering this year's contest as the king of 3's, and there will be a lot of focus and pressure on him. As for the dunk contest, rookie superstar for the L.A. Clippers, Blake Griffin, will be participating in his first dunk contest and first all star game as a reserve. He has dazzled the league with spectacular dunks throughout the first half of the season, dunking over and making fools of high caliber players throughout the country. Griffin is surely a reason to watch the dunk contest and will very likely be the star this year and for many years to come.
All-star weekend marks the halfway point in the NBA season, and fans can look forward to the rest of the season just about as much as the weekend itself. After this weekend's culmination of stars and spectacle, teams start to buckle down and get serious for late season pushes to the playoffs. We all have an exciting weekend (and rest of the season for that matter) to look forward to.
Evan Owen is a first-year student from New York City who speaks English, Spanish, Hebrew and Mandarin, but enjoys writing about sports in English.