Team LeBron dominates NBA All-Star Game

Raymond Vasquez, Staff Writer

Charlotte Westburg

With a score of 170 to 150, Team LeBron won the 2021 National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game over Team Durant. This game was played at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, home of the Atlanta Hawks. For team captain LeBron James, this was a continuation of a four-year winning streak in the All-Star game. The result was a usual score in an otherwise unusual All-Star matchup.

The All-Star weekend typically starts with the Hall of Fame announcements, followed by the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the Rookies vs. Second Year Players Game on Friday evening. On Saturday, basketball fans are treated to three special events: the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Three-Point Contest, and the AT&T Slam Dunk Challenge. Finally, the hype-packed weekend is capped off with the climax of the All-Star Game, as the best of the best of the National Basketball League play against each other. However, this year, the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Challenge were all scheduled on Sunday, the same day as the All-Star Game.

“It’s way better to have the skills, three point, and dunk contest on Saturday and the game on Sunday,” said second-year and Westmont basketball shooting guard Noah Fernando.

“It was more fun to watch it all in one day,” said fourth-year and Westmont basketball  forward Ajay Singh. “Honestly, I like this format better.”

While there was much controversy as to whether the All-Star game should have been played during a pandemic, the players worked for a great cause. Each team chose a charity beforehand to donate money to. Team LeBron choose the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Team Durant choose the United Negro College Fund. These funds were chosen due to the fact that the two organizations support Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU). Each organization was guaranteed $500,000 in scholarship funds with an additional $750,000 at stake during the game.

The game rules were the same as last year’s All-Star Game. The winning team of the first three quarters would get $150,000 for their respective organization. The first team to hit the target score and win the All-Star Game would receive the final $300,000. 

Additionally, as a tribute to the late, great Kobe Bryant, the Final Target Score was calculated by taking into account the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points — the 24 representing Kobe Bryant’s jersey number. The first team to reach or surpass the Final Target Score would win the All-Star Game. With another $1.25 million coming from the skills competitions, the league generated $3 million in donations for HBCUs, making them the real winners at the end of the night.

After Team LeBron won the night, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was awarded the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Antetokounmpo’s shooting performance was an All-Star record for the most shots attempted without a miss, going 16-for-16, scoring 35 points overall.

When asked about his favorite part of the night, Fernando said that it was “watching my friend that I grew up with be in the Dunk Contest.” This friend was Indiana Pacers shooting guard Cassius Stanley.

For Singh, it was “just watching the game and seeing the best players in the NBA compete.”

While unusual in its timing and lack of fans, the NBA All-Star Game was enjoyed by millions. Seeing the best players of the sport compete is a special moment for any fan and player, and we can all hope the next All-Star game to happen in a better time.

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