The National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend is a weekend festival held every February during the middle of the NBA regular season that consists of a variety of basketball events, exhibitions, and performances culminating in the NBA All-Star Game held on Sunday night. No regular season games are held during this period, which is also known as the All-Star break. It is right after the trade deadline.
The All-Star Game
The All-Star Game, held on Sunday, is the main event of the weekend. The game showcases a mix of the league's star players, who are drafted by the two players with the most votes. Each team consists of 12 players, making it 24 in total. It is the featured event of NBA All-Star Weekend. NBA All-Star Weekend is a three-day event which goes from Friday to Sunday. The All-Star Game was first played at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951.
The starting lineup for each squad is selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting, while the reserves are chosen by a vote among the head coaches from each squad's respective conference. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players. If a selected player is injured and cannot participate, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement. The vote leaders for each conferences are assigned as captains and can choose from a pool of players named as all-stars to form their teams. The newly formed teams will also play for a charity of choice to help the games remain competitive. On January 25, 2018, LeBron James and Stephen Curry became the first players to form their own teams according to the new selection format for the 2018 All-Star Game.
The 2017 game was held at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, home of the New Orleans Pelicans. The 2018 NBA All-Star Game was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The 2019 NBA All-Star Game was held at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the Charlotte Hornets. The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will be hosted in The United Center in Chicago, Illinois, home of the Chicago Bulls.
Events of All-Star Weekend
The NBA Jam Session, a "theme park of basketball", has been a part of the All-Star festivities since 1992, with fans able to take part in numerous interactive basketball related activities from Thursday through Monday. The NBA Jam Session is usually targeted to young fans.
- NBA All-Star Celebrity Game: First held in 2003, the game features retired NBA players, WNBA players, actors, musicians, and athletes from sports other than basketball.
- Rising Stars Challenge: From 1994 until 1999, the event was called the "Rookie Game," and composed entirely of first-year players. From 2000 through 2011, the game, renamed the "Rookie Challenge", featured a team of first-year players ('Rookies') against a team of second-year players ('Sophomores'). The 2012 game debuted a new name, the "Rising Stars Challenge", and a new format. While the game continued to feature first- and second-year players, the participants were assigned to teams in a "fantasy draft" by two honorary captains (Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal in 2012 and 2013, Grant Hill and Chris Webber in 2014). In 2015, the Rising Stars Challenge format was switched again to a USA vs the World format, which is the current format in use.
- G League Dream Factory Friday Night: First held in 2008, the events includes a slam dunk contest and a three-point shootout. These events were modeled after the NBA All-Star Saturday Night events.
- G League All-Star Game: First held in 2007, this game features the best players from the NBA G League. The first winner was the East by a score of 114-100. The G League All-Star game was not held in the same arena as all the other All-Star Saturday activities. Instead, it was held on NBA Jam Session's practice court.
- Slam Dunk Contest: This competition showcases the creativity and athletic ability of some of the league's best and youngest dunkers. The specific rules of the contest are decided each year, but the competition is always judged subjectively. After each dunk, or attempted dunk, competitors are awarded a mark out of 10 from five judges, giving a possible high score of 50. The usual rules of 'traveling' and double dribbling do not apply. The most recent winner is Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat.
- Three-Point Contest: The league's best three point shooters shoot five basketballs from five different spots around the three-point line. Each shot is worth one point except the last ball of each rack (informally called 'money balls'), which is worth two points. The highest score available in one round has been 34 points since 2014, when the format changed so that in addition to the last ball of every rack, one of the five racks would contain entirely money balls. In 2020, two Mountain Dew shots from further away, worth three points each, were added, bringing the maximum score to 40. The shooters have 70 seconds to shoot the basketballs. The most recent winner is Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings.
- Skills Challenge: Making its debut in 2003, the Skills Challenge pits selected players in a timed obstacle course of dribbling, shooting and passing. Agility, quickness and accuracy all come into play. The most recent winner is Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.
- Shooting Stars Competition: Held from 2004 to 2015
- Legends Classic: Held from 1984 to 1993, the Classic was a game featuring retired NBA players. As in the All-Star Game, the teams were designated East and West. The Legends game opened the Saturday program. The NBA canceled the Legends Classic after 1994 due to the players' frequent injuries from the game, perhaps due to the large range in fitness levels among younger and older alumni. The Rising Stars Challenge is its replacement.
- 2Ball Contest: Held 1998, 2000-2001
- H-O-R-S-E Competition: Held 2009-2010
- Hoop-it-up All Star Tournament: Held 2002-2003
- Old-Timers Game: Held in 1957 and 1964
- NBA All-Star Stay In School Jam: 1991-93
- Stay In School Celebration - 1994-95
- Youth Celebration
- Team-Up Celebration - 1997-98, 2000-01
- Read To Achieve - 2002-04