It's been a long time since I can say that this franchise has been prominently involved on All-Star Saturday night. While other teams keep getting the same guys in, this franchise has been stuck re-living the glory of Tim Legler winning the 1996 three-point shootout. Tonight, that all changes, as JaVale McGee and John Wall will take part in the Slam Dunk Contest and the Skills Challenge. The festivities begin at 8:30 tonight on TNT.
Wall, of course, is coming off winning the MVP at the Rookie-Sophomore Game last night. He'll be competing against Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook. The Skills Challenge is pretty boring, but here's hoping that Wall wins it.
McGee, on the other hand, is going to put on a show tonight. We know this for sure. The bigger question is whether McGee's show will be positive or negative. I get the sense that he's either going to shock everyone or fail spectacularly, a la Chris Andersen in 2005. Frankly, I love that. Go hard or go home.
What can we expect from JaVale? Michael Lee fills in some details.
McGee has the ability to make up dunks on the spot -- such as the one where he bit the paper out of the net and slammed -- but he has been planning for this moment for some time, even working with his shoe company, Peak, to come up with special sneakers for all four of his dunks. He has a pair made for a Marvel comic book character, a mismatch pair and some other designs that he wasn't at liberty to share.
Chris Webber, his dunk contest coach, was impressed as well, saying he didn't think he could complete the dunks McGee had in his arsenal until he saw them. It'll be a tall order to top Blake Griffin, though. According to reports, Griffin plans on jumping over a car tonight.
No matter what happens, though, I'm just excited that our team is prominently involved in this thing. It's been a few down years, so I say let's enjoy tonight for what it is. At the very least, the whole world is watching two of our youngsters for once.
GO JOHN AND JAVALE!
(full list of events below the jump)
Haier Shooting Stars
Team Atlanta: Al Horford (Hawks), Coco Miller (WNBA's Atlanta Dream), Steve Smith (Legend)
Team Chicago: Taj Gibson (Bulls), Cathrine Kraayveld (WNBA's Chicago Sky), Steve Kerr (Legend)
Team Los Angeles: Pau Gasol (Lakers), Tina Thompson (WNBA's L.A. Sparks), Rick Fox (Legend)
Team Texas: Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Roneeka Hodges (WNBA's S.A. Silver Stars), Kenny Smith (Legend)
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
- Chris Paul
- John Wall
- Russell Westbrook
- Derrick Rose
- Stephen Curry
Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout
- Paul Pierce (defending champion)
- Ray Allen
- Kevin Durant
- Dorrel Wright
- James Jones
- Daniel Gibson
Sprite Slam Dunk
- Blake Griffin
- JaVale McGee
- Serge Ibaka
- DeMar DeRozan