All-Star Saturday is infamous for its disappointing results. For those who don’t know, the events of All-Star Saturday include the NBA Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Contest, and the Slam Dunk Contest. Aside from a few moments here and there, All-Star Saturday was often considered a waste of time and money for the entire 2010s. That isn’t an exaggeration either. But this year, things were VERY different.
Before the Skills Challenge had started, it seemed like it was a forgone conclusion that either Jayson Tatum, Patrick Beverly, or Spencer Dinwiddie was going to win and were the top three favorites to win. And if not them, who have all won the challenge already, then certainly it would be Shai Gilgous-Alexander or Khris Middleton. Or even highly skilled Pascal Siakem, who has all the skills any NBA guard has despite being a power forward. No one expected Domantas Sabonis or Bam Adebayo, the only two centers in the Skills Challenge, to be the final two. Well the top three favorites, along with SGA were out by the first round. Then the next two favorites, Siakem and Middleton, were out next round. And after a thrilling minute, the first time All-Star representing Miami won the Skills Challenge despite being labeled as the least likely to win before the event happened.
This was way more straightforward but much more exciting than we could have thought. Sadly, despite having a great 23 points, Zach Lavine didn’t advance to the second round. But neither did Joe Harris or Trae Young, who were considerably disappointing because of their reputations for being some of the top shooters in the NBA. Davis Bertans moved onto the second round with 26 points, Devin Booker with 27, and Buddy Hield with 27 of his own. Bertans would only have 22 points at the end of his second round performance and was out once Booker got a 26. But Buddy Hield got the better of Booker when he outscored Booker by one point on his last shot.
Although it was easily the most controversial Dunk Contest since 1988 when Chicago last hosted All-Star weekend ironically, the event was wildly entertaining to say the least. Dwight Howard’s Kobe tribute dunk was likely his best dunk ever, and Pat Connaughton put up an impressive performance himself, but we all know what the real story was. Aaron Gordan (who signed my shoes by the way) and Derrick Jones Jr. were beyond amazing, with Gordan having arguably two of the best dunks in NBA history. He did a 360 dunk after hitting the side of the backboard and dunked over Tacko Fall, who is 7’6”! But as we all know, somehow the Tacko Fall dunk only got 47/50 points, which made Derrick Jones Jr. come out on top. And yes, Aaron got robbed.
What was your favorite event of All-Star Saturday? Send me a message and let me know.
By Hugo Vazquez, Senior, Brooks College Prep.