Since 2004, the NBA has graced us with a the Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Weekend. For those unfamiliar, the event involves three players coming together to represent their conference in a skills competition.
So which conference will reign supreme in 2013?
Each conference is represented by two teams made up of three players. That includes one from the NBA, one from the WNBA and one retired participant.
In previous seasons, teams were constructed by city. New York won in 2012 with a team of Landry Fields (NBA), Cappie Pondexter (WNBA) and Allan Houston (retired).
The three players combine to shoot from different locations on the floor. Once the first individual makes his or her shot, you move on to the next player.
From there, the process continues and the shots increase in difficulty. Ultimately, the teams are tasked with making a half-court shot to end their round.
The winner is decided on a time-trial basis.
For those who believe that this competition will only include elite shooters, not so fast. San Antonio won in 2008 with a team of Becky Hammon, Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
Duncan and Robinson are interior players. That shows you how talented NBA players truly are.
On that note, San Antonio also leads all cities with three Shooting Stars titles all time. That includes 2010 when all of Texas was represented on one team.
With this being known, the battle for geographical NBA supremacy is set to begin. So who will be competing and which cities will be represented?
It's time to find out.
The first team for the Eastern Conference will be led by Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat.
Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
Thus far in 2012-13, captain Chris Bosh is averaging 17.5 points on 54.6 percent shooting from the floor. Bosh is shooting 27.3 percent from beyond the arc and 51.8 percent from mid-range.
In order to lead his team to victory, Bosh will need to connect better from long range.
Swin Cash, Chicago Sky
Swin Cash is a 10-year WNBA veteran. She averaged 10.6 points on 36.7 percent shooting from the floor in 2012. Cash also shot 28.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Cash will need to turn back the clock to win this one.
Dominique Wilkins, Retired
Dominique Wilkins is a Hall of Fame player who spent time with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic. He was a nine-time All-Star in that time and won the 1986 scoring title.
Wilkins shot 31.9 percent from beyond the arc for his career. Let's see how The Human Highlight Film reacts.
The second team for the Eastern Conference will be led by Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets.
Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets
Brook Lopez is the captain of his team. He's shooting 52.4 percent from the floor, 33.5 percent from mid-range and has never made an NBA three-point field goal.
Lopez may need to change that number to win this contest.
Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever
Tamika Catchings is an 11-year WNBA veteran. She averaged 17.4 points on 43.2 percent shooting from the floor and 37.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Catchings was the 2012 WNBA Finals MVP. She'll need to come up in the clutch for this one.
Muggsy Bogues, Retired
At 5'3", Muggsy Bogues spent time with four different NBA teams from 1987 to 2001. Bogues shot 45.8 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from beyond the arc during that time.
He'll need to step it up for a statistically weak shooting team in the Shooting Stars contest.
The first team for the Western Conference will be led by James Harden of the Houston Rockets.
James Harden, Houston Rockets
James Harden boasts career shooting percentages of 44.4 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. Harden is shooting 36.2 percent from mid-range in 2012-13.
Harden is also one of the better marksmen when on his game. The pressure will be on with a solid team around him.
Tina Thompson, Seattle Storm
Tina Thompson is a 15-year WNBA veteran. She has a career average of 15.2 points on 37.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Most recently, Thompson shot 42.7 percent from three-point range. Look for Thompson to step up in this competition.
Sam Cassell, Retired
Sam Cassell played for eight teams from 1993 to 2008. He shot 33.1 percent from beyond the arc for his career, but was known as a reliable clutch shooter.
Cassell is currently an assistant coach for the Washington Wizards and may be in the best game shape of any retired participant.
The second Western Conference team will be led by Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook is an explosive athlete with beautiful form on his jump shot. He's shooting 31.8 percent from beyond the arc during the 2012-13 NBA season.
Westbrook is undeniably skilled. When he's on his game, the shots fall with consistency. The question is, will he be able to find his rhythm?
Maya Moore, Minnesota Lynx
Maya Moore is a two-year WNBA veteran. She has posted a career average of 14.8 points on 38.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Moore is a WNBA Champion and the 2011 Rookie of the Year. Expect her to thrive under pressure in this competition.
Robert Horry, Retired
Robert Horry won seven NBA championships during his career. In that time, he developed a reputation as one of the most clutch shooters in NBA history.
Expect "Big Shot Rob" to step up and hit some big shots in this competition. Horry may be the best retired shooter in this competition.
Let the games begin.
As one could only expect, the Twitter reaction to this announcement came with comedy and excitement. Perhaps no player received as much flack as Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
You can thank the NBA on TNT crew for that.
Chris Martin Palmer @ChrisPalmerNBA
Barkley: "You think Russell Westbrook will take bad shots in the Shooting Stars competition?"2/8/2013, 12:19:07 AM
That's cold, Chuck.
Rather than attacking the players involved, Russ Bengston of Complex decided to attack the league's approach to the event. The disorganized style was certain to garner some form of criticism.
Bengston was the first to comment on it.
Russ Bengtson @russbengtson
So not only is Shooting Stars still a thing, now the teams aren't even assembled with regard to franchises? All-Star Weekend needs a reboot.2/8/2013, 12:28:15 AM
Bengston wasn't alone in his criticism.
Michael Lee @MrMichaelLee
#wizards assistant Sam Cassell on Team Harden in Shooting Stars competition?2/8/2013, 12:15:15 AM
No one understands.
In an under-handed dig, B/R's own Ethan Sherwood Strauss decided to take on the less popular route. Unfortunately, he wasn't wrong in his analysis.
Sad but true.
Ethan Strauss @SherwoodStrauss
Shooting Stars event is the most coverage the WNBA gets.2/8/2013, 12:15:03 AM
As for the Houston Rockets, they're just happy to have their hometown team involved at all.
Houston Rockets @HoustonRockets
All Star- @JHarden13 is in Sun. big game & Sat. Shooting Stars, @JLin7 in Sat. Skills Challenge & @ChandlerParsons in Fri. Rising Stars2/8/2013, 12:35:46 AM
When the Shooting Stars event rolls around, we will be looking for quality shooters. For that reason, one can only expect to Western Conference to win this crown.
Look for Russell Westbrook, Maya Moore and "Big Shot" Robert Horry to step up in that department.
Westbrook may be streaky, but he's also lights out when on his game. Moore, meanwhile, is as consistent as the WNBA has to offer from beyond the arc.
And if it comes down to hitting that final half-court shot as time expires, who's going to bet against Horry?
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