With a heavy, 12-game schedule and no football or baseball to pry away attention, the NBA was perfectly set up to dominate the sports world on Friday night.
With superstar performances littering those 12 box scores, commissioner David Stern rightfully laughed himself to sleep when the Chicago Bulls' 93-89 victory over the Utah Jazz closed a wildly successful six hours of hoops.
There were Stern favorites throughout the night.
The major markets were well-represented. Two teams from L.A., two more from New York, Chicago and Houston were all in action.
The superstars of Stern's league grasped the global audience with the requisite force of the night's numerous aerial assaults.
Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Chauncey Billups returned to the hardwood for a South Beach showdown with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. All-Stars James Harden and LaMarcus Aldridge tried to one-up each other in Houston's Toyota Center just eight days before the pair will team up inside the same arena.
Paul George reaffirmed his All-Star status in Indianapolis, while Stephen Curry and Marc Gasol proved their snub status in Memphis. Carmelo Anthony heated up a chilled Minneapolis night. Tony Parker set out to prove that he's fine without his battle-tested running mates.
However, deputy commissioner Adam Silver took comfort in seeing the stars of tomorrow seizing their opportunity.
From Greivis Vasquez' first career triple-double in Atlanta to the 20-10 nights for a pair of Charlotte Bobcats (Byron Mullens and Gerald Henderson) and the newest Orlando Magic center (Nikola Vucevic), the youngsters showed the league will remain in good hands as today's stars flicker over time.
With All-Star Weekend just days away, read on to find out who validated their selections and who the fans (and coaches) might have overlooked...