It’s not too often that you get a chance to see a current NBA superstar, a retired NBA legend and a WNBA phenom all working together on the same team. One such occasion is the NBA’s Shooting Stars competition, which takes annually during All-Star weekend.
While the league has slightly tinkered with the format since the inception of the event in 2004, it remains one of the more exciting competitions on All-Star Saturday night.
The NBA just released a complete list of participants for the 2014 edition of Shooting Stars all vying to become the most versatile group of shooters in the Big Easy.
Let’s take a look at who made the cut, highlight some of the contest’s best performances, make a prediction on the winner of this upcoming one and more.
Start Time: Saturday, Feb. 15, at 8:30 p.m. ET (First event of night)
TV: Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on TNT
Where: New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, La.
Live Stream: TNT Overtime
Mobile: NBA Game Time
This time-based competition involves the players from each squad shooting from six locations that steadily increase in difficulty. One player must sink a shot from a location before the team can move to the next station.
Shot one is a 10-foot bank shot from the right angle, shot two is a 15-foot bank shot from the left angle, shot three is a 25-foot three-pointer from straight on, shot four is from 18 feet away on the baseline, shot five is an NBA three-pointer from the left side and shot six is a half-court attempt.
There is a two-minute time limit for each round, with the top two teams advancing to the final to match up head-to-head. The team with the highest time from Round 1 goes first, and a winner will be crowned upon completion.
|Previous Winners by Year|
|Year (Team Name/Location)||Players||Time (Seconds)|
|2013 (Team Bosh)||Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Dominique Wilkins (NBA legend), Swin Cash (WNBA's Chicago Sky)||89.0|
|2012 (New York)||Allan Houston (New York legend), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Cappie Pondexter (New York Liberty)||37.3|
|2011 (Atlanta)||Steve Smith (Texas legend), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Coco Miller (Atlanta Dream)||70|
|2010 (Texas)||Kenny Smith (Texas legend), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars)||34.3|
|2009 (Detroit)||Bill Laimbeer (Detroit legend), Arron Afflalo (Detroit Pistons), Katie Smith (Detroit Shock)||58.4|
|2008 (San Antonio)||David Robinson (San Antonio legend), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars)||35.8|
|2007 (Detroit)||Bill Laimbeer (Detroit Pistons legend), Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock)||50.5|
|2006 (San Antonio)||Steve Kerr (San Antonio Spurs legend), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Kendra Wecker (San Antonio Silver Stars)||25.1|
|2005 (Phoenix)||Dan Majerle (Phoenix Suns legend), Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)||28|
|2004 (Los Angeles)||Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers legend), Derek Fisher (L.A. Lakers), Lisa Leslie (L.A. Sparks)||43.9|
Dirk Nowitzki lost a championship on the floor at AmericanAirlines Arena in 2006, but he earned his revenge, somewhat, four years later. He led a team that included Kenny Smith and Becky Hammon to a championship over Los Angeles in the Shooting Stars competition
Nowitzki joked about the 2006 NBA Finals loss after finishing the championship round in a lightning-fast time of 34.3 seconds, as per Fran Blinebury of NBA.com:
What happened in 2006? It's obviously a great, fun way to start off the weekend for me. I have a lot of people here, a lot of Germans who were following me and we brought a crowd to Dallas, so it was great.
While it probably wasn’t as satisfying as his Dallas Mavericks’ victory over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals, the Big German had to feel good about taking home the Shooting Stars title with one of the course’s best times on his home floor of his rival.
Team Phoenix didn’t have much competition in setting the then-course record back in 2005, as it was only the second iteration of the Shooting Stars competition.
Shawn Marion, Diana Taurasi and “Thunder” Dan Majerle teamed up to hit their six shots in 28 seconds flat, which still stands as the second-best time ever in this competition.
This trio beat second-place Denver by a whopping 16 seconds and gave the defending champions, Los Angeles, no chance at defending its title.
While neither of these three are known for their long-range prowess—Taurasi is the best of the bunch with a 36.8 percent three-point average for her career, while “The Matrix” has connected on just 33.2 percent of his treys and Majerle ended his career hitting 35.8 percent from downtown—they just couldn’t miss in this event.
Only this next team has ever performed better.
San Antonio, 2006
Steve Kerr is widely regarded as one of the best shooters in NBA history, so it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that it was his team that set the best time in Shooting Stars history.
The five-time NBA champion and 45.4 lifetime three-point shooter joined forces with San Antonio Spurs stud point guard Tony Parker and San Antonio Silver Stars forward Kendra Wecker to blitz through this shooting showcase in record time.
TP deserves plenty of credit for this success, even though he’s not exactly heralded for his range. The Frenchman drilled the half-court shot, easily the toughest portion of the event, on his first attempt and locked up the historic time.
This contest wasn’t even close, with Los Angeles finishing in second by a margin of over 15 seconds.
Stephen Curry's team looks to have a big advantage in this version of the Shooting Stars battle, as it features the best collective shooters from three-point land.
Curry is one of the NBA's preeminent sharpshooters, while his father Dell was the same back in his day. Becky Hammon is also proficient from downtown.
Team Hardaway should give them a run for their money, as they are also more than capable of dropping bombs from deep. Tim Hardaway Jr. is a solid shooter, and his father wasn’t a shabby marksman during his heyday. Don’t forget Elena Delle Donne and her deadeye sniping either.
Remember, the half-court shot is what makes or breaks most teams in this event, and everyone is on relatively equal footing in that department. It’s more luck than skill, so expect the team to drop that one down the fastest to win each round.
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