The 2014 NBA Celebrity All-Star Game should be another exciting exhibition featuring several celebrities and even former and current professionals taking to the hardwood to strut their basketball skills.
However, there are several notable players who are bound to be more entertaining than others. Whether they're new to the game, have exceptional trash-talking skills or are flat-out studs on the court, a variety of factors play into the celebrities likeliest to dazzle.
Here is a closer look at the players that should excite crowds and television viewers the most when the game takes place on Friday.
The two-time MVP of this game happens to be a funny standup comedian with a perpetually rising film career, so all of his antics are going to crack up fans of his, of which there are many.
Hart hasn't necessarily been the most valuable member of his team over the past two years, and he only scored five points last time around. Others such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (11 points, seven rebounds and five assists) had superior all-around games, but didn't take home the prestigious individual hardware.
Duncan played forward at Harvard in college, so we know he's good. There's something endearing about Hart's personality and the fact that he's only 5'2"—not typical of a basketball standout.
In a recent interview promoting his upcoming movie About Last Night, Hart made light of how prominent of a part he's become in the game, per Adam Graham of the Detroit News (via the Kitsap Sun):
NBA All-Star Weekend is slowly becoming Kevin Hart Weekend. I love basketball, man. I’m going for my third MVP this year. If I win this MVP it would be huge, it would be colossal. Technically, I’ve shown that I could have played in the NBA if I didn’t choose comedy.
Unless Hart scores in double figures in a winning effort, it would be nice to see someone else win the MVP. In any event, it will still be fun to watch the diminutive comedian roam around the arena.
Elena Delle Donne
The Chicago Sky's reigning WNBA Rookie of the Year and No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 draft has lived up to the hype in her young career, and will be able to showcase her skills amid a competition predominantly occupied by men.
At 6'5", Delle Donne has great height as a guard-forward hybrid and shot three pointers at a blistering 43.8 percent clip this past season.
Grantland chief and Celebrity All-Star Game coach Bill Simmons traded for Delle Donne—and wisely so—which the 24-year-old scorer was thankful for:
The former University of Delaware star has the size to give her celebrity counterparts problems and lethal shooting range, and she should have plenty of open looks from beyond the arc with a talented supporting cast.
She cited Hart as the first person that came to mind in her supporting cast, but he should have little to do with Delle Donne's likely success in this contest.
Michael B. Jordan
Can we just look at the man's name and move on? No? Jordan isn't named after the Chicago Bulls legend, but the 27-year-old actor is ascending to stardom with his own brand of charisma and ability to perform.
Even though Jordan is coming off an awkward turn in the awkwardly reviews-thrashed comedy That Awkward Moment, he can be forgiven for his extraordinary performance in Fruitvale Station. It was a surprise to a number of critics that Jordan didn't receive an Academy Award nomination.
Now Jordan will take his talents to New Orleans, where Grantland's Zach Lowe is already designing plays for him, based on his Friday Night Lights TV show days:
As the quarterback of the show's football team, Jordan was coached by Eric Taylor (played by Kyle Chandler), which is the genesis for this Lowe-designed scheme.
With a last name like Jordan and a first name Michael, there are certainly standards for Michael B. Jordan to live up to—even in an exhibition. It seemed as though Jordan could pull off acting like a QB, so it will be interesting to see what type of game he brings to the floor.