As a two-time Celebrity Game MVP, Kevin Hart is the headline attraction in this year's edition of the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game in New Orleans, La.
Hart is joined by a vast array of famous folks, such as a Victoria’s Secret model, the U.S. Secretary of Education and a Grey’s Anatomy's star.
If that does not tickle an NBA fan's fancy, nothing will.
Grantland founder Bill Simmons and former NBA star Jalen Rose will act as the coaches in what is set to be another hilarious game as the athletic, nonathletic and wealthy names of interest go at it to help kick off All-Star weekend.
Date: Friday, Feb. 14, 2014
Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, La.
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|2014 NBA Celebrity Game Participants|
|Kevin Hart||Two-Time Celeb Game MVP, Comedian/Actor|
|Erin Heatherton||Victoria’s Secret Model, Actress|
|Nick Cannon||"America's Got Talent" Host|
|Mike Greenberg||ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" Host|
|Mike Golic||ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" Host|
|Kristen Ledlow||NBA TV's "NBA Inside Stuff" co-host|
|Jesse Williams||“Grey’s Anatomy” Actor|
|Columbus Short||“Scandal” Actor|
|Michael B. Jordan||“That Awkward Moment” Actor|
|Arne Duncan||U.S. Secretary of Education|
|Bruce Bowen||ESPN NBA Analyst, Three-Time NBA Champion|
|Terrence Jenkins||"E! News" Anchor|
|Stan Verrett||ESPN Anchor|
|Skylar Diggins||Tulsa Shock WNBA Star|
|Elena Delle Donne||Chicago Sky WNBA Star|
|Bill Simmons||“NBA Countdown” Host, Grantland Founder|
|Jalen Rose||“NBA Countdown”, Retired 13-year NBA Veteran|
*An assistant coach will also be selected via Sprint's Assistant Coach For A Day Sweepstakes. Fans can win a trip to New Orleans and serve as an assistant for either the East or West team.
At the end of the day, this contest is about entertainment. Fans who want to see quality basketball can exit stage left and find their way to the big game featuring the NBA's best a few days later.
Hart is the personification of this rule. He scored just a combined 13 points in his last two appearances, but won MVP both times anyway thanks to his antics on and off the court.
The accolades appear to have gone to the 5'2" stand-up comedian's head, as he says they show he could have played in the NBA, 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.
Hart also recently told Jerry L. Barrow of The Urban Daily that he would retire if he won the big award again: “This year will be my last year. If I can get a third MVP I’m done. I think this year they’re going to throw a lot of people at me to stop me, that’s why I’m in the gym now.”
One person who does have a strong basketball acumen is U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was a standout in college at Harvard and has scored a combined 28 points in his last two performances at the game.
If someone is going to knock Hart off his MVP throne, a safe bet is with the 6'5" Duncan. The problem is the game itself, which is more of a popularity contest, which Duncan surely will not win.
Others with actual basketball experience who may have a shot at the big award are Bruce Bowen, Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne. Bowen is a three-time NBA champ known for his stingy defense, but offense against competition of this kind should not be hard to come by.
The other two are WNBA stars, with Diggins a member of the Tulsa Shock and Delle Donne a member of the Chicago Sky. Both are capable of huge performances, too.
The rest of the field does not fare well as far as actual experience in the sport goes, but Nick Cannon, Terrence Jenkins and Jesse Williams do have past performances under their belt.
Regardless of who takes home the top prize, the star-studded event once again has a slew of entertainers who will make the game a worthwhile time investment for hardcore and casual fans alike.