As the first major event to kick off All-Star weekend, the 2018 NBA Celebrity All-Star Game is both highly anticipated and sets expectations for the rest of the events.
This year, celebrity-game legend Kevin Hart steps aside and the game itself takes up a Celebrity Lakers vs. Celebrity Clippers format, featuring some of the biggest names in Hollywood and beyond.
Like the All-Star Game, the celebrity showdown features a few new wrinkles in terms of format and rules, making for a must-see event.
The Celebrity All-Star Game tips off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN on Friday, with the important details listed below.
Caleb McLaughlin, Stranger Things actor
Jerry Ferrara, Entourage actor
Rachel DeMita, NBA2KTV host
Nick Cannon, actor/rapper/comedian
Drew Scott, Property Brothers co-host
Kris Wu, actor/singer
Sterling Brim, Ridiculousness co-host
Terence Crawford, pro boxer
Tracy McGrady, Naismith Hall of Famer
Nate Robinson, 11-year NBA veteran
Candace Parker, two-time WNBA MVP and 2016 WNBA champion
Marc Lasry, Bucks co-owner
Miles Brown, Black-ish actor
Brandon Armstrong, social media star
Dascha Polanco, Orange Is the New Black actress
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish actor
Andre De Grasse, Olympic sprinter
Jamie Foxx, actor/singer/comedian
Bubba Watson, pro golfer/two-time Masters champion
Paul Pierce, 10-time NBA All-Star and 2008 NBA champion
Jason Williams, 12-year NBA veteran and 2006 NBA champion
Stefanie Dolson, two-time WNBA All-Star and two-time NCAA champion
Win Butler, Arcade Fire lead singer
There's a lot to like here and a little something for everyone. Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things is sure to be a hit, as is Jerry Ferrara of Entourage. A Tracy McGrady revival tour will have Association fans excited, too.
For Team Clippers, a modern legend like Paul Pierce will make an appearance. Everybody loves a little dash of Jamie Foxx, as well as notable Hollywood presences such as Dascha Polanco from Orange Is the New Black. Team Clippers also features the last two MVP winners, with NBA impersonator Brandon Armstrong and Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler.
On top of stellar rosters, the celebrity showdown will feature strong leading coaches, as illustrated by Awful Announcing:
Other than innovations in teams and coaches, the game will also reach out to more viewers by adding a four-point line.
No really, a four-point line.
According to NBA.com, "The RIDGE," a fitting name considering the game is presented by Ruffles, will show up in the second half of the game. The "4-for-4 Challenge" will see the company donate $4,000 to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund for every four-point shot made.
Though not as prestigious as the All-Star Game itself by any means, those who take part in the game take it seriously.
Look at pro golfer Bubba Watson, who says he'll outright skip the Genesis Open if it hurts his chances to play in the Celebrity All-Star Game.
"I really don't want to pull out of L.A., but I will pull out if I have to. I will no-show because I am definitely showing up at the [arena]. That I'm not worried about," Watson said, according to Golf Digest's Dave Shedloski.
As usual, Watson and other recognizable faces will put on plenty of offense with little in the way of defense while playing an exciting affair.
This time it happens to feature a bonus in the form of innovation at all levels and fundraising for a good cause.
All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.