Calling all rim-rockers, net-shredders and ball-handling magicians—your ultimate showcase, also known as NBA All-Star Weekend, is almost upon us.
From Friday through Sunday, the Association's biggest names, flashiest finishers and most intriguing up-and-comers will turn Buzz City into a near-continuous basketball showcase.
After laying out the pertinent scheduling information below, we'll spotlight some of the best events on the docket.
2019 NBA All-Star Weekend
Friday, Feb. 15
5 p.m.* Hall of Fame Announcement on NBA TV
7 p.m. NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on ESPN
9 p.m. MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars on TNT
Saturday, Feb. 16
8 p.m. State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on TNT
- Taco Bell Skills Challenge (first event)
- Three-Point Contest (second event)
- AT&T Slam Dunk (third event)
Sunday, Feb. 17
8 p.m. 68th NBA All-Star Game on TNT and TBS (coverage begins at 7 p.m.)
*All times Eastern (ET)
Rising Stars Challenge
Tomorrow's All-Star lineups will be populated by today's rising stars. That feels as true for the 2019 version of this event as ever.
Ben Simmons, the reigning Rookie of the Year, is pulling double-duty as a Rising Star and full-fledged All-Star. Luka Doncic nearly did the same, only as a true freshman.
If you want evidence that basketball's future is in tremendous hands, look no further than these rosters.
John Collins and De'Aaron Fox had the numbers to warrant All-Star consideration this season. Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum and Lauri Markkanen are already established as building blocks. Deandre Ayton is a walking double-double. Jaren Jackson Jr. is an unfair combination of size and skill.
This feels like a talent showcase history will remember fondly.
Slam Dunk Contest
Some will debate its place as the crown jewel of All-Star Weekend, especially with the least amount of star power among the three events.
But creativity keeps this a cut above in my book.
Is it astounding to see someone stripe five-plus threes in a row? Without question. Could your jaw drop after a flawless run through the skills challenge? You better believe it.
Still, the dunk contest is the one place where you can potentially see something you've never witnessed before. It's also still the best display of this league's explosive athleticism, imagination and undeniable swag.
Nothing holds an audience's attention better than a delicious dunk, like Dennis Smith Jr.'s vicious 50-piece at last year's event:
Smith is back for a second shot at the crown this year, where he'll be joined by John Collins, Miles Bridges and Hamidou Diallo.
NBA All-Star Game
There might be years when All-Star Saturday looks more intriguing than Sunday's actual exhibition. This doesn't look like one of them.
Last season's format change from conference-based rosters to captain-drafted ones gave it a competitiveness that hadn't been seen in years. Team LeBron needed a last-second defensive stand to preserve a 148-145 win over Team Stephen, the first single-possession All-Star Game scoring margin since 2012.
While James remains in the captain's chair, Giannis Antetokounmpo took control of the other roster.
Team LeBron's starting five includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard and James Harden. Team Giannis has the Greek Freak flanked by Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker. Anthony Davis (LeBron), Nikola Jokic (Giannis) and Damian Lillard (LeBron) are among the most notable reserves, with Dwyane Wade (LeBron) and Dirk Nowitzki (Giannis) serving as special additions.
There's far too much firepower to risk missing an all-time classic. You should not only keep your Sunday evening schedule clear, you might want to make sure there's nothing too strenuous on tap for Monday morning.