The WNBA is taking charge at the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game on Friday night in Charlotte. The away team will be coached by Sue Bird, while the home team will have Dawn Staley at the helm.
Bird is months away from her 17th season in the WNBA. The three-time WNBA champion has spent her entire career with the Seattle Storm after the team drafted her No. 1 overall in 2002 out of UConn. While Bird is one of the most decorated players in the history of women's basketball, she also has new experience in the NBA as the Denver Nuggets brought her in this season as a basketball operations associate.
Staley will be in her element on the sidelines as she is already a head coach for the University of South Carolina women's basketball team and the women's national team. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee claimed the NCAA all-time steals record, won three Olympic gold medals and pioneered in the WNBA as a player.
Staley will have at least one familiar face in her huddle in A'ja Wilson—the 2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year—with whom she won the only national title in Gamecocks history in 2017. Stefanie Dolson, center for the WNBA's Chicago Sky, will suit up for Bird's away squad in her second consecutive Celebrity All-Star Game.
Keep reading for information on everybody playing and where to stream the game as well as a prediction on the final score.
Celebrity All-Star Game Rosters
Team Bird (Away Team)
Ronnie 2K (Director of Influencer Marketing, 2K Sports)
Ray Allen (Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, two-time NBA champion)
AJ Buckley (SEAL Team actor)
Bad Bunny (Grammy-nominated recording artist)
Stefanie Dolson (center for WNBA's Chicago Sky)
Marc Lasry (co-owner of the Milwaukee Bucks)
Hasan Minhaj (actor, comedian and host of Netflix's Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj)
Quavo (Grammy-nominated recording artist)
Adam Ray (comedian, About Last Night podcast)
Brad Williams (comedian, About Last Night podcast)
Amanda Seales (actor, comedian, recording artist)
James Shaw Jr. (hometown hero)
Team Staley (Home Team)
Mike Colter (Luke Cage actor)
Chris Daughtry (recording artist)
Terrence J (on-air host and actor)
Famous Los (comedian)
Dr. Oz (television and radio personality)
Bo Rinehart (NEEDTOBREATHE vocalist and musician)
JB Smoove (actor, comedian)
Steve Smith (Former NFL wide receiver, NFL Network analyst)
A'ja Wilson (2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year)
Jay Williams (ESPN college basketball analyst)
Jason Weinmann (hometown hero)
Roster information courtesy of NBA.com
Live Stream Information
Date: Friday, Feb. 15
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Bojangles' Coliseum
Live Stream: WatchESPN or the ESPN App
At first glance, the combination for the away team of Ray Allen and Quavo seems like a scoring duo that the home team will have a tough time matching. Allen is an obvious threat being the current record holder for most threes made all-time in NBA history, a two-time NBA champion and Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee.
Quavo, on the other hand, is a lanky member of Grammy-nominated hip-hop trio Migos. However, he is also the reigning Celebrity All-Star Game MVP with a game-high 19 points in 2018's contest.
The home team's resident trash-talker, Steve Smith—retired NFL receiver after 16 seasons—would probably not-so-kindly remind us not to jump to such conclusions, and he would be correct in doing so.
Staley's squad—mentioned already above—includes the WNBA 2018 Rookie of the Year A'ja Wilson, and Staley and Wilson have proven the damage they can do together. It also boasts former Duke standout and No. 2 overall selection in the 2002 NBA draft, Jay Williams.
If the away team does get an early lead, perhaps Dr. Oz will implement at halftime a condensed version of his "What to Eat When" plan in order to make the most of the second half. Williams may even call upon those Duke days to recreate the "Miracle Minute."
On top of that, the home team will have the crowd on its side. The NBA took home and away literally: Most everyone on the home team has ties to the Carolinas.
While Staley is the beloved head coach of the University of South Carolina women's team, Wilson led the Gamecocks to its only championship. Smith played for 13 seasons with the Carolina Panthers, and Williams' best years were spent in Durham.
Also, respect where respect is due: Famous Los—Durham native—was a Division II basketball player at Lincoln Memorial University.
All of these potential X-factors on Team Staley make it tougher to bet on Allen and Quavo alone.
Puerto Rican rap star Bad Bunny is no stranger to celebrity all-star games, and Dolson is no stranger to playing basketball at the highest level. However, if nobody steps up, Team Bird may be trying to finesse the rules in order to allow Bird to trade her clipboard for playing time.
Each year, the Celebrity All-Star Game is wholly unpredictable. Some of the participants are just in it for the fun, while others are serious competitors. Which mentality will win out and dictate the game?
Prediction: Team Staley beats Team Bird 74-66