By Jay McDaniel—Assistant Sports Editor
The All Star Weekend in the 2018-2019 season was something special.
Charlotte, N.C. hosted the event for the second time in history, and they held incredible energy and put on a great show all weekend. It was a weekend full of fun highlights, high flying dunks and long 3-point shots.
This All Star event held many competitions, including the Skills Contest, the 3-point Shooting Contest, the Slam Dunk Competition and the All-Star Game.
This year’s Skills Contest was something special. Many key match-ups were seen, such as ones between rising stars Trae Young and Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum and Nikola Jokic, and Doncic against Kyle Kuzma.
Young played very smart throughout the competition, dribbling way ahead of himself (with no worries about defense) to speed up in his competition against Doncic, to knock out the future All-Star with ease. He ultimately fell to Tatum in the championship round, who hit a stunning half court shot at the last second to win the trophy. This was his first time in the Skills Competition.
The 3-point shooting contest was a star-studded contest, one that included fan-favorite brothers Steph and Seth Curry. Steph held the lead until “no-name” Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets took over at the last second to win the trophy. Harris nearly wasn’t extended an invitation to the contest, and beat so many known shooters to take home a victory.
The Slam Dunk Competition was my favorite event, as it always is. We saw maybe the worst dunk I’ve ever seen, from John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks. He put up a dunk that included jumping over a first-generation airplane and breaking it in two places. We also saw some very impressive dunks from second-time competitor Dennis Smith Junior of the New York Knicks, high flying over Rapper J. Cole and another “Honey Dip” dunk over 7’1” Shaquille O’Neal by Hamidou Diallo. This was easily the highlight dunk of the night, as Diallo revealed a Superman shirt under his jersey before performing one of the best dunks of his generation, basically securing him the victory. After that dunk he threw it down in a small windmill-fashion to earn a 50 and get the win.
Lastly, the All-Star game is always the point of the weekend. This year the captains were Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who selected their teams on February 7th and competed on Sunday night. Team Giannis got themselves out to a comfortable lead, but the All-Star Game is consistently lacking in the defense department and ultimately lost the game in the second half to Team James 178-164. Kevin Durant won the All-Star game MVP, snatching it from the hands of Giannis who had a huge lead in the first half.
This was a successful and exciting All-Star weekend, featuring players from teams across the nation. Charlotte threw amazing energy at the players all weekend, and there was also a very strong performance by J. Cole at the halftime of the all star game.
I enjoyed every event and every highlight from the weekend and I look forward to next year’s just as much.