As a basketball-loving nation, Filipinos are known to be huge fans of the National Basketball Organization (NBA) that a lot of the biggest superstars in the basketball world have visited Philippine shores. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA 2021 season has had a lot of strict protocols in place in order to uphold the safety of all the players, staff, and fans.
After months of debates though, the 2021 NBA All-Stars Weekend pushed through but in a compressed format. Instead of holding multiple events throughout the weekend, all the basketball action were held on the same day. Superstars from various NBA franchises came together at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, for the entertainment of fans worldwide and to donate nearly $3 million from the events to groups supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as per USA Today.
Before the current creme de la creme of basketball shared the same court, fans were treated to the annual Taco Bell Skills Challenge, an obstacle-course competition that tests players’ dribbling, passing, agility, and 3-point shooting skills. Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis bagged this year’s title by defeating Orlando Magic’s Nikola Vucevic.
In the MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest, Golden States Warriors’ Stephen Curry displayed why he’s regarded as the best shooter to ever play the game. The 3-time NBA champion won the contest with 28 points in the contest’s final round, beating Utah guard Mike Conley by one point. As its name suggests, the 3-Point Contest tested ballers’ ability to shoot 3-pointers within a limited time period.
In the middle of the main event, young fly highers had the opportunity to display their dunking skills through the 2021 AT&T Slam Dunk contest. In the end, Portland Trail Blazer’s Anfernee Simons reigned supreme with what appeared to be him attempting to kiss the rim before making a one-hand slam.
During the main event, the superstars gathered together by Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James dominated, outscoring the opposing Team Durant in every single quarter. With the help of ballers such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Jokic, Team Lebron was able to defeat the squad that included Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, and Kyrie Irving with a final score of 170-150. In the end, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Antetokounmpo bagged the coveted NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player (MVP) award with his unexpected 100% shooting on the court.
The NBA has paved the way for the rest of the sports world to resume sports competitions in a safe and secure environment amid the ongoing pandemic. Team LeBron may have won the match, but it’s clear that basketball fans, who still get to enjoy watching the sport they love, are the true winners of the game.