The NBA All Star weekend for John Wall and others arriving early in New Orleans essentially stated on Thursday, but the on-court events start on Friday. Thoughts on everything through the 63rd All-Star game including notable local angles on each. start....now.
Celebrity game - Friday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN
*Like seemingly every entertainment viewing option these days, comedian Kevin Hart will be one of the players. Do with that information as you wish. Jalen Rose and Bill Simmons are the team captains while other players include Victoria's Secret model Erin Heatherton and WNBA stars Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne, my MVP prediction assuming they actually have MVP for such games.
*Local angle - D.C.'s own Wale and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan are expected to play. We know for a fact of those two, one can ball and I've never seen Wale actually play.
Rising Stars Challenge - Friday, 9 p.m. ET, TNT
*This is no longer a pure rookies versus sophomores game, though the nine-player rosters drafted by captains Grant Hill and Chris Webber almost ended up that way. Wizards guard Bradley Beal is one of seven second-year players on Hill's squad. Seven rookies are on Webber's team including Orlando Magic guard and D.C. area native Victor Oladipo. Not sure how Team Hill loses this or rather doesn't win big.
*Local angle - The easy MVP picks is Portland's Damian Lillard, who is participating in five events this weekend. That also mean potential limited minutes. Beal's will be as well if the Wizards can help it, but we'll see if he makes enough long buckets while he's in there for the MVP nod.
Shooting Stars/Skills Challenge/3-point/Dunk - 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
* Shooting stars: There are two father-son combinations among the four teams: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Sr., Stephen and Dell Curry. Let's not over think this. Have you seen the Curry's shoot? Factor in they're playing with fiery WNBA guard Becky Hammon and winner winner, chicken dinner.
*Skills: Uncertain what "teams" mean in this event, but any one with Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic on it is good enough for me. That is assuming his teammate, Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson, doesn't strike out.
*3-point: Looks I'm predicting a big Saturday night for Curry, who downs Orlando's Arron Afflalo in the final (Beal and Marco Belinelli advance to the semi's). The intriguing wrinkle here is that players can put those money balls wherever they want among the five stations. Thinking Beal loads up on the wings, we'll see.
*Dunk: John Wall goes slamming in another contest with new rules. Essentially it's East versus West, but there will be a dunker of the night. Not doubting Wall's hops, but Indiana's Paul George and Toronto's Terrence Ross (Montrose Christian) can match him and go even higher. Give me the East and Since Ross won last year, give me George for the title. Now, Ben McLemore has talked about a 720 dunk. If the Sacramento Kings rookie pulls it off like this guy, then ignore everything else said in this paragraph.
The 63rd NBA All-Star game - 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT
*As with the regular season, the game within the game is LeBron James versus Kevin Durant. The Thunder star dominated the last few weeks with an insane scoring run, enough to push Oklahoma City atop the West and Durant into the lead for the regular season MVP. I for one think James has noticed and is frankly over the Durant love. Therefore, while I don't expect Carmelo Anthony, Blake Griffin, Curry and others to fade into the background, everyone knows the one-on-one battle that's going on. Everyone will see Durant come out ahead this time with points in the West's 131-127 victory.
*Local angle - The East is light on point guards, so Wall should receive a healthy amount of minutes. In addition, seeing as this is an All-Star game, the likes of Nick Calathes and Phil Pressey are not around to confound. Wall's done quite well when facing the best of the best and a pure up-tempo game, sounds perfect for the quick ain't fair guy. Stat line: 20 minutes, eight points, six assists and at least one blinding fast highlight CSNwashington can generate multiple posts from.