Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
Looking to fill a football-size void in your sports life? Well, lucky for you, the NBA’s All-Star weekend festivities get underway in Toronto this coming weekend, and just in time to fill your suddenly pigskin-less Sunday.
Now, if you’re an NFL diehard and aren’t the biggest basketball fan out there, that’s ok. The NBA’s All-Star weekend is a basketball variety show of sorts. That’s the beauty of it. There are celebrities; there are dunk contests and shooting contests; there are players laughing and goofing around on and off the court. It’s basically like a weekend of Club Med for basketball players.
In recent years though, All-Star weekend has grown in size and scope, so it’s important to keep tabs on what’s happening and when.
So with that being said, here’s your complete guide to this year’s All-Star festivities this coming weekend.
When is it happening? – All Star weekend begins on Friday, Feb. 12 and ends on Sunday, Feb. 14.
Where is it happening? – This year’s game takes place in Canada, up north in Toronto, to be specific.
Where can I watch it? – Almost all of the All-Star game events air either on NBA TV or TNT or stream live on NBA.com for the tech savvy among us. The only exception is the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which can be seen on ESPN.
Ok, what events should I watch? – This is an important question. You can see the list of all of the NBA’s All-Star weekend events here at NBA.com, but full disclosure: at least 80 percent of them aren’t worth watching.
So, in light of that, here are the events not to miss in chronological order.
Friday, Feb. 12
11:30 a.m. ET – NBA All-Star Media Day – Live on NBA TV.
It won’t have quite the same fanfare as Super Bowl media day, but the idea is the same. Ridiculous questions and players just having fun at the outset of All-Star weekend. It’s always worth a watch.
1:30 p.m. ET – NBA Hall of Fame Finalist Announcement Ceremony – Live on NBA TV and streaming live on NBA.com.
Among the expected Hall of Fame nominee finalists this year are Allen Iverson, Yao Ming and Shaquille O’Neal, three mega stars who all have a great chance of making into the Hall.
7 p.m. ET – The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game – Live on ESPN.
This Canada-heavy celebrity game is going to be a good one. Coaching the game is Drake, the Grammy Award-winning pride of Canada, and coaching against him will be NBA All-Star Celebrity Game mainstay, Kevin Hart. Also on team Drake will be Canadian basketball great Steve Nash along with honorary Canadian Jose Bautista of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Some of the celebs partaking in the game will be Win Butler (Arcade Fire), Milos Raonic (tennis player), Rick Fox (former NBA player), Jason Sudeikis (actor/comedian), Anthony Anderson (actor/comedian) and Chauncey Billups (former NBA player).
Not a bad assemblage of stars.
Saturday, Feb. 13
2 p.m. ET – NBA D-League All Star Game – Live on NBA TV
If you’re sitting around on Saturday afternoon looking for a basketball fix, tune in for the D-League All-Star game. The D-League is rife with talent looking to prove they belong in the NBA, so you can bet that every D-League All-Star will be balling out on Saturday afternoon trying to make a statement.
In fact, of the 24 prospects playing in the game, 16 have some level of NBA experience.
8 p.m. ET – All-Star Saturday Night – Live on TNT
This is where the magic happens. All-Star Saturday night is the NBA’s skills competition, featuring the Skills Challenge, the three-point contest and, of course, the iconic slam dunk contest. Don’t miss this stuff.
Sunday, Feb. 14
8:30 p.m. ET – NBA All-Star Game – Live on TNT
The moment you’ve been waiting for. There aren’t guys dunking over cars or dribbling between cones here, just the best of the best from the Eastern and Western conferences playing alongside one another and going head-to-head with each other. The All-Star Game, the marquee event of All-Star weekend, is always memorable.
This is the one you definitely can’t miss.
While most All-Star weekends are pretty lackluster, the NBA has made its All-Star weekend into a true must-watch event. So be sure to tune in as the best of the best make their way to Toronto for the NBA All-Star Game weekend.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.