NBA All Star Saturday: Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunks

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Photo above: the author in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. (Claudia Gestro)

Dr. J — Julius Erving — Dunks on the Atlanta Hawks in 1981. (Wikipedia)
Dr. J — Julius Erving — Dunks on the Atlanta Hawks in 1981.

We are here at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, One of the five boroughs of New York City and one of two sites for this year’s NBA All Star Weekend. The other is Madison Square Garden, where the All Star Game will take place on Sunday.

Today at Barclays Center we will be treated to the epic shows of special skills in the NBA: three-point shooting and slam dunks.

First will be the Three-Point Shootout, where eight sharp shooters from around the league take aim at winning the trophy as the best 3-point shooter in the game. In the past it has been won by Larry Bird, three times in a row, Craig Hodges, three times in a row, Mark Price, Glen Rice, Steve Kerr, Jeff Hornacek, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, Kyrie Irving and last year’s winner, Marco Belinelli.

This year we have J.J. Redick of the L.A. Clippers and Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors representing California in the 3-point shootout. With them will be last year’s champion, Marco Belinelli of the San antonio Spurs, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks, James Hardin of the Houston Rockets and Wesley Matthews of the Portland Blazers.

Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks (Wikipedia)
Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks

After the Three-Point Shootout fans will be treated to the biggest highlight of the weekend: The Slam Dunk Contest. It has been a fan favorite ever since Dr. J — Julius Erving — won it in in 1976 when he was in the ABA. It became an NBA staple in 1984 when it was won by Larry Nance. This might be shocking to some people, but Dr. J never won the Slam Dunk title during his NBA years.

Some of the most famous stars of the NBA have won this contest: Spud Webb, Blake Griffin, Dominique Wilkins and of course Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan.

These two contests have been controversial these past few years because the big stars no longer compete for the slam dunk title, but fans love it any way and like e very other event this weekend, the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-Point Shootout was sold out a long time ago.

It’s a shame though, fans pay big, big money to attend these events so they should see the best in the league compete. But, if past years are any indication, the fans will get a great show this year. In the slam dunk contest this year will be: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic and Mason Plumlee of the Brooklyn Nets.