NBA All-Star Weekend Guide: Games, skills and dunk contests, and more in Chicago
CHICAGO – The last time NBA All-Star Weekend was in Chicago, the original “Madhouse on Madison” was still standing, guys named Larry, Kareem, and Magic were the face of the NBA, and a fourth-year guard from North Carolina was starting to take flight in the Windy City.
A lot has happened since 1988, both with Chicago basketball and across the NBA. Now 32 years later, the league is back in Chicago to show off their best this weekend. It features a number of events starting on Friday, with contests happening both on the west side and Wintrust Arena.
Here’s your guide to everything that’s happening:
Sunday: All-Star Game
The All-Star Game is back at the United Center on Sunday evening, returning for the first time since 1988 and bringing a slew of great NBA players along with personalities from the entertainment world.
It’s the first major professional All-Star Game in the city since the MLS had its game at Soldier Field in August of 2018 and is the first of any kind at the United Center since it was opened in 1994.
Sunday features the main contest between the best All-Stars in the NBA in the 2019-2020 season, with one team being led by Lakers star LeBron James and the other by Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo at 7 PM at the United Center.
There are no Chicago Bulls on the roster, but former forward Jimmy Butler is taking part in the game representing the Miami Heat. Chicago native Anthony Davis will start for Team LeBron.
Friday: Celebrity and Rising Stars games
On Friday the league will hold the annual Rising Stars game at the United Center at 8 p.m., and this was supposed to feature a member of the Bulls for a third-straight year.
After Lauri Markkanen took part in the contest in 2017 and 2018, Wendell Carter Jr. was chosen for this year’s game but cannot play due to injury.
Chicago native and former Simeon star Kendrick Nunn of the Heat will take part in the game with Team USA.
Two hours before at Wintrust Arena, the annual Celebrity Game will take place, featuring Chicago native Chance the Rapper, former Bears defensive lineman Anthony “Spice” Adams, along with others from the entertainment and athletic world.
Sky forward Diamond DeShields will serve as an assistant coach for the contest that takes part in the team’s home.
Saturday: All-Star Practice, Skills Challenges and Slam Dunk Contest
Saturday morning features the NBA All-Star Practice and Media Day at Wintrust Arena at 9:30 AM and then the much-anticipated NBA All-Star Saturday at the United Center, where some of the NBA’s best take part in a number of activities.
The skills challenge was supposed to feature two Chicago natives – Rose and Patrick Beverly. But the Pistons’ guard pulled out of the event last week, leaving only the former Marshall High School star to take part in the event with seven others from around the league.
The Bulls one participant in the weekend, guard Zach LaVine, gets his chance to shine in the league’s three-point contest.
A two-time winner of the dunk contest, LaVine will attempt to become the first in NBA history to win that event along with the long-distance shootout.
Pat Connaughton of the Bucks, Aaron Gordon of the Magic, Dwight Howard of the Lakers, and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Heat will then square off in the slam dunk contest, which has some proud history in Chicago.
Arguably the greatest chapter of this event took place at the last All-Star Game in Chicago in 1988, when Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins in a memorable showdown at Chicago Stadium.
Sunday: Tribute to Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant will be honored in a few ways before and during the contest on Sunday, with Chicago native and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson performing a tribute to the late Lakers’ legend during player introductions. The game will also feature a unique fourth quarter that will honor Bryant’s No. 24.
Chaka Khan will sing the American National Anthem while Tenille Arts will perform the Canadian National Anthem before the game.
If you want to attend these events, be ready to pay up. Per Stub Hub, the starting price to attend the NBA All-Star Practice and Media Day is $67, it’s $422 to get into All-Star Saturday Night, and for game on Sunday night, it’s $733 as of Thursday afternoon.