An incredible weekend of Rising Stars, 3-point specialists, Slam Dunk Champions and the NBA’s brightest stars balling out comes to a dramatic end with Team Giannis edging out Team LeBron in the 2023 NBA All-Star Game.
Before shifting our focus to the unofficial second half of the NBA season, let’s take a moment to soak in the sights and sounds from a historic day at the 72nd All-Star Game from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Sights and sounds from 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend
Before the All-Star Game, team captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo had their pick of the NBA reserves and starters. Antetokounmpo mistakenly tried to go off-script, attempting to select Ja Morant as a reserve when the show-stopping guard was listed as a starter.
In an attempt to avoid being the last pick, reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic preempted James' selection and made his way to the 19-time All-Star’s squad before his name was called, leaving the Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen hanging. (Jokic later said this was a mistake, apologizing to Markkanen because he didn’t see him up there, thinking he was the last pick.)
In year 20 of his NBA career, James showed the crowd that his 38-year-old legs still have plenty of bounce by going off the glass to himself.
Antetokounmpo eventually got his wish of having Morant on his team, and the electrifying point guard wasted no time in wowing the crowd and his teammates.
At halftime, all eyes went from the stars on the court to the biggest stars in music. Burna Boy, Rema and Tems all lit up the stage, putting the NBA universe on to Afrobeats.
After halftime, LeBron took a moment to pose for pictures with the Bryant family. Since 2020, the All-Star Game MVP award has been named in honor of four-time winner Kobe Bryant.
The Bryants & Bron. 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/KPNZpGjlHq— NBA (@NBA) February 20, 2023
Throughout the night Jayson Tatum was everywhere for Team Giannis, dropping an NBA All-Star Game record 55 points.
Needing a target score of 182 the clock struck “Dame Time” and the Trail Blazer’s perennial All-Star answered the call to ice the game for Team Giannis.
After his 55-point outing Tatum was crowned All-Star Game MVP and the Kobe Bryant Trophy had extra special meaning for the four-time All-Star.
“It means the world to me. … Everybody knows how much [Kobe] meant to me. My favorite player and my idol. It’s an honor to take this home.”@jaytatum0 on winning the Kobe Bryant Trophy for the #KiaAllStarMVP pic.twitter.com/y40pvEnsD5— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 20, 2023
It was a fun night had by all, with the exception of Team LeBron and Nuggets head coach Michael Malone, who laughingly labeled today’s events, “the worst basketball game he’s ever seen.” He also poked fun at LeBron’s GM skills.
All-in-all it was a night of glitz and glamor, showcasing the speed, strength and skill of the NBA. “Winner winner, chicken dinner,” Antetokounmpo said to cap off the night.