By Declan McGuire ‘20

The middle of February can be a somewhat depressing time for some people, especially in the city of Chicago where sunshine is hard to come by.

But this year, things were certainly different. From Feb. 14-16, the Windy City was host to the NBA’s All-Star Weekend festivities, and it certainly was one to remember.

Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to attend these events, but I was tuned in all 3 days and excited to see what was in store.

On the first night, as always, there was the rising stars game and the celebrity game. Getting to see the future stars of the league like Ja Morant and Zion Williamson play on the same team and put on a show was a real treat, especially in the United Center.

In this high-scoring head-to-head matchup, Team USA prevailed over the World Team, and Miles Bridges of the Charolette Hornets was named the game’s MVP.

Later that night, natives of Chicago like Chance the Rapper and Hannibal Buress competed in the Ruffles Celebrity game. Although this game is always entertaining, I think watching Stephen A. Smith attempt to coach these celebs was even better.

Moving on to Saturday night, where the real action began, fans got to watch their favorite players compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest, and the AT&T Slam Dunk Competition.

In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, not a single guard advanced past the first round, and it was a battle of the big men. It came down to the wire, but ultimately Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat was the winner of this challenge.

Next up was the Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest, and these guys came ready to shoot. Participants needed a score of 26 or higher to advance past the first round, and unfortunately Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine did not. In a shootout of the century, Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings was able to beat out Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans and former 3-Point Contest Champion of the Phoenix Suns, Devin Booker, with a final score of 27.

The fan favorite AT&T Dunk Contest was somewhat controversial yet again. Early on Dwight Howard became Superman and paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, while Pat Connaughton proved that white men can jump, but sadly both were eliminated.

In the finale, fans got to see Derrick Jones Jr. and Aaron Gordon face-off in a “dunk-off.” Derrick Jones Jr. ended up getting crowned as the 2020 AT&T Dunk Contest Champion, while Aaron Gordon was once again snubbed.

“I’m sure many people will disagree with me, but I honestly don’t think Aaron Gordon should not have won. The only reason people think he did was because he pushed off and dunked over Tacko Fall. He did not clear him, so in my eyes he did not win,” said senior Connor Bowes.

On Sunday, the final event took place: the All-Star Game. In a new platform, many were not sure what to expect, but the end result was great. Team LeBron and Team Giannis battled hard for their charities each quarter, and put on a show for all.

Kawhi Leonard received the Kia Kobe Bryant MVP Award after the game for his impressive performance on both sides of the floor, and Chicago native Anthony Davis was able to secure the win for Team LeBron by sinking the game winning free-throw.

“I personally was a huge fan of this new format. I thought it was cool to see all the best players in the league out there, not only playing for a good cause, but also really competing. The ending was a little disappointing in my opinion, but other than that I think this format could do a lot of good for the NBA,” said senior Bill O’Connell.

It is always good to see a city come together for something they love, and I think it is clear to see after All-Star Weekend that Chicago really is a hard-working, competitive, basketball city.

“I wish I could have been there and see my guy LeBron in person, but just being able to watch all the games and contests and to know they were happening right here in Chicago was something really cool,” said senior Jimmy Maguire.

Let’s just hope that we won’t have to wait another 30 years for All-Star Weekend to come back to the great city of Chicago.