The NBA All-Star game has arrived. As the 2021-22 NBA season winds down, the league’s best players have gathered in Cleveland, Ohio to play in the annual exhibition contest. The 71st NBA All-Star game will tip-off on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT/TBS.
This game will be a little different from a regular NBA contest. The teams will compete to win each of the first three quarters. And in the fourth quarter, it’s a new ball game as the winner will be determined by who reaches the final target score first. The final target score will be the leading team’s total score plus 24 points. The team that wins the All-Star game will earn $150,000 for its charity.
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The teams for the All-Star are not Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference. LeBron James is the team captain for Team LeBron, and Kevin Durant, who won’t play in the game, is the captain for Team Durant. Both players got the choose the players on their teams. The notable players on Team LeBron are Steph Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic. Team Durant features Trae Young, Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins.
“It was mind-blowing,” Wiggins said of finding out he was an All-Star starter, per ESPN. “I was taking my pregame nap and my girl and daughter woke me up and told me, ‘You are a starter, you are a starter.’ I thought I was dreaming for a second. I was like, what is going on? It was a good way to learn that I made it to the All-Star, and I am thankful. I have been putting in a lot of work and I have found a home here. Hopefully, I can keep it going and this is not the last one.”
Whoever is named All-Star MVP will be awarded the Kobe Bryant Trophy. Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, was an 18-time All-Star and was named All-Star MVP four times. “Introducing the newly designed Kobe Bryant Trophy, awarded to the NBA All-Star MVP,” Bryant’s widow Vanessa shared on Instagram earlier this month. “The eight-sided base represents Kobe’s No. 8 jersey number. The 18 stars around the trophy represent his 18 All-Star selections. The base height of 2 inches is a nod to his 2002 NBA All-Star MVP.”