What to watch for during All-Star Weekend

The All-Star break is here. Starting February 12th, the NBA is invading Toronto. There will be events going on throughout the whole weekend and the Lakers are some way involved in with all but two major events. (all times are Pacific PST)

To kick things off on the 11th, the NBA announced Twitter emojis for players voted to the game and the NBA on TNT crew. As you can see, the Black Mamba got his own Twitter emoji.

Twitter had fun with this one. Here’s an example from our Jacob Rude poking fun at Paul Pierce.

It would be fitting if a tweet followed with an emoji running around having more energy.

The first real event starts on the 12th with the 2016 All-Star Celebrity Game. It will be Team Canada, coached by Drake; and Team USA, coached by four-time Celebrity Game MVP Kevin Hart. Tipoff is at 4 p.m.. One of the assistant coaches on Team Canada is former Laker *sniffles* Steve Nash. Former Laker and three-time NBA champion Rick Fox is suiting up to play for the Canadian squad, hoping to propel Aubrey’s Property Brothers-led team to victory. As for Team USA, noted Laker fans O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube’s son) and Anthony Anderson are taking the court for the red, white, and blue. The complete rosters for both teams are down below.

Following the celebrity game is the BBVA Rising Stars challenge at 6 p.m.. There are three  two Lakers participating in the USA vs. World game. Second overall pick D’Angelo Russell and 2014-2015 All-Rookie first teamer Jordan Clarkson. Julius Randle was not selected to the game, leaving Don Julio without an opportunity to play in the game in his short career.

A fun matchup to watch is D’Angelo Russell vs. fellow 2015 lottery pick Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets. While it’s exciting for people like us to have two Lakers in the game, seeing D’Angelo play with rookie phenom Karl-Anthony Towns will be a treat for all basketball fans.

Saturday the 13th is chock-full of basketball goodness. Vander Blue and Justin Harper will be representing the D-Fenders in the D-League All-Star game at 11 a.m. and later in the day at 5 p.m. marks the beginning of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is the first of three events in the evening. Jordan Clarkson will be putting his skills on display up against fellow guards and, for the first time, frontcourt players. Here is the bracket for Saturday night’s first event.

Following the Skills Challenge are the Foot Locker Three-Point shootout and the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. Neither of the two events include Lakers of any kind, past or present. Stephen Curry and Zach LaVine are favorites to repeat in their respective contests after putting on a show in last year’s All-Star festivities.

For the last time, on Sunday February 14th at 5:30p.m., Kobe Bryant will participate in the NBA All-Star Game. The Mamba led all players in All-Star voting on his way to being selected as a starter for his record 15th time. Kobe holds the record for points, steals (tie), field goals, starts, and is second to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in minutes played. Bean will not being going for a fifth ASG MVP, however. Bryant said “he’s good” and he’ll just try to play to the best of his abilities. It’s a safe bet to just assume he simply doesn’t have any room left in his trophy case. Kobe taking the floor for the last time in an All-Star game will be a sight to behold, no matter how bad the defense is in the game. Watch this video below to prepare for Kobe’s last All-Star ride.

Enjoy this weekend’s festivities and remember to savor every moment of Kobe’s last All-Star appearance.

All events are from NBA.com and all stats are from basketball-reference.com.

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