By MARK LORENZANA
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s All Star Team beat LeBron James’ squad, 184-175, on the evening of Sunday, Feb. 19, at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, for the 2023 version of the annual NBA All Star Game. It was the first time James’ team lost after winning five games in a row, since the NBA adopted the format of team captains selecting their own roster as opposed to the traditional East vs. West NBA All Star Game format.
The Boston Celtics’ Jason Tatum — who won the inaugural Kobe Bryant All Star Game MVP Award — poured a team-high 55 points for team Giannis. Tatum’s 55 points also broke the record for most games scored in an NBA All Star game, which was previously held by Anthony Davis, who scored 52 points in 2017.
On Saturday, Feb. 18, the Portland Trailblazers’ Damian Lillard won the NBA Three-Point Contest, beating fellow sharpshooters Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton, who both play for the Indiana Pacers. Meanwhile, in the Slam Dunk Contest, erstwhile G-League player Mac McClung — who has recently been signed to a two-way contract by the Philadelphia 76ers — put on a show, and singlehandedly brought back excitement to the signature event of the second day of the NBA’s All Star Weekend. The past two Slam Dunk Contests were ho-hum affairs, with the 2023 version in particular even drawing jeers and sarcastic comments from the NBA commentary team.
McClung beat fellow high-flier Trey Murphy III in the finals of the dunk contest. McClung scored a perfect 100 in the final, with Murphy settling for a 98.
“I’m truly blessed and grateful for the NBA giving me this opportunity,” McClung said. “If you guys will have me, I’ll be back (next year).”