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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Other Sport

A star-studded affair indeed
Sanjjeev K Samyal, Hindustan Times
Houston, February 15, 2013
First Published: 23:43 IST(15/2/2013)
Last Updated: 01:18 IST(16/2/2013)

The competitive juices might not be flowing the way they do when playing in their team jerseys, but in terms of sheer entertainment, the NBA All-Star Weekend is the biggest spectacle in basketball.

In this age when coaches tell you to focus only on winning the game, it is an event tailor-made for star players to play to the galleries.

The NBA All-Star 2013, being held in Houston this weekend, will bring together some of the most talented and famous players in the league. Held as a mid-season celebration, the weekend consists of three days, and nights, of basketball activities and exhibitions, culminating in the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night.

In India, it is yet to catch the fancy of the people in a big way, but there is no mistaking the increasing global appeal of basketball as can be made out from the fact that the All-Star Weekend events will be beamed across 200 countries and territories in 40 languages.

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Clash of titans
While basketball champions will turn into flying machines when they turn up for the ever-entertaining Slam Dunk contest, the All-Star game is the biggest attraction of the high-profile event where NBA's best players, voted by the fans, will line-up against each other for a game between Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

The two biggest names in world basketball, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, again garnered the maximum votes from the fans, who vote for the starting line-up. Bryant (1,591,437) of the Los Angeles Lakers was the leading vote-grosser in the All-Star Balloting, earning his record 15th consecutive All-Star nod, breaking a tie with Jerry West, Karl Malone and Shaquille O'Neal for the most consecutive NBA All-Star selections. Miami Heat's LeBron James got 1,583,646 votes.

Interestingly, leading up to the game, the Miami star forward LeBron James has turned all the attention on himself with a series of record-setting performances in the NBA League.

Bryant will be leading the Western Conference's challenge while LeBron James will be spearheading the Eastern Conference line-up. Last year, despite a heroic show by James, Bryant's Western Conference outfit clinched the star-studded game by three points.

Some of the other key players who will feature in the All-Star are Chris Bosh, Carmelo Anthony, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Steve Nash.

(The writer's trip is sponsored by Sony Six)


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