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NBA NEWS - NBA All-Stars Skills Challenge

Jayson Tatum, Celtics is an NBA Skills Challenge participant - Keith Allison - photo)




Nikola Vucevic, Magic - NBA photo


Nikola Jokic, Nuggets - NBA photo






NBA All-Stars Nikola Jokic and Nikola Vucevic, Rookies of the Month Luka Doncic and Trae Young to compete in Skills Challeng - The eight-player field for the Skills Challenge also features Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics - THIS DAY IN THE NBA



Tuesday, February 12, 2019

First-time NBA All-Stars Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic and reigning Kia NBA Rookies of the Month Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks will display their vast array of talents in the Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The 17th Skills Challenge is part of All-Star Saturday Night, which also features the MTN DEW 3-Point Contest and Slam Dunk. All-Star Saturday Night will air on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States at 8 p.m. ET. NBA All-Star 2019 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets.

The eight-player field for the Skills Challenge also features Mike Conley of the Memphis Grizzlies, De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings, Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets is unable to defend his 2018 title due to injury.

Jokic and Vucevic will play in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET. Doncic, Fox, Kuzma, Tatum and Young will play in the Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. ET. Both games will be held at Spectrum Center and broadcast by TNT and ESPN Radio.

The Skills Challenge is a three-round, obstacle-course competition that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills. The event showcases a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format. First-round matchups will be determined at a later date.

Here is a closer look at the Skills Challenge participants:

Mike Conley, Grizzlies: Conley (20.3 ppg, 6.3 apg) is averaging at least 20.0 points and 6.0 assists for the second time in the last three seasons. He is a two-time winner of the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

Luka Doncic, Mavericks: The Slovenian guard-forward (20.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 5.4 apg) has won all three Kia NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month awards this season. The only rookie to reach Doncic’s current averages in points, rebounds and assists for a full season is Oscar Robertson in 1960-61.

De’Aaron Fox, Kings: One of the NBA’s fastest players, Fox is averaging 17.5 points and a team-high 7.2 assists (ninth in the NBA) – up from 11.6 points and 4.4 assists as a rookie last season. He has already made more three-pointers this season (56) than he did in his entire first season (47).

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: The 7-foot center from Serbia leads Denver with averages of 20.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 7.7 assists (sixth in the NBA). He ranks second in the NBA in triple-doubles with nine.

Kyle Kuzma, Lakers: Kuzma (18.8 ppg) is the third-leading scorer among second-year NBA players and paces the Lakers in three-pointers made with 91. He was a 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie First Team selection.

Jayson Tatum, Celtics: Tatum is Boston’s No. 2 scorer (16.1 ppg) and rebounder (6.2 rpg). The 2017-18 NBA All-Rookie First Team selection has shot 40.4 percent from three-point range over two seasons.

Nikola Vucevic, Magic: A first-time All-Star in his eighth season, Vucevic is averaging career highs of 20.7 points, 12.0 rebounds (10th in the NBA) and 3.8 assists. The 7-foot Montenegrin center is shooting a career-high 37.8 percent from three-point range.

Trae Young, Hawks: The Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November and January leads all first-year NBA players in assists (7.4 apg) and ranks second in scoring (16.8 ppg). He is averaging 24.0 points and 8.5 assists in his last six games.

Two players compete simultaneously on identical courses and the fastest finisher reaches the next round. In the first round, the eight players are paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. The four winners advance to the second round, where two more head-to-head showdowns determine the two finalists. Click here for a complete explanation of the rules.

Below is the roster for the Skills Challenge and a list of previous winners.


February 12, 1934 Bill Russell is born in Monroe, Louisiana.

February 12, 1987 Bill Fitch became the fifth coach in NBA history to reach 700 career wins when the Houston Rockets beat the New Jersey Nets 121-99.

February 12, 1989 A crowd of 44,735, the largest in NBA All-Star Game history, turned out at the Houston Astrodome to watch the West beat the East 143-134 in the 39th renewal, as Utah’s Karl Malone won MVP honors after scoring a team-high 28 points.

February 12, 1994 Cleveland’s Mark Price captured his second straight AT&T Shootout title, Minnesota rookie Isaiah Rider won the Nestle Crunch Slam Dunk, and the Phenoms, led by Golden State’s Chris Webber (14 points, 10 rebounds), defeated the Sensations 75-68 in the inaugural Schick Rookie Game at All-Star Saturday, held at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

February 12, 1995 In the 45th annual NBA All-Star Game at America West Arena in Phoenix, Sacramento’s Mitch Richmond scored a game-high 22 points and won MVP honors in leading the West to a 139-112 triumph over the East.

February 12, 1999 Mark Price announced his retirement from the NBA at a news conference at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, where he starred for Georgia Tech from 1982 to 1986

February 12, 1999 Utah’s Karl Malone became the 10th player in NBA history to log 40,000 career minutes in a game against Golden State.

February 12, 2000 NBA All-Star Saturday in Oakland had Chicago’s Elton Brand winning the Schick Rookie Challenge MVP after finishing with 14 points and 21 rebounds as the 2000 Rookies defeated the 1999 Rookies 92-81 in overtime. The Sony All-Star 2ball competition was won by Utah Jazz guard Jeff Hornacek and Utah Starzz Natalie Williams, as they edged out Phoenix’s Jason Kidd and Jennifer Gillom, 68-61. Hornacek carried his hot shooting into the AT&T Shootout, and became the fourth player in the history of the event to repeat as champion, edging out Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Milwaukee’s Ray Allen in the final round with a score of 13. Vince Carter took center stage in the evening’s grand finale and turned in an Oscar-worthy performance, capturing the NBA.com Slam Dunk title. Carter registered three perfect scores of 50 points and distanced himself from a talented collection of high risers, including second-place finisher Steve Francis of Houston and Raptors teammate and cousin Tracy McGrady (third).

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