NBA All-Star Weekend 2018

Changing of the guard: Hall of Fame announces 2018 finalists

By Robbie Weinstein
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – As the NBA continues trending toward small ball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 13 finalists for 2018 include some of the league’s all-time great guards.

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Players weigh in: Who is the Rookie of the Year?

by Nathan Smith
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — Two players have jumped out ahead in NBA Rookie of the Year race, but most of their peers can’t decide which one is in the lead.

Donovan Mitchell, the top scorer for a Jazz team rolling into the All-Star break on an 11-game winning streak, and Ben Simmons, the 76ers do-everything forward, were the go-to answers for first- and second-year players participating in the Rising Stars Challenge when asked who, if given a vote, were their favorites.

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NBA family delivers food, love at LA Food Bank

Athena Liu
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — No matter if they play for different teams, at different levels or in different generations, when it comes to giving back to the community, the NBA unites as a family.

On Friday, NBA All-Stars Anthony Davis, Kemba Walker, Larry Nance Jr. and Eric Gordon joined NBA legends at Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help assemble food boxes for individuals and families, especially seniors, who are still facing hunger in Los Angeles County.
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Stars turn out for All-Star Weekend bowling fundraiser for LadyLike Foundation

By Richard Foster-Shelton
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES — Publicly, All-Star Weekend is notable for being a time when celebrities descend on the host city to enjoy a work-free weekend. Privately, one woman worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make sure the gathering of big names was not in vain.

On Thursday, Leah Cher Pump, president and CEO of the LadyLike Foundation, hosted the inaugural NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Bowling Classic at Lucky Strike Lanes at L.A. Live. The event, which featured appearances from celebs such as Paul Pierce, Isiah Thomas, Terrell Owens, benefited the non-profit organization.

It seems the planning for such an event would have waited until the NBA announced this year’s host city of Los Angeles, which was March of 2016. But Pump explained to Medill Reports that this moment was years in the making. Continue reading

DeRozan returns to Compton roots

By Connor Yahn
Medill Reports

COMPTON, Calif. — DeMar DeRozan, like countless other children across the world, dreamed of one day playing in the NBA and becoming an All-Star while watching Kobe Bryant star for the Los Angeles Lakers.

For DeRozan, that dream began in Compton, California, and he has since developed into one of the best basketball players in the world, earning the titles of McDonald’s All-American, Olympic gold medalist and NBA All-Star.

The Toronto Raptors’ guard will be making his fourth All-Star Game appearance on Sunday night, and he will be living out his childhood dreams at the Staples Center.

But before all the praise that will be thrust his way over the weekend, DeRozan spent Friday morning with fellow Raptors’ teammate Kyle Lowry, giving back to the community that raised him.

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NBA elites give back to community during All-Star Weekend

By Serena Yeh
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES –Draymond Green played 38 minutes and recorded his third consecutive double-double in a game Wednesday night, but 13 hours later, the Golden State Warriors forward was at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, chatting and playing games with young patients.

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Filayyyy hits L.A.

By Nathan Smith
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – Jesse Jones is almost too famous to be here.

A dozen men took turns shooting threes and executing exotic dunks in an empty Staples Center on Wednesday, all part of the dress rehearsal for the NBA All-Star Weekend’s competitions. Some, like Jones, played college basketball. But only Jones can boast Kyrie Irving, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James as fans.

“I’m trying to play overseas,” Jones says, “but now I have a big brand, I don’t know if you heard of it, it’s called Filayyyy.”

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Their stars rising, DeRozan and Dinwiddie give back to Compton

By Robbie Weinstein
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – Under sunny skies at Compton’s Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, DeMar DeRozan’s and Spencer Dinwiddie’s distinct paths to the NBA converged for one day.

Visiting a class of first-graders Friday, the Compton-bred DeRozan, 28, helped students spell words like “train,” while Dinwiddie assembled an NBA-themed signpost, helping decorate a new playground built by NBA service partner KaBOOM!

At first glance, DeRozan’s and Dinwiddie’s stories seem alike.  Both are tall, lean guards from the greater Los Angeles area, and they’ll both take part in major events during this year’s All-Star weekend. Both even play in the Northeast — DeRozan for the Toronto Raptors and Dinwiddie with the Brooklyn Nets.

But that’s where the similarities end.

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Inside the sights, sounds and people of the Fake All-Star Saturday Night

By: Patrick Engel
Medill Reports

LOS ANGELES – There’s no need to wait until Saturday night. Here are the final dramatic moments of the NBA All-Star Verizon Slam Dunk contest.

“It all comes down to this,” the emcee bellows. “Let’s see what Victor Oladipo has in store. He can make or break it right now.”

Instead, he’ll fake it.

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