The NBA's finest basketball players will head to New York City to take part in the All-Star Game and Sprite Slam Dunk event, both of which will happen this weekend. Viewers can watch both events online via live stream - free for subscribers - below.
According to the staff at RantSports, the East team will be coached by Mike Budenholzer and will include All-Stars Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Pau Gasol, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Chris Bosh, Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, Jeff Teague and Dwyane Wade. Steve Kerr will be in charge of coaching duties for the West team, which include Blake Griffin, Marc Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, LaMarcus Aldridge, DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Klay Thompson, Russell Westbrook and Dirk Nowitzki.
"The NBA All-Star Game, year after year, is a high-scoring affair where defense doesn't come first, second or third - it is hanging out on the bench, or some place like that," RantSports wrote.
While Wade, Griffin, Bryant and Davis are sidelined due to injuries, RantSports predicted that although the East may have "King James," the West could pull off a win with Curry, who RantSports claimed "could come away with the actual MVP award at season's end."
"Although it is easy to go with LeBron and Co., we are going Team West. Why? Well, Curry, for one," RantSports wrote. "Either way, this should be another great All-Star weekend in the NBA, and we are bound to see a couple of highlights during the big game."
The Associated Press reported that the NBA All-Star show has only performed in warm-weather cities in the South and West in recent years. However, the NBA placed this weekend's event in New York City, which has excited players from both conferences despite the bitter cold outside.
"New York is cold as hell, man. But it's nice, it's cool," Wade of the Miami Heat said. "I feel like the All-Star had to be in New York one of these years. Since I've been in the league, 12 years now, it hasn't been in New York and it's mind-boggling that it hasn't, but I think it's cool that it's finally here. There's just a different vibe in New York than anywhere else."
James told the Associated Press that it would be a "special night" for him, especially since Madison Square Garden was one of his favorite venues.
"It's going to be the best All-Star Game for me, to be able to be in the Garden," James of the Cleveland Cavaliers said. "I love my fans back in Cleveland. I loved my fans when I was in Miami. But if I could have 82 regular-season games in the Garden, you know I would, because it's the mecca of basketball."
James added that "there is so much history" at Madison Square Garden, hence why it will be a "fun" night for him.
The Associated Press reported that the NBA All-Star Game hasn't been in New York City since 1998. During that year, it was Michael Jordan's last with the Chicago Bulls and the beginning for young upstarts like Duncan and Bryant.
While the All-Star Game will take place at Madison Square Garden, the Sprite Slam Dunk will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Saturday. According to a press release issued by the NBA, the judges for this year's event will include NBA Legends Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Walt "Clyde" Frazier, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Bernard King and Chris Mullin, all of whom have ties to New York.
"Erving, an iconic dunker and three-time ABA MVP with the Nets, is a Long Island native and 11-time NBA All-Star," the NBA wrote. "Frazier led the New York Knicks to two NBA titles and is in his 26th season as a Knicks broadcaster."
The NBA added that Archibald was "born and raised in the Bronx," while King is "a four-time All-Star from Brooklyn." In addition, Mullin was a "Brooklyn native" who had "a 16-year NBA career that included five All-Star appearances."
The NBA's press release noted that other forms of entertainment will take place during this weekend's festivities. British pop singer Ella Henderson will make an appearance and American pop icon Christina Aguilera will perform alongside the Rockettes before the All-Star game starts.
The State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which has the Sprite Slam Dunk, will begin on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT, while the 64th NBA All-Star Game will air on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. While both options may require an online subscription, online viewers can stream both events through the website TNT Overtime or on NBA League Pass.