The Milwaukee Bucks haven't had an NBA All-Star since Michael Redd in 2004, but they'll still be well represented this weekend at the NBA's annual all-star festivities in Toronto. Jabari Parker (Rising Stars Challenge), Khris Middleton (Three Point Shootout) and team owner Marc Lasry (Celebrity Game) are in town to rep the green and cream, and we'll have full coverage of their exploits over the course of the weekend. While the all-star game itself is on Sunday, things tip off tonight with a pair of Bucks-related events.
2016 All-Star Celebrity Game
Date: February 12
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Where: Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto
Bucks owner Marc Lasry will play under U.S. Team coach (slash comedian/actor) Kevin Hart in the 2016 Celebrity All-Star game. Lasry, who played basketball in college at Clark University, will play on the U.S. team alongside Jason Sudeikis, Michael B. Jordan, Anthony Anderson, Bryshere "Yazz" Gray, Nick Cannon, NBA All-Star and ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups, NBA legend Muggsy Bogues and WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne of the Chicago Sky.
Lasry said before the Bucks' Thursday night matchup against the Wizards that he's looking forward to the game and won't be welcomed back if he doesn't play at a high-level.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Lasry said, "I think it's going to be a blast. What else would you want to be doing?
"At the end of the day, the only way I know I'm coming back is if I get MVP."
Lasry has gotten advice from players about the game.
"They're just saying you've got to shoot, you've got to get lift." Lasry said. "Don't hesitate ... don't embarrass us."'
Team U.S. will face off against a Canadian team coached by hip-hop artist and Raptors "global ambassador" Drake. His assistants are two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and Toronto Blue Jays All-Star right fielder José Bautista. Team Canada will feature Stephan James, Arcade Fire's Win Butler, Drew and Jonathan Scott, tennis player Milos Raonic, actor and singer Kris Wu, seven-time NBA All-Star Tracy McGrady, NBA TV analyst Rick Fox and Natalie Achonwa of the Indiana Fever.
If nothing else, Lasry says he can take inspiration from his coach for the night.
"Well, I was a Division III shooting guard, and I just played for one year, but my intramural team won the championship," Lasry said. "Honestly, I've watched these games, and Kevin Hart has won the MVP four times.
"So how hard can it be?"
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge
Time:8 p.m. CT
Where: Air Canada Centre, Toronto
A year ago, Jabari Parker spent his all-star weekend recovering from surgery on his torn ACL. This year he's back where he belongs: on the court as part of the Rising Stars game for first and second year players. Parker will lead a U.S. Team roster featuring Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Jahlil Okafor, Marcus Smart, Rodney Hood, D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Zach LaVine, and Elfrid Payton. They'll face off against a World Team roster headlined by Andrew Wiggins, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic, Nikola Mirotic and Emmanuel Mudiay.
The only downside for Jabari is a lack of rest -- he's coming off a season-high 41 minutes last night and is the only participant who's making this a back-to-back. Not that the Rising Stars game is ever more than a glorified scrimmage anyway, but he'll have to rely on his young legs to carry him tonight.