We might have a break from the Milwaukee Bucks, but the NBA is still going strong with All Star Weekend! The events in the coming days are a celebration of both the game and the league, and we have the best of the best coming together to showcase their talents.
As you’d expect, the Bucks have multiple representatives that will be present in Utah. First and foremost, Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo will participate in the showcase event, the All Star Game on Sunday.
Nothing but respect for our All-Stars!! pic.twitter.com/QcgPzSh94X— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 4, 2023
Giannis making an All-Star team isn’t a huge surprise anymore (and we’re lucky!) but this is Jrue’s first trip back in a decade. Holiday’s game isn’t necessarily the most aesthetically pleasing, save for perhaps his behind-the-backboard shots that go in far more often than they should, but his play this season absolutely deserves the recognition. Giannis, for his part, has been stellar, and will return to the captain’s chair this year. However, there is no televised All Star team draft like there was in past years; they’re picking teams right before the game. It’s like the schoolyard all over again!
Here’s the TV schedule, per NBA.com:
The only player Giannis can’t select for his team is LeBron James (since Bron is the other captain), so I wonder who the Greek Freak will pick. For posterity, here’s the roster:
2023 NBA All-Stars
|LeBron James (C)||Bam Adebayo|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo (C)||Jaylen Brown|
|Luka Doncic||Anthony Edwards|
|Joel Embiid||DeMar DeRozan|
|Kyrie Irving||De'Aaron Fox|
|Lauri Markkanen||Tyrese Haliburton|
|Donovan Mitchell||Paul George|
|Ja Morant||Jrue Holiday|
|Jayson Tatum||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander|
|Nikola Jokic||Julius Randle|
|Jaren Jackson Jr.|
The only strong bet I’d make here is that Giannis picks Jrue Holiday, because Giannis is loyal to his teammates and doesn’t care about drafting for much else. Beyond that, the first-time All Stars in this group include fellow starter Lauri Markkanen, and reserves Shai Gilgeous-Alexander De’Aaron Fox, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jaren Jackson Jr, so there’s a fair chance that most of those names will be on Team Giannis. Would that team win against Team LeBron? Who knows?!
Since he’ll be there anyway, Giannis has another event he’s joining, and because he’s a family man he’s bringing his brothers Thanasis and Alex along for the ride. Just like last year, the three Antetokounmbros will participate in the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge, and hopefully this time they can make it through to win the event.
But of course, the players on the court are only a part of what All-Star Weekend is set to recognize. The franchise has invested heavily in the “game ops” side of the business, and that means bringing in talent who can both cover the game and work the crowd. Fortunately, the Bucks have another pair of All Stars headed to Salt Lake City for the event: game host Melanie Ricks (who has also been a part-time sideline reporter, and done well!) and in-house turner-of-tables DJ Shawna.
Thankful beyond measure to be a 4x NBA All-Star host!! I’ll be hosting the All-Star game on Sunday night and feel so honored to be repping my city & team I love.— Melanie Ricks (@melaniebricks) February 7, 2023
Shout out to my fellow All-Stars. THANK YOU @bucks and @nba. See you next week in Utah #FearTheDeer #NBAAllstar pic.twitter.com/fZkP0vfWli
Absolutely honored to be a 3X @nba All Star DJ!— DJ Shawna (@DJShawna) February 7, 2023
Thank you to the @bucks organization and our LP&E squad for making this happen. Grateful and honored to represent the Bucks and our city of Milwaukee in Utah. pic.twitter.com/hGYeGWm3FV
You can find action on anything these days, even exhibition basketball. For the main event, where Giannis and LeBron will pick their teams and pit them against one another, the oddsmakers have given LeBron James a slight edge over our hometown hero. Is that because Giannis insists on drafting teammates, first-time All Stars, and fellow non-American players? Or is it something else? I have no idea, but if you do, put some money on it.