The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will take place later today at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana.Last time NBA All Star was held in New Orleans, I covered it too on a night defense enthusiasts felt let down, as the teams combined for an All-Star-record 318 points in the East’s 163-155 win, a record that was dismantled in last year’s All Star game. The 66th edition will see Western Conference team former friends and now nemesis Oklahoma Thunder star Russell Westbrook and Golden State Warriors Kevin Durant play together for first time since the latter deserted Oklahoma Thunder last season. Westbrook has won Most Valuable Player honours in the last two editions and in my view he remains a favourite to win it for the third time in a row.Westbrook is averaging a triple-double with 31.1 points per game, 10.5 rebounds per contest and 10.1 assists per night. The Western Conference won 196-173 in Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star appearance last year, a game that set all-time All-Star Game records for most combined points at 369, most points by one team at 196 and most combined three-pointers at 51.Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr will coach the Western Conference.The Eastern conference will provide the game’s oldest player in Carmelo Anthony, 32, who luckily made it as Kevin Love’s injury replacement and team coach is Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.Legendary hip-hop group The Roots are expected to perform an original NBA themed song called The Evolution of Greatness before the game.Other performance will also feature guests in the form of actors Daveed Diggs and Michael B. Jordan, musician Jidenna, rapper Darryl McDaniels and DJ Jazzy Jeff.The exit of Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan, the two legends that were part of All Star game for close to two decades has brought a change of guard in this year’s All-Star line up. I expect youngsters like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas, DeAndre Jordan and Gordon Hayward to display plenty of energy in the game. I love NBA All Star game and it’s almost a religion in me.
Even if I don’t play basketball, I usually watch it.When I was a kid in elementary school Physical Education (P.E.) classes consisted of playing sports like Basketball and obstacle courses where we stepped through tires to get to the finish line. The P.E. teacher used to pick team captains who would in turn pick their teams. I must admit I was always tried to play to the best levels to be considered but that never happened, perhaps because of my height.But that didn’t stop me from paying attention to basketball. Watching NBA matches on TV was something I did each week up until the end of school years. On and off again, I could look up to see how Manchester United are kicking soccer balls in the English Premier League. I’m a Basketball fanatic big time and thats why I will be glued to telly to watch the game in New Orleans. Eastern Conference team starting line up will have Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) while on the reserves there’s John Wall(Washington Wizards), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics), Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and Paul Milsap (Atlanta Hawks). Western Conference starting line up will include Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets), Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) and home team’s Anthony Davis of New Orleans Pelicans. On the reserve there will be Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies) and Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors).