The entire NBA universe has descended on New York, and that can only mean that All-Star Weekend is upon us. This year, the Atlanta Hawks are prominently featured throughout the festivities, and Friday's kick-off evening also includes a Hawks-related slant.
While Friday is often the forgotten day of the trio, there is plenty happening. The slate begins with the always entertaining "Media Day" festivities (shown at noon on NBA-TV) and a legend in the blog industry, The Starters, take the main stage at 6:00 pm ET for a live show of their own.
Still, Friday evening is marked by two "major" events, and we take a glance at each of them here. Let's get it going.
Note: Events are listed in chronological order
Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game - 7:00 pm ET (ESPN)
Attention, basketball diehards. This one probably isn't for you.
As the title indicates, this is a celebrity extravaganza, and while there are some basketball-related names, they probably won't get a great deal of the focus. Atlanta does have a sports tie in this one, as Atlanta Dream star Shoni Schimmel is among the participants, and she is certainly worth the price of admission. Still, names like NBA-TV's Kristen Ledlow, Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera and former NBA stars like Chris Mullin and Allan Houston are prominently involved from the basketball side.
Oh, and Kevin Hart is playing... again.
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge - 9:00 pm ET (TNT)
For the first time in its history, the Rising Stars Challenge will be adopting a few format, as the game takes on a "U.S. vs. the World" focus. Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea, as the rookie-sophomore element often tilts firmly toward the more veteran players, and this should level the playing field, at least in theory.
The Atlanta Hawks are represented by none other than Dennis Schröder, who should see considerable minutes for the World team. Schröder and Utah Jazz first round pick Dante Exum are the only ball-handlers on this particular roster, meaning that we should see a lot of Dennis, especially of World Team coach (and Hawks assistant) Kenny Atkinson stays true to "his guy".
There is plenty to watch in this one, with Andrew Wiggins, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Victor Oladipo and others flying around, but in this space, we'll be caping for the always entertaining Schröder as a potential MVP candidate.
It should be a fun night in New York, and with nothing else to satisfy your NBA appetite on this particular day, we'll be bringing you wall-to-wall coverage. Stay tuned.