SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The National Hockey League should probably take note: The NBA All-Star Weekend is worlds apart from such events in the wonderful world of professional sports in North America.
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Even before the presentation of the all-star game on Sunday evening, the big basketball event could be described as a complete success.
“This All-Star weekend is the one with the greatest economic impact in NBA history, with economic side effects estimated at $280 million for the Salt Lake City area,” Commissioner Adam Silver proudly announced during his press conference.
Saturday night’s skill challenge at Vivint Arena alone fueled the show, although some stars still preferred their turn for the infamous ‘dunks’ contest.
Mac McClung of the Philadelphia 76ers was the winner, to cheers from the crowd. The winner showed impressive momentum and stood 6 feet. 2 inches will have paid homage to Utah’s slogan, “Life Elevated,” notably featured on various billboards along the highways.
A perfect 50 and a 49.8 score allowed McClung to advance to the finals where he defeated Trey Murphy III of the New Orleans Pelicans. “Little Mac” won, earning two more perfect 50s in the process.
Lillard, king of three points
Among others, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers won the traditional three-point throw event. For his part, Indiana Pacers teammate of Quebecer Bennedict Mathurin Tyrese Haliburton shined with 31 points in the first round of this competition before losing in a final top three grouping.
“I cracked under the pressure,” replied Haliburton, author of 17 points in the finals compared to 26 for Lillard.
With his final shot, the winner was just ahead of Buddy Hield, another Pacers player.
Three Utah jazz players, Walker Kessler, Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson, won the team shot competition, much to the delight of viewers at Vivint Arena.
Both Las Vegas and Hollywood
Overall, the sporting event is larger than life. For a long weekend, Salt Lake City offers both Las Vegas and Hollywood flair.
It all started on Friday with the celebrity game and its red carpet featuring actor Ben Affleck, skier Lindsey Vonn and baseball legend Albert Pujols, among others. In the evening, Quebecer Bennedict Mathurin and his teammates won the promoted mini-tournament in a festive atmosphere.
“I really loved the event, I think it was a great weekend for me,” commented the Pacers rookie. Now I’m ready to return to Indiana to continue the season.”
Next year the Star Weekend will take place in Indianapolis. The appointment is taken for Mathurin and the other handymen of the NBA.