Damian Lillard to break new ground
NEW YORK -- Portland's Damian Lillard will become the first player to compete in three events during All-Star Saturday night in New Orleans, including a slam dunk contest that features three All-Stars for the first time in 26 years.
Indiana's Paul George and Washington's John Wall also will take part in the night's marquee event Feb. 15. There haven't been three All-Stars in the dunk contest since the famed 1988 duel, when Michael Jordan beat Dominique Wilkins on his home floor in Chicago, in a field that also included Clyde Drexler.
Lillard, the reigning Rookie of the Year and a first-time Western Conference All-Star, will play in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night before defending his Skills Challenge title and competing in the 3-point contest.
Cleveland All-Star Kyrie Irving will defend his 3-point title against a field that also includes All-Stars Stephen Curry of Golden State, Kevin Love of Minnesota and Joe Johnson of Brooklyn, plus Orlando's Arron Afflalo, Washington's Bradley Beal and San Antonio's Marco Belinelli.
The Saturday night events will again feature an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format, with the teams competing for charity. George will captain the East and Curry the West.
Lillard will be paired with Utah's Trey Burke as the Skills Challenge is switching a team relay format. The other teams are: rookies Michael Carter-Williams of Philadelphia and Victor Oladipo of Orlando; All-Star DeMar DeRozan of Toronto and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee; and Goran Dragic of Phoenix and Reggie Jackson of Oklahoma City.
The teams for the shooting stars, which features a current and former NBA player teaming with a WNBA player, are: Kevin Durant, Karl Malone and Skylar Diggins; Chris Bosh, Wilkins and Swin Cash; Stephen Curry, Dell Curry and Becky Hammon; and Tim Hardaway Jr., Tim Hardaway Sr. and Elena Delle Donne.
The dunk contest, though, will take center stage.
Ross, who won it last year when he soared over a ball boy just outside the defensive circle, took the ball between his legs and dunked it, tweeted that he was excited to defend his title.
I'm going to New Orleans, baby! So excited to take flight in the NBA #SpriteSlam Dunk Contest this year. Get ready for a show on Feb.15!- Terrence Ross (@T_DotFlight31) February 7, 2014
George will have something to say about that, tweeted Pacers teammate Roy Hibbert.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.