One of the best parts of NBA All-Star Weekend is Saturday's round of skills challenges. One of the youngest events, though at this point it's 12 years old, is the Shooting Stars competition. It's a simple concept, taking one current NBA superstar, one retired NBA star and a current WNBA star, to make for a thrilling show.
It's also an ingenious event for the NBA to put on because it works on multiple levels. In addition to giving fans a closer look at what makes the stars of today such great shooters, it honors the history of the league by including a legend and brings an audience to the WNBA that may not always be watching in the summer.
For three straight years, Miami Heat star Chris Bosh has helped lead his team to victory. Bosh has been flanked by NBA legend Dominique Wilkins and WNBA scoring forward Swin Cash. They've taken down the team's of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, James Harden, and many more as they seem to settle in as the Michael Jordan of Shooting Stars competitions.
The Shooting Stars competition has quietly become one of the more entertaining parts of the All-Star Weekend and that's not just by default. People love watching what ends up becoming a half court shooting competition. Sounds fun but it’s actually a lot more technical than just throwing basketballs from halfway down the court. You have to get through the other three shots on the floor before you get to the midway point on the floor, but once you get there, the drama builds and the crowd buys into the heaved attempts.
The Degree Shooting Stars includes four numbered shooting locations of increasing distance, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. All four teams will compete in the first round, and the two teams with the fastest times advance to the championship round. The team that finishes all four shots in the least amount of time in the championship round will be declared the winner.
There are also specific rules for each shot. For example, the first shot is a 10-foot bank shot from the right angle. If you don't score off the backboard, the shot doesn't count, and you must keep trying until it is correct.
Here's how the entire shooting chart looks:
A look at the 2015 Shooting Stars Challenge
Bosh and his Miami Heat teammates came up short in their quest for a third straight NBA title last June, but Bosh, Swin Cash and Dominque Wilkins were successful in winning a third straight title in the Degree Shooting Stars competition at State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.
Team Bosh defeated Team Westbrook -- Russell Westbrook, Anfernee Hardaway and Tamika Catchings -- in the final when, 57.6 seconds into their round, Wilkins knocked in the half-court shot. Team Westbrook failed to do that in 26 attempts, giving them a max time of 1:30.
With the team looking to 4-peat next year, Bosh and company will have some fierce competition against them when the NBA All-Star heads to Toronto.
Team Curry and Team Millsap were eliminated in the first round with times that would have won in the final. Team Curry -- Stephen Curry, Dell Curry and Sue Bird -- struggled on the second and third shots and finished with a time of 47.0 seconds. Team Millsap -- Paul Millsap, Scottie Pippen and Elena Delle Donne - had a good time out of the first three shots, but they needed nine attempts at the half-court shot and finished last with a time of 51.4 seconds. Both Team Bosh (:30.8) and Team Westbrook (:35.2) got the half-court shot within their first three attempts in the first round.
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