The Peach Basket Preview: NBA All-Star Weekend 2013

All-Star Weekend. For some, it’s about the recognition of a tremendous amount of work and skill exhibited over the course of a half a season. For others, it’s a time to rest and recharge for the upcoming push to the playoffs (or, you know, order bottle service). But for most of us, it’s an excuse to sit on the couch all weekend and watch fun, no-strings-attached basketball.

No matter how cynical I become, I will always enjoy the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. After all, what’s not to like? The Rising Stars Challenge gives you a chance to see the future of the league compete in big minutes OR take part in a Shaq-Barkley drinking game. There’s absolutely no way to like basketball and not find joy in the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest or Slam Dunk Competition. And it’s all topped off by the pièce de résistance on Sunday night, where we are all treated to the utopic dream of no-defense basketball.

We can look forward to all of this and more, as NBA TV, ESPN and TNT are providing three days of joint coverage, televising everything from the big game to brunch (seriously, they’re televising brunch). So sit back, relax, and read on to find out what’s in store for you this weekend.

Hit the jump for All-Star Weekend start times, channel listings and all of the biting TPBhoops commentary you’ve come to know and love.

Sprint All-Star Celebrity Game – Friday at 7 p.m. on ESPN

The NBA is really stretching the definition of “celebrity” with this one. I mean, Arne Duncan, the United States Secretary of Education is participating…. Because his surname is “Duncan”, I guess? Kevin Hart will be there, running his already tired shtick further into the ground. Trey Songz and Ne-Yo will combine to form the best-harmonized backcourt in basketball history. Oh, and Dikembe Mutombo of GEICO-fame is playing.

So, tune in! Or do something better with your life. Whatever.

BBVA Rising Stars Challenge – Friday at 9 p.m. on TNT

First things first, make sure you watch this game on mute. Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley facing off in a battle of wits (during which, I am sure they will be mic’d) is going to produce some mind-numbingly horrible commentary.

Once you get past that, this game should actually be a lot of fun. Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes lead Team Shaq against the likes of Anthony Davis, Kenneth Faried and Ricky Rubio. While the game itself is completely inconsequential, it should lead to some amazing highlights.

D-League All-Star Game – Saturday at 3 p.m. on NBA TV

I guess if you’re into that kind of thing…

All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm – Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on TNT

For me, the Saturday night events are where it’s at.

It starts with the Shooting Stars, which, true to its name, is a shooting competition from various spots on the floor. It will feature four teams, each composed of a current NBA player, NBA legend and WNBA star, competing against each other. From the East, there will be Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash as well as Brook Lopez, Muggsy Bogues and Tamika Catchings. The West will field James Harden, Sam Cassell and Tina Thompson with Russell Westbrook, Robert Horry and Maya Moore.

Next is the Three-Point Contest. While it may be lacking the star power of last year, where Kevin Love defeated Kevin Durant, there are quite a few deadeyes in this year’s pool. Representing the East will be Paul George, Kyrie Irving and Steve Novak. They will be up against Ryan Anderson, Matt Bonner and Stephen Curry of the West. Will the Stretch 4s reign supreme again, or can the guards wrestle back the title?

Finally, there is my personal favorite event of All-Stat Weekend, the Slam Dunk Competition. Yet again, none of the top NBA stars will be competing, but don’t let that turn you off from this event. Every single member of this field is capable of pulling off some ridiculous feats. James White and Gerald Green have got to be the favorites, but don’t count out Eric Bledsoe. After all, there’s a reason they call him “Mini Lebron”.

All-Star Game presented by Kia – Sunday at 8 p.m. on TNT

It’s the Slam Dunk Competition, Part Deux!

I don’t care what you say, no league does the All-Star game better than the NBA. It doesn’t have all of the stupid politics surrounding it like in baseball. It doesn’t occur the week before the Super Bowl, excluding the best players from the two best teams. It isn’t hockey. It’s just pure, unadulterated, unguarded basketball.

Sure, it’s a glorified exhibition, but it’s a really fun glorified exhibition. Who doesn’t want to watch Chris Paul throw a lob to Kevin Durant? So stop being such a fuddy-duddy and enjoy it.

Full Schedule of Events

FRIDAY, FEB. 15

• 10:30 a.m. | BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Practice | NBA TV

• Noon | Basketball Hall of Fame announcement | NBA TV

• 12:30 p.m. | NBA GameTime: All-Star interviews | NBA TV

• 1:30 p.m. | NBA All-Star Media Day Live Stream | NBA.com

• 5 p.m. | The Beat | NBA TV

• 6 p.m. | The Jump | NBA TV

• 7 p.m. | Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game | ESPN

• 9 p.m. | BBVA Rising Stars Challenge | TNT

• 11 p.m. | Inside The NBA | TNT

• 11:30 p.m. | NBA GameTime | NBA TV

SATURDAY, FEB. 16

• Noon | East/West Practice & Player Interviews | NBA TV

• 3 p.m. | 2013 D-League All Star Game | NBA TV

— D-League Dunk Contest at halftime

• 7 p.m. | Commissioner Stern news conference | NBA TV

• 7 p.m. | Open Court, All-Star | TNT

• 8 p.m. | TNT NBA Tip-Off | TNT

• 8:30 p.m. | NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm | TNT

— 2013 Sears Shooting Stars (1st Event)

— 2013 Taco Bell Skills Challenge (2nd Event)

— 2013 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest (3rd Event)

— 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk (4th Event)

• 11 p.m. | TNT NBA Special | TNT

• 12 a.m. | NBA TV All-Star Weekend presented by Kia | NBA TV

SUNDAY, FEB. 17

• 1 p.m. | Legends Brunch | NBA TV

• 5 p.m. | NBA GameTime All-Star | NBA TV

• 6 p.m. | Sprint Pregame Concert | NBA TV

• 7 p.m. | TNT NBA Tip-Off | TNT

• 8 p.m. | NBA All-Star Game presented by Kia | TNT

• 11 p.m. | Inside the NBA | NBA TV

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