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NBA ALL-STAR SUNDAY NIGHT GAME: WEST DEFEATS EAST


February 14, 2016 - On Sunday night, PACERS Paul George (Eastern Conference) made All-Star history. PG racked up a whopping 41 points, nailing an All-Star record nine 3-pointers. George's 41 points were just one shy of the all-time record of 42, set by Wilt Chamberlain. George finished the game 16-of-26. The West, however, topped the East 196-173. NBAE/GettyImages
The NBA All-Star Game is never short on storylines and this year's contest was no exception.
All eyes were on Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, as he takes part in his 18th and final All-Star Game on Sunday night in Toronto. There was also been plenty of attention on the three All-Stars from the defending champion Golden State Warriors — on pace to put together the best regular season in league history — and the two All-Stars from the hometown Raptors.READ MORE....

THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS

 
NBA All-Star Game Toronto (2016) Nelly Furtado Sings 'O Canada' [HD] via TNT The TSG Network The TSG Network Published on Feb 14, 2016 NBA All-Star Game Toronto (2016) Nelly Furtado Sings 'O Canada' [HD] via TNT - Starring Kobe Bryant (We Will Miss You) Category Gaming License Standard YouTube License --


NBA All-Star Game Toronto (2016) NE-YO Sings 'The Star Spangled Banner' [HD] via TNT The TSG Network The TSG Network Published on Feb 14, 2016 NBA All-Star Game Toronto (2016) NE-YO Sings The American National Anthem [HD] via TNT - Starring Kobe Bryant (We Will Miss You) Category Gaming License Standard YouTube License

ALSO: NBA All-Star Game 2016 - Kobe Bryant takes centre stage; Raptors Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan shine bright in star-studded game


FEBRUARY 14 -It was all about Kobe Bryant for many fans at Sunday's All-Star Game. The Lakers great plans to retire at the end of the season. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty)
NBA All-Star 2016 Saturday night: Dunk contest wows Toronto 'Sneakerheads' seek coveted kicks at Toronto's 'All-Star' Ultimate Sneaker Show NBA All-Stars in Toronto 'is a dream come true,' says Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia Farewell Kobe.  Hello Kyle and DeMar.The Air Canada Centre in Toronto was packed on Sunday night for the NBA All-Star Game, the annual contest that pits the league's best against each other in a fierce battle to see who can make the most highlight plays. In the end, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder was named MVP, but two Toronto Raptors played a starring role in the evening's festivities.  READ MORE...WATCH GAME HIGHLIGHTS ON VIDEO...

ALSO: PRE-GAME EVENTS - Kobe's final All-Star weekend has become a world affair
[As decorated career comes to close, Bryant soaks in accolades]


FEBRUARY 12 -TORONTO — So this is where the All-Star trail ends, here in a place that's currently colder than his stare, in a foreign country that wouldn't be his first choice (he was partially raised in Italy) and where he has absolutely positively no meaningful basketball moments. "I think me and Vince Carter went at it a few times," Kobe Bryant said, trying to shake a fuzzy memory. Perhaps. Nobody thinks of Kobe and Toronto in any great historical context and if anything, he ranks behind Carter in terms of direct influence on this generation of Canadian youth basketball. It's true that his epic 81-point game was unleashed on the hometown Raptors, although that was enjoyed by the spoiled fans in Los Angeles. That said, this very underrated basketball town will suit Kobe's All-Star farewell just fine, because how could it not? "This is his weekend," said Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and East Stars. "It's his last hurrah." Really, it wouldn't matter where Sunday's game is played. The basketball universe is one big country without a border, and a player like Kobe is internationally known anyway. When he took a seat in the interview chair Friday, surrounded by more cameras than any Kardashian sister sees, he spoke to a group of journalists that was 50 percent American, 50 percent from elsewhere. Not many players get that diverse of an audience, and few can connect as well; as he often does in these settings, Kobe entertained questions in English and Spanish. "This is pretty cool," he said, surveying the scene. "I'm looking around the room and see guys that are tearing the league up who were like four when my first All-Star Game came along. READ MORE...

ALSO: THE PLAYERS - 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors headline the list of 14 players


FEBRAURY 15 -Green, a first-time selection, and Thompson, an All-Star for the second year in a row, join Western Conference starter Stephen Curry of Golden State to give the NBA-leading Warriors (42-4) three All-Stars for the first time since the 1975-76 season.
The 65th NBA All-Star Game will be televised by TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the first All-Star Game held outside the U.S. The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages. TNT will air the All-Star Game in the U.S. for the 14th straight year, marking Turner Sports’ 31st year of NBA All-Star coverage. Sportsnet ONE and TSN will simulcast the All-Star Game in Canada. Along with Green and Thompson, the other West reserves are LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers). The Eastern Conference reserves are Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics) and John Wall (Washington Wizards). READ MORE...

ALSO: Toronto NBA All-Star Game 2016: Canada’s ‘Golden Era’ Of Basketball


THIS IS FEBRUARY 13 -July 24, 2015 Photo: Canada's Jamal Murray (4) gets a hand slap from teammate Brady Heslip as they walk off the court following a Canada victory over the United States in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, July 24, 2015. PHOTO: RICK MADONIK/GETTY IMAGES
Sixteen years ago, Vince Carter reinvigorated the NBA All-Star Weekend’s slam-dunk contest, which had become passé and tired. Carter did things people could only imagine or, rather, things people had not bothered to imagine were possible: He jumped, dunked and stuck his arm elbow-deep into the hole, rising so high it left the announcers stunned, unsure of what had happened. “Wait a moment. Have you ever seen that?” they asked during the broadcast. The contest was decided by the time Carter finished his second dunk, an incredible bouncing-alley-oop-through-the-legs number that he followed by famously miming, “It’s over,” waving his hands, telling everybody else to call it a night. Walking away from the hoop, Carter was clad in an aggressively purple jersey spelling out “T-o-r-o-n-t-o” in thin, arching script. PHOTO -
Vince Carter's performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contents is arguably the best since Michael Jordan in 1987. Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images And while the 2000 slam-dunk contest was a landmark moment for the NBA, it was also the first major touchstone for Canadian basketball, with hoop fans and young athletes across the land cheering for the Toronto Raptors’ best player as he took over the international stage. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

NBA ALL-STAR SUNDAY NIGHT GAME: EAST FALLS TO WEST


February 14, 2016 - On Sunday night, Paul George made All-Star history. PG racked up a whopping 41 points, nailing an All-Star record nine 3-pointers. George's 41 points were just one shy of the all-time record of 42, set by Wilt Chamberlain. George finished the game 16-of-26. The West, however, topped the East 196-173. NBAE/GettyImages

MANILA, FEBRUARY 15, 2016 (nba.com) by Wheat Hotchkiss Pacers.com Writer/Editor @Wheat_Hotchkiss Posted: Feb 14, 2016 - The NBA All-Star Game is never short on storylines and this year's contest was no exception.

All eyes were on Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, as he takes part in his 18th and final All-Star Game on Sunday night in Toronto. There was also been plenty of attention on the three All-Stars from the defending champion Golden State Warriors — on pace to put together the best regular season in league history — and the two All-Stars from the hometown Raptors.

READ MORE...


February 14, 2016 - By the end of the third quarter at the 2016 All-Star Game, Paul George led all scorers with 32 points, and tied an NBA All-Star Game record by nailing eight 3-pointers. NBAE/Getty Images

But Pacers forward Paul George's star shone brighter than anyone's on Sunday night at the Air Canada Centre. The Pacers forward led all scorers with 41 points — over twice as many as any Pacers player has ever scored in a single All-Star Game and one shy from breaking a 54-year-old record — and set a new league record 3-pointers made in the mid-season showcase.

It wasn't quite enough to lead the East to victory, as the West pulled away in the second half for a 196-173 win, but George's performance had everyone buzzing.

"I think to start out everyone wants a chance to win MVP in the All-Star Game," George said. "That was definitely a goal. So much special stuff wrapped around this one.

"It would have been a special moment to win it. But really, it was really just about coming here and enjoying everyone's -- just enjoying being with these guys, man, and having a good showing."

No one got off to a hotter start on Sunday night. Playing his third All-Star Game, the six-year NBA veteran swished his first shot of the night, a 3-pointer. Moments later, he caught an alley-oop from Dwyane Wade.

That seemed to put PG in a rhythm reminiscent of some of his early-season performances. George knocked three of his next four shots from beyond the arc, helping the home East squad build an early lead.


Western Conference's Kobe Bryant, of the Los Angeles Lakers, (24) offers a thumbs up as he leaves the game towards the end of NBA All-Star Game basketball action in Toronto on Sunday, Feb.14, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) FEBRUARY 15, 2016

Thanks to his hot hand, George logged the longest shift of any All-Star starter in the first quarter, playing 7:58 and accumulating 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, going 4-for-7 from 3-point range.

George checked back into the game with 3:36 remaining in the second quarter. He added a one-handed dunk to his tally in the final minute, finishing the half with 16 points and three rebounds.

In the third quarter, George set a franchise All-Star Game record and matched an NBA mark. After an early alley-oop from LeBron James got him to 18 points, George buried his fifth triple of the night with 10:29 left in the period to give him 21 points, breaking his own record for most points by a Pacers player in an NBA All-Star Game (18 in 2014 in New Orleans).


East Forward: Paul George

PG continued to show off his shooting stroke over the next few minutes. He hit two more threes and a floater before knocking down his eighth triple of the night with 3:33 left in the quarter, matching the NBA record for threes in an All-Star Game (Carmelo Anthony previously pulled off the feat in 2014).

East head coach Tyronn Lue said that Anthony made George aware that he was within striking distance of his record and the two stars were joking about it as George drew nearer and eventually surpassed Anthony's mark.

"PG and John Wall, they were serious," Lue said. "They weren't messing around tonight. They took the game more serious than everybody else did (on the East team), and you could see the outcome with Paul."

George added nine points to his tally in the fourth quarter, pulling within one point of Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 record for most points in a single All-Star Game. He missed a step-back jumper over Draymond Green in the right corner in the final minute and couldn't get another clean look, as the West locked down on him defensively.


February 14, 2016 - The Eastern Conference All-Stars pose for a team photo. NBAE/Getty Images

He finished the night one point shy of the record, matching Russell Westbrook's 41-point performance in last year's game. George made 16-of-26 shots on the night, going 9-for-19 from 3-point range.

George's big night was perhaps the biggest milestone since his return from breaking his right leg in August 2014, an injury that caused him to miss all but the final six games of last season.

"It's really special," George said of the game. "You know, I had a hard-fought summer, hard-fought rehab year. It was just a very upward climb. It took every day and really every moment of rehab to get through it."

George's performance drew plenty of praise from his fellow competitors.

"I'm actually amazed looking at him," San Antonio Spurs and West team head coach Gregg Popovich said. "Every time he runs up and down the floor and jumps up for those dunks and everything, I'm thinking, wow, the human body must be amazing, it really must be amazing.

"To come back and play at that level athletically, it just stuns me every time I see him out there...It's great that he's back."

Westbrook took home MVP honors for the second straight year, leading the West with 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists, and five steals.


Curry Splashes and Smashes as West Win All-Star Game  -Reigning MVP Scores 26 Points; Thompson and Green Shine in Highest Scoring All-Star Game in NBA History Posted: Feb 14, 2016  It was the highest scoring All-Star Game in NBA history, and of course the league’s highest scoring player had a little something to do with it. Stephen Curry knocked down six 3-pointers and finished with 26 points as the West took down the East, 196-173, on Sunday night in Toronto.

MORE PHOTOS AT  http://www.nba.com/warriors/gameday/20160214/all-star-recap


CBC.CA

NBA All-Star Game 2016: Kobe Bryant takes centre stage; Raptors Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan shine bright in star-studded game CBC News Posted: Feb 14, 2016 10:15 PM ET Last Updated: Feb 15, 2016 12:12 AM ET


It was all about Kobe Bryant for many fans at Sunday's All-Star Game. The Lakers great plans to retire at the end of the season. It was all about Kobe Bryant for many fans at Sunday's All-Star Game. The Lakers great plans to retire at the end of the season. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty)

NBA All-Star 2016 Saturday night: Dunk contest wows Toronto 'Sneakerheads' seek coveted kicks at Toronto's 'All-Star' Ultimate Sneaker Show NBA All-Stars in Toronto 'is a dream come true,' says Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia Farewell Kobe.

Hello Kyle and DeMar.

It's easy to see why DeRozan and Lowry are top of the league.

DeMar DeRozan: Toronto Raptors AVERAGES PER GAME THIS SEASON POINTS 23.3, REBOUNDS 4.3, ASSISTS 4.1, Salary: $10.05 million; Toronto is his second all-star appearance. If there’s some type of players’ tribute in this game for Kobe Bryant, expect DeRozan to be a big part of it. The Compton native grew up idolizing Bryant and the influence on DeRozan’s game — from the Kobes on his feet and the relentless use of pump fakes and skilled footwork — is obvious.
KYLE LOWRY
: Toronto Raptors AVERAGES PER GAME THIS SEASON POINTS 18, REBOUNDS 5, ASSISTS 6.2 Salary: $12 million; Toronto is his second all-star appearance. He was voted in on a last-minute surge from Raptors fans (the second year in a row this has happened), but Lowry’s play has him deserving of his spot as a starting all-star. The 29-year-old has helped lead the Raptors to their best-ever record through 50 games.

TORONTO STAR FILE

The Air Canada Centre in Toronto was packed on Sunday night for the NBA All-Star Game, the annual contest that pits the league's best against each other in a fierce battle to see who can make the most highlight plays.

In the end, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder was named MVP, but two Toronto Raptors played a starring role in the evening's festivities.

READ MORE...

Here are a few of the highlights.

The Kobe show


Toronto All-Star Kobe Magic Laker love: Magic Johnson gives Kobe Bryant an affectionate head rub after toasting him before the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto. (John Rieti/CBC)

Fireworks burst behind Lakers star Kobe Bryant as he entered his final All-Star game – possibly the biggest game he'll play as his career winds down.

[Clicking some links you may have to click BACK button on browser to come back to PHNO]

Kobe Bryant honoured before last NBA All-Star Game appearance

Magic Johnson, another Laker great, toasted Bryant during a pre-game ceremony.

Bryant thanked the roaring crowd — who chanted "Kobe! Kobe! Kobe!" repeatedly — telling them how happy he was to be playing in the All-Star Game.

"It's thrilling to be here," he said.

Expect him to get plenty of shots tonight, fan Roland Martin said.

"Tonight's all about Kobe."


Toronto NBA All-Star LeBron James smiles as he goes one-on-one with Kobe Bryant. (John Rieti/CBC)

Raptors roaring

The Raptors All-Stars, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, both entered to thunderous applause and both put on a show.

Lowry had 14 points and 10 assists, including several spectacular alley-oop lobs.

And DeRozan scored 18 and did this in the process:


Russell Westbrook had the crowd on their feet after this dunk. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

Westbrook, the game's MVP as voted by fans, rained down three-point shots and threw down some powerful dunks. But it was his dance moves and great big grin that surprised journalists.

What happened to the ultra-aggressive Westbrook of the regular season?

"I know a lot of people don't see me smile a lot during the season, so I like to smile a little bit during the All-Star Weekend and enjoy my time and have fun," Westbrook told reporters after the game.

Looks good on him.

What's better?


Toronto NBA All-Star Die-hard Raptors fans Chris and Richard had plenty to cheer about tonight. (John Rieti/CBC)

So what's better, an All-Star Game or a Raptors playoff push?

Chris Oak and Richard Fung, both decked out in Raps gear, said it's a toss up.

"Both are amazing feelings," Oak said, admitting this weekend has left him feeling star-struck.

Raptors games do have an intensity, Fung said, as all the fans are cheering for the same thing. But then again, the All-Star Game is special: "We're probably never going to get the All-Star Game again," he said.

Hey coach, want to go for dinner?


Torontonians Alison and Gareth Gibbins were probably the biggest Spurs fans at the Air Canada Centre. (John Rieti/CBC)

Torontonians Alison and Gareth Gibbins are big San Antonio Spurs fans, in case you couldn't tell from the picture. But it's not just the players they love, it's the coach — the brilliant and surly Gregg Popovich, who was coaching the West team.

"I want to see Pops. I want to see him smile," Alison said.

"If there's one person I could have dinner with in the whole world, it would be Popovich," Gareth added.

"And not to talk basketball, just to talk about life. It would be awesome."

The pair has been attending All-Star events all week, including a charity event held by Spur and former Raptor, Matt Bonner. How much did it cost?

"It was the same as a March break trip for four," Alison said, noting it was all worth it.

It's cold here, eh?


Toronto NBA All-Star: It was a full house at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday night. (John Rieti/CBC)

Emil Sheth was born in Scarborough, but now resides in the warmer climes of northern California, where he and his friends, Robert, Shital and Bhavna, are all big Golden State Warriors fans.

For Sheth, coming to a NBA All-Star Game was on the "bucket list."

"Who can resist Toronto when it's negative 30?" he said, laughing.

Roland Martin, who was born in Houston but now lives in Washington, said bringing the game to Canada was a clever move by the NBA.

"When you look at just the number of players from around the world, the expansion of the league, it just fits in perfectly," he said, adding it gives people a chance to use their passports.

"I definitely want to come back — when it's warm."

Toronto NBA Fans Toronto basketball fans have been loving the All-Star weekend.

West vs East | Full Game Highlights | February 14, 2016
NBA All-Star Weekend --2016 NBA Highlights Published on Feb 14, 2016 Category People & Blogs License Standard YouTube License


NBA.COM

Kobe's final All-Star weekend has become a world affair
As decorated career comes to close, Bryant soaks in accolades POSTED: Feb 12, 2016 4:32 PM ET BY SHAUN POWELL

TORONTO — So this is where the All-Star trail ends, here in a place that's currently colder than his stare, in a foreign country that wouldn't be his first choice (he was partially raised in Italy) and where he has absolutely positively no meaningful basketball moments.

"I think me and Vince Carter went at it a few times," Kobe Bryant said, trying to shake a fuzzy memory. Perhaps.

Nobody thinks of Kobe and Toronto in any great historical context and if anything, he ranks behind Carter in terms of direct influence on this generation of Canadian youth basketball.

It's true that his epic 81-point game was unleashed on the hometown Raptors, although that was enjoyed by the spoiled fans in Los Angeles. That said, this very underrated basketball town will suit Kobe's All-Star farewell just fine, because how could it not? "This is his weekend," said Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and East Stars. "It's his last hurrah."

Really, it wouldn't matter where Sunday's game is played. The basketball universe is one big country without a border, and a player like Kobe is internationally known anyway. When he took a seat in the interview chair Friday, surrounded by more cameras than any Kardashian sister sees, he spoke to a group of journalists that was 50 percent American, 50 percent from elsewhere.


Kobe Bryant Farewell Tour Biggest Stop is in Toronto For NBA All Star Game

Not many players get that diverse of an audience, and few can connect as well; as he often does in these settings, Kobe entertained questions in English and Spanish. "This is pretty cool," he said, surveying the scene. "I'm looking around the room and see guys that are tearing the league up who were like four when my first All-Star Game came along.

READ MORE...

How many players can say they played 20 years and have seen the game go through a few generations?

It's not a sad moment for me. I'm really happy and honored to be here and playing on this team and in this city."

As much as they've spent their time apart, Kobe and Toronto basketball grew up together. Toronto was awarded a franchise in 1995 and Bryant was drafted straight from high school a year later.

In that sense, Toronto has a firmer connection with Kobe than, say, Michael Jordan, who only had a half-dozen peak years left. The locals only got to enjoy Kobe for the Lakers' once-a-season visit, and of course they never met in the NBA Finals, and so the admiration of Kobe was mainly from afar.

This isn't the Kobe they, or us, once knew. By his own admission, the retiring 20-year veteran is "old as hell," he said, laughing. Although that part has been long forgiven and totally understood.


2016 NBA All-Star Game Tickets in Toronto Most Expensive In At Least Last Six Years . Feb 04, 2016 -In a new article by Forbes found here it tells us that the 2016 NBA All Star Game in Toronto is the most expensive tickets in at least the last six years. How come? Well, you have a couple of factors. This is the first one ever outside the USA and you have CAD money and people want to see all the greatest basketball players under one roof. Who knows if it will ever come back this North. We know Vancouver had a team for a while and that moved to Memphis. Another is the Black Mamba AKA Kobe Bryant last NBA All Star Game. This is a farewell to one of the best basketball players of our generation. If Kobe Bryant career was not troubled by that rape accusation can you imagine the pedestal he would be on right now? 5 rings - MVP's and scoring titles and much much more. Well Kobe was acquitted of being raped by the girl in Utah, but if you want to get raped for some NBA All Star Game tickets click here to buy! allstarweekendtoronto.com

The basketball public spoke and voted him as an All-Star starter anyway, and nobody objected, not even fellow players who probably lost a spot on the team because of Kobe. His legacy has meant that much to this generation. His body, an old 37, has aggressively waved the white flag, making this the only time that any part of Kobe has given up.

Therefore, what you'll see on Sunday is a museum piece, and a somewhat fragile one. "I'll be good with 10," he said, when asked how much playing time he'd like.

All-Star moments are rarely crystalized and preserved in our memory banks, mainly because the game itself is a simple exhibition. You've seen one, you've pretty much seen them all.

Some are exceptions: Magic Johnson in 1992 after his HIV announcement being the most pronounced. Kobe's first All-Star Game might be No. 2 on the unforgettable list. It was the Passing the Torch game, meaningful for that and other reasons.

Kobe was just 19, the youngest All-Star ever. The setting was New York and the arena was the Garden. It was 1998 and Jordan was making his final appearance as a Bull (though no one knew for sure at the time).

With Jordan on the East (coached by Larry Bird no less) and Kobe on the West, the square-off was just too irresistible to ignore, and the pair fed everyone's appetite by trading baskets. In a sense, that scene will be repeated Sunday because Kobe will have so many torches in his hands, he might burn his fingers.

There is Steph Curry and LeBron James, Paul George and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and others who were raised on basketball by Kobe.


CLOCKWISE: Kobe Gives LeBron His Game Shoes; Kobe Bryant signs his game-worn shoes for LeBron James following Kobe's final game in Cleveland.

"I think we owe a lot to him," said LeBron. "He inspired a lot of people in this generation and the best way to honor him is to inspire others in return, and that's what I've tried to do."

Westbrook is an LA kid and therefore worshipped Kobe, and said: "I used to try and copy his moves, and definitely learn how to prepare myself and play hard and bring a competitive spirit the way he did."

In his first game against Kobe, Westbrook was thrilled, not just because he finally had the chance to be on the same court with his basketball idol. "I was a little nervous but I didn't have to guard him," Westbrook said, laughing. "I had Derek Fisher. And I never switched off."

Most of Kobe's fellow Stars treasure not only the games against him, but his advice and his time, which he willingly gives. Kobe gave his cell number to John Wall, who was a rookie then, and Wall just stared at it. "Couldn't believe it," Wall said.

"But that's the kind of great player he is. He just wants to put you in the right position to get better as a basketball player." Let Kobe explain why: "We all have dreams, and when you go through the process, you sometimes hit roadblocks. You might give up on dreams and lose the imagination. I had roadblocks but I never gave up on it."

Kobe Bryant's All-Star Mixtape Take a look back at Kobe Bryant's greatest highlights from his 17 All-Star games.

 
FROM YOU TUBE: Kobe Bryant's ULTIMATE All-Star Mixtape -NBA Published on Feb 11, 2016 Check out Kobe Bryant's CRAZY All Star Mixtape! About the NBA: The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. The league is truly global, with games and programming in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages, as well as NBA rosters at the start of the 2015-16 season featuring 100 international players from 37 countries and territories. For the 2015-16 season, each of the league's 30 teams will play 82 regular-season games, followed by a postseason for those that qualify. The NBA consists of the following teams: Atlanta Hawks; Boston Celtics; Brooklyn Nets; Charlotte Hornets; Chicago Bulls; Cleveland Cavaliers; Dallas Mavericks; Denver Nuggets; Detroit Pistons; Golden State Warriors; Houston Rockets; Indiana Pacers; Los Angeles Clippers; Los Angeles Lakers; Memphis Grizzlies; Miami Heat; Milwaukee Bucks; Minnesota Timberwolves; New Orleans Pelicans; New York Knicks; Oklahoma City Thunder; Orlando Magic; Philadelphia 76ers; Phoenix Suns; Portland Trail Blazers; Sacramento Kings; San Antonio Spurs; Toronto Raptors; Utah Jazz; Washington Wizards. The NBA offers real time access to live regular season NBA games with a subscription to NBA LEAGUE PASS, available globally for TV, broadband, and mobile. Real-time Stats, Scores, Highlights and more are available to fans on web and mobile with the NBA App.

No, he didn't crumble from some early playoff setbacks, from losing Shaquille O'Neal, from playing alongside Smush Parker, from losing a pair of NBA Finals that he'd like to have back.

After 19-plus years and three surgeries of late, Kobe is an All-Star once again and isn't taking it for granted. "When you're young, you never think you're going to get old," he said. "You never think you're going to be hurt, that your body's going to give out. Time has a funny way of doing that. It humbles you, brings you down to Earth. Gravity."

Kobe will surely receive the kind of applause on Sunday that Canada usually reserves for hockey greats. Toronto has a young franchise but knows basketball. Kobe taught it well. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.


INSIDEHOOPS.COM

MEET THE THE EAST & WEST PLAYERS

2016 NBA All-Star Weekend Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors headline the list of 14 players selected by the NBA’s head coaches as reserves for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. 2016 NBA All-Star Game InsideHoops.com | Feb. 15, 2016

Green, a first-time selection, and Thompson, an All-Star for the second year in a row, join Western Conference starter Stephen Curry of Golden State to give the NBA-leading Warriors (42-4) three All-Stars for the first time since the 1975-76 season.

The 65th NBA All-Star Game will be televised by TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14 from Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the first All-Star Game held outside the U.S.

The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages. TNT will air the All-Star Game in the U.S. for the 14th straight year, marking Turner Sports’ 31st year of NBA All-Star coverage. Sportsnet ONE and TSN will simulcast the All-Star Game in Canada.

Along with Green and Thompson, the other West reserves are LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs), DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers).

The Eastern Conference reserves are Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls), DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

READ MORE...

Curry, Green and Thompson comprise the Warriors’ first trio of All-Stars since Rick Barry, Phil Smith and Jamaal Wilkes 40 years ago. Green (14.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 7.2 apg) leads the NBA in triple-doubles with eight, while Thompson (20.9 ppg) ranks second in three-pointers made with 140.

Also for the West:

· Aldridge, in his first season with the Spurs (39-7), earns his fifth consecutive All-Star nod.

· Cousins, the only NBA player ranked in the top five in scoring (27.3 ppg) and rebounding (11.3 rpg), is an All-Star for the second straight season.

· Davis makes his third All-Star team in a row. He is the only NBA player averaging at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots.

· Harden, the NBA’s second-leading scorer (27.5 ppg), is making his fourth consecutive trip to the All-Star Game since joining the Rockets in 2012.

· Paul has been chosen as an All-Star for the ninth straight year. He owns the highest assist average in All-Star Game history (12.9 apg).

In the East, Drummond and Thomas have been named All-Stars for the first time. Drummond, who leads the NBA in rebounding (15.2 rpg) and double-doubles (38), is Detroit’s first All-Star selection since Allen Iverson in the 2008-09 season. Thomas, the 60th and final pick of NBA Draft 2011, is averaging career highs of 21.6 points (12th in the NBA) and 6.6 assists (ninth in the NBA).

Also for the East:


DeMar DeRozan #10, Chris Bosh #1, John Wall #2, LeBron James #23, Dwyane Wade #3 and Kyle Lowry #7 of the Eastern Conference prepare before the game against the Western Conference during the 2016 NBA All-Star Game on February 14, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. February 14, 2016| Bildnachweis: Joe Murphy

· Bosh, who spent his first seven seasons in Toronto, earns his 11th consecutive All-Star selection. Among active players, only Kobe Bryant (18 selections in a row), LeBron James (12) and Miami teammate Dwyane Wade (12) have longer current streaks.

· Butler, who is averaging a career-high 22.3 points (11th in the NBA), makes his second straight All-Star appearance.

· DeRozan, who is averaging a career-high 23.0 points (ninth in the NBA) and leads the league in points on drives, is an All-Star for the second time. DeRozan and Toronto teammate Kyle Lowry, an East starter, are set to become the first starting backcourt to play in the All-Star Game in their home city since the Los Angeles Lakers’ Jerry West and Gail Goodrich in 1972.

· Millsap is making his third consecutive trip to the All-Star Game since joining the Hawks in 2013. He is scoring a career-high 18.3 points per game in his 10th season.

· Wall, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December, is an All-Star for the third year in a row.

The 14 reserves were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences -- two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at any position. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.

The starters in both conferences were selected through NBA All-Star Voting 2016 presented by Verizon. The East starters are Dwyane Wade (Heat), Kyle Lowry (Raptors), LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Paul George (Indiana Pacers) and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks). The West starters are Stephen Curry (Warriors), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Kevin Durant (Thunder) and Kawhi Leonard (Spurs).

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game. If the injured player is a starter, the head coach of that team will determine the replacement in the starting lineup.

The Spurs’ Gregg Popovich and his staff will coach the West All-Stars, while the Cavaliers’ Tyronn Lue and his staff will lead the East All-Stars.

2016 NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
No. Player (Team) Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA All-Star

7 *Carmelo Anthony (NY) F 6-8 240 05/29/84 Syracuse 9
1 Chris Bosh (Mia) F 6-11 235 03/24/84 Georgia Tech 11
21 @Jimmy Butler (Chi) G 6-7 220 09/14/89 Marquette 2
10 DeMar DeRozan (Tor) G 6-7 220 08/07/89 Southern Cal 2
0 #Andre Drummond (Det)C 6-11 279 08/10/93 Connecticut 1
16 &Pau Gasol (Chi) F/C 7-0 250 07/06/80 FC Barcelona (Spain) 6
13 *Paul George (Ind) F 6-9 220 05/02/90 Fresno State 3
23 *LeBron James (Cle) F 6-8 250 12/30/84 St. Vincent/St. Mary HS 12
7 *Kyle Lowry (Tor) G 6-0 205 03/25/86 Villanova 2
4 Paul Millsap (Atl) F 6-8 246 02/10/85 Louisiana Tech 3
4 #Isaiah Thomas (Bos) G 5-9 185 02/07/89 Washington 1
3 *Dwyane Wade (Mia) G 6-4 220 01/17/82 Marquette 12
2 John Wall (Was) G 6-4 195 09/06/90 Kentucky 3

Head Coach: Tyronn Lue (Nebraska)
Assistant Coaches: Jim Boylan (Marquette); Bret Brielmaier (Arizona); Larry Drew (Missouri); James Posey (Xavier); Phil Handy (Hawaii), Mike Longabardi (Frostburg State)
Athletic Trainer: Scott McCullough and Ray Chow (Toronto Raptors)

*denotes starter
#denotes first-time selection
@denotes injured player
&denotes injury replacement

2016 NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE ALL-STARS
No. Player (Team) Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate Prior to NBA All-Star

12 LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) F 6-11 240 07/19/85 Texas 5
24 *Kobe Bryant (LAL) F 6-6 212 08/23/78 Lower Merion HS 18
15 DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) C 6-11 270 08/13/90 Kentucky 2
30 *Stephen Curry (GS) G 6-3 190 03/14/88 Davidson 3
23 Anthony Davis (NO) F 6-10 220 03/11/93 Kentucky 3
35 *Kevin Durant (OKC) F 6-9 240 09/29/88 Texas 7
23 #Draymond Green (GS) F 6-7 230 03/04/90 Michigan State 1
13 James Harden (Hou) G 6-5 225 08/26/89 Arizona State 4
2 *#Kawhi Leonard (SA) F 6-7 230 06/29/91 San Diego State 1
3 Chris Paul (LAC) G 6-0 175 05/06/85 Wake Forest 9
11 #Klay Thompson (GS) G 6-7 215 02/08/90 Washington State 2
0 *Russell Westbrook (OKC) G 6-3 200 11/12/88 UCLA 5

Head Coach: Gregg Popovich (Air Force Academy)
Assistant Coaches: Ime Udoka (Portland State); Chip Engelland (Duke); Chad Forcier (Seattle Pacific); Ettore Messina (Italy); James Borrego (San Diego); Becky Hammon (Colorado State)
Athletic Trainer: Will Sevening and Paul West (San Antonio Spurs)

*denotes starter
#denotes first-time selection
@denotes injured player
&denotes injury replacement


IBTIMES.COM

Toronto NBA All-Star Game 2016: Canada’s ‘Golden Era’ Of Basketball BY TIM MARCIN @TIMMARCIN ON 02/13/16 AT 8:11 AM 481833856


July 24, 2015 Photo: Canada's Jamal Murray (4) gets a hand slap from teammate Brady Heslip as they walk off the court following a Canada victory over the United States in the Pan Am Games in Toronto, July 24, 2015. PHOTO: RICK MADONIK/GETTY IMAGES

Sixteen years ago, Vince Carter reinvigorated the NBA All-Star Weekend’s slam-dunk contest, which had become passé and tired.

Carter did things people could only imagine or, rather, things people had not bothered to imagine were possible: He jumped, dunked and stuck his arm elbow-deep into the hole, rising so high it left the announcers stunned, unsure of what had happened.

“Wait a moment. Have you ever seen that?” they asked during the broadcast.

The contest was decided by the time Carter finished his second dunk, an incredible bouncing-alley-oop-through-the-legs number that he followed by famously miming, “It’s over,” waving his hands, telling everybody else to call it a night.

Walking away from the hoop, Carter was clad in an aggressively purple jersey spelling out “T-o-r-o-n-t-o” in thin, arching script.


Vince Carter's performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contents is arguably the best since Michael Jordan in 1987. Sam Forencich/NBAE/Getty Images

And while the 2000 slam-dunk contest was a landmark moment for the NBA, it was also the first major touchstone for Canadian basketball, with hoop fans and young athletes across the land cheering for the Toronto Raptors’ best player as he took over the international stage.

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The showstopping performance by Carter, who is not Canadian but came to prominence while playing on the country’s only remaining NBA team, helped usher in an unlikely emergence of basketball in a nation best known for hockey.

And when the NBA All-Star Game tips off in Toronto Sunday, it will be both the first time the game is played outside the U.S. and the latest landmark moment for hoops in Canada, which — thanks to a crop of talented stars, increased youth participation and the success of the Raptors — is in the midst of a booming “golden era,” say people involved with the game in Canada.

 

The roots of Canadian basketball run deep, in fact, almost as deep as they possibly could. Dr. James Naismith invented the game at a Massachusetts YMCA branch in 1891, and many remember him as the coach at the University of Kansas. But Naismith was from Almonte, Ontario, and he served as the first athletic director at Québec’s prestigious McGill University.

Despite Canada’s connection with its inventor, basketball was a bit of an afterthought there for many years. But it has grown, especially during the past two decades.

After the Raptors’ and Vancouver Grizzlies’ humble beginnings in the mid-1990s (the Grizzlies would later leave for Memphis), the Carter performance in the slam-dunk contest served as an early major point of pride while capturing a lot of attention.


NASH

Then came Steve Nash, who went from growing up in British Columbia to winning back-to-back MVP titles in the NBA in 2005 and 2006.

The generation of players that followed Nash encompassed unprecedented talent. It used to be that one or two Canadians were on NBA rosters at any given time, but now there’s a dozen, more than any country outside the U.S. Dan MacKenzie, vice president and general manager at NBA Canada, said these players can trace their basketball lineage back to seminal moments for Canadian hoops.

“If you polled the 12 Canadian [NBA players] and said, ‘Tell me about [your] most memorable experiences as a fan,’ they would tell you about Vince Carter winning the dunk contest ... they’d point to Steve Nash winning back-to-back MVPs,” MacKenzie said.

Having stars begets more stars. If there are local players to cheer for, more Canadian kids are going to want to play the sport. And the country’s current crop of young players is enviable.


Andrew Wiggins of Kansas poses for a photo with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after Wiggins was drafted No. 1 overall in the first round by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2014 NBA Draft. Raptors' options at No. 20, Wiggins vs. Parker: A guide to the NBA draft The Cavs went for a freshman from Vaughan, Ont., to open the draft for the second straight year and hope Wiggins works out better than Anthony Bennett of Brampton, Ont.NATIONAL POST ONLINE

Leading the pack is Andrew Wiggins, drafted first overall in the NBA by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014, who won Rookie of the Year recognition and has shown signs of becoming a future superstar. Before Wiggins was drafted first overall, Anthony Bennett was selected first by the Cavaliers in 2013, making Canada the only nation outside the U.S. to have back-to-back No. 1 selections.

Other Canadian first-round draft picks in the NBA include their teammate Tristan Thompson, the Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Nik Stauskas, the Utah Jazz’s Trey Lyles and the San Antonio Spurs’ Cory Joseph.

Wiggins, Lyles and fellow Canadian Dwight Powell of the Dallas Mavericks were even selected to represent the so-called world team in the NBA All-Star Weekend BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto Friday. While Nash, the man most closely associated with Canadian basketball, has retired and moved on to become general manager of Canada Basketball, there’s hardly been a more promising time for hoops in Canada.

“This completely is a golden era for basketball in Canada,” MacKenzie said.

Ahead of the NBA All-Star Game, data show that basketball has grown in the country. MacKenzie said NBA Canada’s following on Twitter has grown five times larger over the past year.

Across the country, more people — young people especially — have adopted basketball as their own.

Basketball ranked as the No. 3 team sport among youths in Canada, behind hockey and soccer, according to the most recent Canadian Youth Sports Report.

And while it has not reached hockey levels of popularity yet, basketball has been growing at a fast rate, outpacing other team sports. The same report also noted that basketball is the top sport among newcomers in a country where immigration accounts for 80 percent of its population growth. In other words, more and more people who love basketball are coming to Canada.

“We will be repeating our youth sports research later this year and expect a further bump [in basketball’s popularity],” said Kaan Yigit, a researcher at Solutions Research Group Consultants Inc., which put out the Canadian Youth Sports Report in 2014. NBA Canada’s MacKenzie specifically referenced an influx of people from China and the Philippines as a big part of the game’s growth.

“On a fairly big-picture basis, I have to think one day we will look back and think of the last 10 and the next 10 years as the golden years for basketball in Canada,” Yigit wrote in an email to International Business Times.


Basketball player Andrew Wiggins (left) waves to the crowd after passing the Pan American Games torch to Steve Nash (right) during the opening ceremony of the 2015 Pan Am Games at the Pan Am Ceremonies Venue in Toronto last July. PHOTO: REUTERS/ROB SCHUMACHER/USA TODAY SPORTS

Almost a decade ago, Tony McIntyre partnered his basketball program with another top team, aiming to get Canada’s best young players college scholarships. It worked. And as the game continues to boom in Canada, there’s a good chance the best young players will go through McIntyre’s CIA Bounce Basketball program. Both Bennett and Wiggins both played for CIA Bounce, as did Milwaukee Bucks guard Tyler Ennis, McIntyre’s son.

As American players on the AAU circuit do in the U.S., the top Canadian players have begun to commit to the sport at an early age, playing year-round. Programs such as CIA Bounce have shaped what Canada basketball looks like at the youth level, which has, in turn, shaped the end product.

The cream of the Canadian crop of recruits went from being bench-warmers in college to national sensations like Wiggins. And a future crop of stars could be watching the NBA All-Star Weekend, with Wiggins an attraction at the NBA’s party-focused weekend in Toronto.

“It gets people talking about the success that’s been had over the past five years,” McIntyre said. “This is kind of like that shining light on Canada, on Toronto ... I think people here are taking it very seriously, saying this is our All-Star Game.”

NBA all-star game unfolds in ice-box temperatures-Steam rises as people look out on Lake Ontario in front of the skyline during extreme cold weather in Toronto on Saturday, February 13, 2016 Image1 The Canadian Press/Mark Blinch

TORONTO — NBA players and fans alike woke up to a frigid all-star Saturday. The city was an ice-box. Temperatures late morning in Toronto plummeted to minus-23 Celsius, which felt like minus-34 according to the Weather Network. Two hours later, it had "warmed" up to minus-21, which still felt like minus-27. One visiting reporter from Atlanta called Toronto a wonderful city, but lamented it was too cold to enjoy it. A photographer trying to find a weather shot had to call it quits when his camera stopped working in the cold.CANADIAN PRESS

That’s a reflection on basketball’s surge in popularity in Canada, but especially in Toronto. The Raptors are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference and fresh off a 2015 in which the fan base rallied around the motto, “We The North.”

There’s talent on the team, with both DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry named Eastern Conference all-stars. And with hip-hop superstar Drake, who is set to receive the key to the city this weekend, stepping in as the team’s global ambassador, it’s now also cool to be a Raptors fan.

Looking forward, Jamal Murray, averaging 18.5 points per game at the University of Kentucky, looks like the next big Canadian thing. And the women’s national team has already qualified for the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics, while the men’s team will be looking to do the same. The pieces are in place.

“The average age of a national team is 28 or 29, and the average of our team is 22,” said Canada Basketball CEO Michele O’Keefe. But before the Olympics, there’s this weekend in Toronto and the chance to create that next landmark moment. Canada Basketball will be running around all weekend putting on events for locals in Toronto to give them a taste of the game in an attempt to parlay the big event into new fans.

“Hockey’s still Number One in the hearts and minds of Canadians — not that we want to push hockey out of the way — but we’d like to do better,” O’Keefe said.

McIntyre took that sentiment one step further: “Fifteen years from now, we could look back and say, ‘The All-Star Game changed everything.’”


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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