Note: The Man Crates team took extra effort to complete this piece without writing a single variation on something being “a slam dunk”, as we pride ourselves on steering clear of the low-hanging fruit of content creation. We hope that you appreciate our hard work and dedication in this matter.
The three-day party that is NBA All-Star Weekend is nearly upon us. We're so excited, we stacked up this NBA-themed beeramid. Star players from the Eastern and Western Conferences will descend on the the Crescent City for some tricks, treys and fan-tastic exhibition NBA action that is traditionally completely devoid of defense. Whether you’re just casually checking out the main event or hunkering down for a full weekend of two-screen viewing and feverish message board patrolling, grab some friends and some snacks and enjoy this clash of titans.
For a full schedule, including announcements, practices and online events, go to the official site. But here are the main events (all times are Eastern, so do the math if you're out west):
Friday, Feb. 17
7 p.m. | NBA All-Star Celebrity Game | ESPN
There aren’t enough opportunities in life to hear an announcer say, “Assistant Coach Fat Joe is NOT happy about that call,” or to see Mark Cuban go for a no-look, over-the-shoulder 3. May there be a thousand more NBA All-Star Celebrity Games to come. From NBA legends to musicians to WNBA greats to team owners to actors, the All-Star Celebrity Game is just basketball at its nuttiest. We’re talking about (2016 MVP) Win Butler from Arcade Fire toe-to-toe with Master P.
Fun fact: It’s super rare for game MVPs to come from losing teams, but it’s happened in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Games three times since 2005. Four if you count 2014’s game, where Kevin Hart, who was voted MVP and on the losing team, passed the award to former United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who was on the winning side. Isn’t this game wild?!
9 p.m. | BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge | TNT
The Rising Stars Challenge is an exhibition game where first and second-year NBA players compete. The format has changed a few times since the first game in 1994. It went from random selection to Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference to a draft by Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal to its current format (as of 2015), USA vs. World.
Some of today’s best players participated in the Rising Stars Challenge, so this game is a great way to get to know some of the new kids on the court.
Saturday, Feb. 18
8 p.m. | State Farm All-Star Saturday Night | TNT
- Taco Bell Skills Challenge (first event)
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is disappointingly not at all what it sounds like. Sponsorships are confusing. When Man Crates sponsors a stadium someday, each seat will come with a crowbar. Anyway, The Skills Challenge is like a big game of simultaneous HORSE. With obstacles.
- JBL Three-Point Contest (second event)
- Verizon Slam Dunk (third event)
These two events are pretty much exactly what they sound like. A handful of some of the best players in the league doing the near-impossible. Dunks from the snack bar and threes from the parking lot.
Sunday, Feb. 19
8 p.m. | 66th NBA All-Star Game | TNT
The weekend culminates with East vs. West, best vs. best. The players in this game were voted in by fans, NBA players and the media. What you end up with is something straight out of an arcade game or a fantasy league.
This game is where a majority of the music licensing and fireworks budget is spent. We’re talking epic player introductions. Also, All-Star Game halftimes are longer than usual NBA games to make room for a musical guest. John Legend is up this year.
Gathering a group to watch the events? Well, you gotta feed these people. Here are a couple of ideas for simple snacks that will make you look like an MVP of the mess hall.
What you need
What to do with it all
From way downtown, shoot the chickpeas, garlic and salt into a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds. Add tahini and process for another 15 seconds. Then add your lemon juice and a splash of water and process for 15 seconds. Scrape everything down, then drizzle in your olive oil as your processor runs until everything is smoooooth.
Transfer your hummus to a bowl and create a little divot if you want to add any extras. Try minced garlic, pomegranate seeds, parsley and/or toasted pine nuts. It’s hard to mess this stuff up.
East vs. West Exhibition Dip AKA Suns-Bucks Dip
This requires a little…guile…on your part. Tell your guests you ordered cheese from Wisconsin and chilis from Arizona to bring the two Conferences together for a perfect dip.
What you need
What to do with it all
Brown your meat in a large skillet. In a saucepan over low heat, begin melting the cheese. While that’s happening, stir in the diced tomatoes and chilis. Drain your ground meat and mix it into your very authentic Arizona chilis and Wisconsin cheese. Transfer the dip to a bowl and serve it while it’s hot.
Other Ways to Go Strong to the Hole
How about a Key lime pie and a pecan pie? Artichoke dip pizza?
After this weekend, the second half of the season is upon us. How can you show your support for your team as the finals draw near? Why, by drinking from chalices of champions. Our officially licensed NBA Barware Crate makes the perfect gift for the basketball fan in your life. Each crate comes with four dribble-proof pint glasses, four basketball textured coasters, a wood gym floor bottle opener and lineup of snacks. The shot clock’s ticking.