International players take over NBA All-Star Game


By Eurohoops Team/ info@eurohoops.net

Plenty of European action coming up in the 72nd installment of the NBA All-Star Game.

Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to captain a team opposite LeBron James in the All-Star Game with Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Lauri Markkanen, and Domantas Sabonis among potential European teammates.

The Freak alongside his brothers Thanasis and Alex will additionally participate in the Skills Challenge, while Markkanen will compete in the Three-Point Contest. The Rising Stars Challenge includes Orlando Magic teammates Franz Wagner and Paolo Banchero.

And much more in Salt Lake City.

Beyond the European players, the NBA previewing the approaching events salutes the record-breaking field of 25 international players heading to the 2023 All-Star Game weekend.

Per the press release: “A record 25 international players from a record 17 countries will participate in NBA All-Star 2023 in Salt Lake City, including a record six international All-Star Game starters and a record-tying nine international All-Stars overall.

Below are international highlights of this year’s global celebration of basketball, which will reach fans in 214 countries and territories in a record-tying 60 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets:

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS

• For the first time, the NBA All-Star Draft presented by Jordan Brand will take place right before the 72nd NBA All-Star Game, which will tip off on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; ties to Nigeria) and LeBron James will serve as team captains after receiving the most fan votes in their respective conferences. International starters joining Antetokounmpo are Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks; Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon), Kyrie Irving (Mavericks; Australia), Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets; Serbia) and Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz; Finland). Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder; Canada), Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings; Lithuania) and Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon) make up the international All-Star reserves. Markkanen is poised to become the first player from Finland to play in an NBA All-Star Game.

• Jordan Rising Stars, which will take place on February, Feb. 17 at 9 p.m. ET on TNT, will feature nine international players: Sidy Cissoko (NBA G League Ignite; France), Josh Giddey (Thunder; Australia), Mojave King (NBA G League Ignite; Australia), Bennedict Mathurin (Indiana Pacers; Canada; ties to Haiti), Leonard Miller (NBA G League Ignite; Canada), Andrew Nembhard (Pacers; Canada), Alperen Şengün (Houston Rockets; Turkey), Jeremy Sochan (San Antonio Spurs; United Kingdom; ties to Poland) and Franz Wagner (Orlando Magic; Germany). Giddey (NBA Global Academy), King (NBA Global Academy) and Mathurin (NBA Academy Latin America) are all graduates of the NBA Academy program.

• The STARRY 3-Point Contest, which is part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT, will feature Markkanen and Buddy Hield (Pacers; Bahamas).

• The Kia Skills Challenge, also part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, will feature one team composed of three Antetokounmpo brothers: Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo (Bucks; Greece; ties to Nigeria) and Alex Antetokounmpo (Wisconsin Herd; Greece; ties to Nigeria).

• The NBA G League Next Up Game will take place on Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. ET on NBA TV. The 24-player field features seven international players: Charles Bassey (Austin Spurs; Nigeria), Cissoko, King, Miller, Neemias Queta (Stockton Kings; Portugal), Babacar Sane (NBA G League Ignite; Senegal) and Gui Santos (Santa Cruz Warriors; Brazil). In addition to King, Sane is a graduate of the NBA Academy program, having previously attended NBA Academy Africa and participated in the 2022 Basketball Africa League season as part of the BAL Elevate program.

GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

• A total of 73 international broadcast partners will televise NBA All-Star 2023. Six international television and digital networks – from China, France, Greece, Mongolia, Poland and Spain – will conduct live onsite commentary from Salt Lake City, and one digital partner – from Vietnam – will broadcast NBA All-Star remotely for the first time.

• Fans outside North America will be able to watch Jordan Rising Stars, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and the NBA All-Star Game through the NBA’s international broadcast partners and NBA League Pass via the NBA App.

• Fans around the world will be able to vote for the MVPs of the 2023 Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the NBA All-Star Game via NBA.com and the NBA App with an NBA ID, the league’s new membership program.

• Fans around the world can watch NBA All-Star Media Day presented by AT&T, in addition to post-event participant media availabilities throughout the weekend, live on the NBA App.

• The NBA App will feature All-Star-related content from 12 countries in six languages. The league’s social media channels around the world will also feature All-Star content throughout the weekend.

BASKETBALL WITHOUT BORDERS

• The NBA and FIBA will host the seventh annual Basketball Without Borders (BWB) Global camp from Feb. 17-19 at the Utah Jazz Practice Facility. The 40 top high-school-age prospects from 27 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe will participate in a variety of activities, including anthropometric and athletic testing, movement efficiency, skill development stations, shooting and skills competitions, life skills seminars and 5-on-5 games, under the guidance of NBA Basketball Operations staff and select NBA players attending NBA All-Star 2023.

• NBA All-Star 2023 features nine former BWB campers, including six who participated in BWB Global: Bassey (BWB Global 2017 and 2018), Embiid (BWB Africa 2011), Giddey (BWB Asia 2018; BWB Global 2020), Gilgeous-Alexander (BWB Global 2016), Mathurin (BWB Americas 2019; BWB Global 2020), Markkanen (BWB Europe 2014; BWB Global 2015), Nembhard (BWB Global 2017), Santos (BWB Americas 2019) and Siakam (BWB Africa 2012).

CELEBRITIES, INFLUENCERS, FILMS AND PERFORMERS

• The 2023 Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which tips off on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, will feature a team coached by Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo. Participants in the game include Latin global music icon and actor Nicky Jam; Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu; Indian-American comedian Hasan Minhaj; Brazilian TV host Marcos Mion; Nigerian-American WNBA All-Star Arike Ogunbowale; Dominican-American former professional baseball player Albert Pujols; Mexican-American television personality Guillermo Rodriguez (ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live correspondent); and Indian Bollywood star and NBA Brand Ambassador Ranveer Singh.

• Singh headlines a group of more than two dozen international influencers from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, South Africa and the UK who will receive exclusive behind-the-scenes access to the weekend’s events and create All-Star-themed content for fans in their home markets.

• “NBA Films for Fans,” a global initiative that will debut at NBA All-Star 2023, will engage filmmakers from 11 countries to develop 24 short documentary films celebrating the NBA and basketball from each of their respective cultural perspectives. Seven of the participating filmmakers – from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Senegal, the UK and the U.S. – will debut their films at an exclusive red-carpet event on Feb. 17 at Soundwell in Salt Lake City.

• Nigerian superstars – GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer Burna Boy, 2023 GRAMMY Award-winning singer and Oscar-nominated singer and producer Tems and rapper and singer Rema – will headline the NBA All-Star Game 2023 halftime show with an Afrobeats-themed performance.

ALL-STAR CELEBRATIONS AROUND THE WORLD

In addition to the events in Salt Lake City, fans around the world can share in the excitement through a variety of activations and programming. Below are highlights of select international partner activations:

• In Canada, Michelob ULTRA is helping bring NBA All-Star to life by creating the “No Snow Globe” – a functional replica of an NBA half-court inside a larger-than-life, five story high, inflatable dome. Placed in the heart of downtown Toronto from Feb. 16-20, basketball fans of legal drinking age can book a free 45-minute timeslot – regardless of the weather – and enjoy a complimentary post-game sample of Michelob Ultra while watching the action within the bubble.

• Fans outside North America will be able to watch Jordan Rising Stars, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night and the NBA All-Star Game through the NBA’s international broadcast partners and NBA League Pass via the NBA App.

• In Europe, fans can watch All-Star themed shows on the NBA App, including “The Undrafted”. Fans will also receive daily updates from several celebrities and content creators on the ground.

• BetPlay, the official betting partner of the NBA in Colombia, will host an NBA All-Star Game viewing party in Bogota featuring NBA Legend Ron Harper.

• Rakuten will host an NBA All-Star viewing party in Japan.

• In Indonesia, Vidio.com is running a sweepstakes that will provide fans with the opportunity to win a virtual meet-and-greet with NBA Legend Muggsy Bogues.

About NBA All-Star 2023

NBA All-Star 2023 in Salt Lake City, hosted in conjunction with the Utah Jazz, will bring together the most talented and passionate players for a global celebration of the league. The NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Vivint Arena, home to the Utah Jazz. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 21st consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 38th year of NBA All-Star coverage. Vivint Arena will also host NBA Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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