The long awaited NBA all-star weekend finally arrived, and it did not disappoint. The weekend was hosted in Indiana and was filled with fun festivities and elite basketball.

New York Knicks star point guard Jalen Brunson competed in the game this year in what was his first all-star appearance in his career. He played 17 minutes and scored 12 points with 2 three-pointers and 5 assists.

It was a fantastic debut for Brunson as he also competed in the three-point contest. He scored 24 which was just short of the mark to reach the final round. It was an all-around fun and successful weekend for the Knicks star.

This weekend was more than just star players, however, as the many challenges give opportunities to new and younger players to make their mark on the league and impress players, coaches, and fans.

Dunk Contest

The dunk contest is the most exciting and anticipated event of every all-star weekend. Four of the best dunkers in the league compete to shock the world and impress the judges to win as dunk contest champion.

This is a contest that the New York Knicks have experience with. Former Knicks Obi Toppin and Nate Robinson have won in recent memory. Toppin won only two years ago in 2022. Robinson was a three-time dunk contest champion, the only player to ever do so.

This year’s contestants included Jaime Jaquez, Jr. of the Miami Heat, Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, and the reigning champion Mac McClung who plays in the G-league for the Osceola Magic.

It’s important to recognize G-league players who compete in this contest as it’s an opportunity for young and developing players to make a name for themselves. McClung received all the hype from winning last year and was a clear favorite for this contest.

The last competitor is also on a G-league roster that hits close to home. Jacob Toppin, brother of former dunk contest champion Obi Toppin, plays for the Westchester Knicks and was given the opportunity to compete this year.

Toppin had a creative dunk package to display for the fans leaving everyone impressed. In his first attempt he jumped over his brother on a reverse baseline dunk. He received a 47.8 for this dunk giving him high hopes to make the finals.

His next dunk was mesmerizing as he did a reverse 360 and went between the legs. Unfortunately, the judges penalized him for missing his first try on this dunk. The judges aren’t supposed to let missed dunks influence their scores, but they gave him a 47.2 and he failed to make the final round.

It was still a great performance for the young G-leaguer who made a name for himself and is looking to make it onto the New York Knicks official roster.

Steph Vs. Sabrina

The newest challenge added to all-star weekend marked a historic point in the history of professional basketball. The Steph Vs. Sabrina three-point challenge was a crossover between the NBA and WNBA as two of the best shooters in all of professional basketball competed against each other.

Stephen Curry is a household name for the NBA who has changed the game forever. He is simply the greatest three-point shooter to ever do it, reaching unbelievable marks throughout his career.

He leads in practically every shooting statistic there is and had a total of 3,642 three-pointers made heading into this all-star weekend. This is nearly 700 more than the next player on the list.

Curry faced off against WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu in a three-point challenge breaking gender boundaries that have been in place for years.

Ionescu plays for another team close to home, the New York Liberty. This past Summer she competed in the WNBA three-point contest and broke a record. She made 25/27 shots to score 37 points and win the contest.

This performance stunned the world and put Ionescu and the WNBA on the map. What started as a humorous Twitter exchange between the two sharpshooters resulted in the Steph Vs. Sabrina challenge.

It was an exciting competition and it shaped the future of the NBA. Ionescu shot first and immediately showed off her skills, draining the first 5 in a row. She finished with 26 points, tied with the highest point total in the actual three-point contest this year.

As impressive as this was, Stephen Curry is still the best shooter on the planet. He finished with 29 points and took the victory.

Despite her defeat, Ionescu changed the world of basketball. She proved that women can compete in basketball and are deserving of more praise. The two players hinted at continuing this challenge for years to come and potentially bringing different players from their respective leagues into the mix.

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James Haupt is The Messenger Papers' weekly Sports Reporter and Staff Writer, covering everything from local little leagues to professional sports teams. James is also a full-time college student at Villanova University majoring in Journalism.