Friday , Feb , 16 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Little Nate highlights NBA All-Star festivities

(Sports Network) – New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson will have another
chance to defy gravity when he opens defense of his Slam Dunk title
Saturday night during the NBA All-Star Game festivities.

Robinson will join Boston’s Gerald Green, Orlando’s Dwight Howard and
Chicago’s Tyrus Thomas on NBA All-Star Saturday Night at the Thomas & Mack
Center in Las Vegas on February 17. The 5-9 Robinson topped Philly’s Andre
Iguodala in a dunk-off last year with an attempt assisted by former champion
Spud Webb on a bounce pass.

Even though Robinson needed a few tries to top Iguodala, he joined Webb as
the only players six feet and under to capture a dunk title. Webb was
crowned champion back in 1986.

Robinson will now try to become the first back-to-back dunk champion since
Golden State’s Jason Richardson turned the trick in 2002 and 2003. Robinson,
Green, Howard and Thomas will be judged by former dunk champs and a few
Hall of Famers in Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter
and Julius Erving.

Saturday night’s festivities will also feature the Three-Point Shootout,
Skills Challenge, Shooting Stars contest, Rookie Challenge and Celebrity Game.

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki will try to defend his three-point
title when he goes against Washington’s Gilbert Arenas, Miami’s Damon
Jones and Jason Kapono, Memphis’ Mike Miller and teammate Jason Terry.
Nowitzki shot down Arenas and Seattle’s Ray Allen in Houston last year.

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade shoots for his second straight Skills Challenge
title on Saturday. Wade defeated Cleveland superstar LeBron James last year
after completing the obstacle course in 26.1 seconds. James finished with a
33.7-second time. Bryant, James and Phoenix guard Steve Nash are the other
competitors, but Nash will miss the contest due to a shoulder injury. Hornets
guard Chris Paul will take Nash’s place in the Skills Challenge.

In the Shooting Stars contest, San Antonio will defend its title after beating
out Los Angeles, Phoenix and Houston last year. Each team is comprised of a
current NBA player, a former NBA star and a current WNBA player from the city.

The Rookie Challenge will feature NBA rookies versus second-year players
in Las Vegas. Raptors rookie Andrea Bargnani will head a list of first-
year players, including Jordan Farmar from the Lakers, Minnesota’s Randy Foye,
teammate Jorge Garbajosa, Memphis’ Rudy Gay, Utah’s Paul Millsap,
Charlotte’s Adam Morrison, Portland’s Brandon Roy and New Jersey’s Marcus

The Sophomore squad will be comprised of the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, Golden
State’s Monta Ellis, Charlotte’s Raymond Felton, Indiana’s Danny Granger,
Houston’s Luther Head, New York’s David Lee, the Hornets’ Paul and
Utah’s Deron Williams.

Iguodala posted 30 points as the Sophomores topped the Rookies, 106-96, last
year at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Also on Friday, the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game will take place in Las Vegas.
The East team will have stars David Arquette, Taye Diggs, Carrot Top,
Nelly and others, while the West squad will roll out the likes of Jamie
Foxx, Jamie Kennedy, Reggie Bush and Tamika Catchings.

The NBA Developmental League will also have an All-Star Game early Saturday on
Center Court at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

On Sunday, the 56th NBA All-Star Game will close out the weekend extravaganza.