NEW YORK – Team Atlanta will attempt to become the first repeat Haier Shooting Stars champion as it competes against a field that includes squads representing New York, Texas and NBA All-Star 2012 host city Orlando at Amway Center on Feb. 25.
The home team, Team Orlando, includes the Orlando Magic‘s Jameer Nelson, an All-Star in 2009; Florida native and three-time WNBA All-Star Marie Ferdinand-Harris; and former Magic great Dennis Scott, who spent seven seasons with Orlando after the team made him the fourth overall selection of the 1990 NBA Draft.
Team Atlanta features the Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson, who was named an All-Star for the sixth time this year; Lindsay Harding of the reigning WNBA Eastern Conference champion Atlanta Dream; and NBA TV analyst Steve Smith, an All-Star selection in 1998 with the Hawks and a member of the 2003 NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Team New York is comprised of the New York Knicks‘ Landry Fields, who will also play for Team Shaq in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star Weekend; the New York Liberty’s Cappie Pondexter, a four-time WNBA All-Star and one of the league’s top scorers; and former Knicks great Allan Houston, who averaged 17.3 points over his 12-year NBA career, and currently works in New York’s front office as an assistant general manager.
Team Texas is represented by the Houston Rockets‘ Chandler Parsons, an Orlando-area native and second-round pick in 2011, who’s worked his way into the Rockets’ starting lineup as a rookie; the San Antonio Silver Stars’ Sophia Young, a four-time WNBA All-Star, who averaged 13.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in 2011; and TNT analyst Kenny Smith, a two-time NBA champion with the Houston Rockets (1994, 1995).
In last year’s competition, Team Atlanta, which featured Smith, the Hawks’
Al Horford and the Dream’s Coco Miller, defeated Team Texas in the final round with a time of 1:10.
Haier Shooting Stars will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm, which will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Sprite Slam Dunk, and Taco Bell Skills Challenge. TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from Amway Center. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 26, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries and will be broadcast in more than 40 languages.
The Haier Shooting Stars contest features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one TNT on-air talent/NBA legend on each team.
There are six numbered shooting locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course and the team that completes all six shots in the least amount of time is declared the winner. In the case of a tie, a shoot-off will be used to determine the winner.
Listed below are the previous winning teams from the Haier Shooting Star competition:
2004 (Los Angeles)
Magic Johnson (L.A. Lakers legend), Derek Fisher (L.A. Lakers), Lisa Leslie (L.A. Sparks)
Dan Majerle (Phoenix Suns legend), Shawn Marion (Phoenix Suns), Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury)
Steve Kerr (San Antonio Spurs legend), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Kendra Wecker (San Antonio Silver Stars)
2007 (Las Vegas)
Bill Laimbeer (Detroit Pistons legend), Chauncey Billups (Detroit Pistons), Swin Cash (Detroit Shock)
2008 (New Orleans)
David Robinson (San Antonio legend), Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Bill Laimbeer (Detroit legend), Aaron Afflalo (Detroit Pistons), Katie Smith (Detroit Shock)
Kenny Smith (Texas legend), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Becky Hammon (San Antonio Silver Stars)
Steve Smith (Texas legend), Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks), Coco Miller (Atlanta Dream)
I like Team Atlanta‘s squad this year. I would have gone with Marvin Williams instead of Joe Johnson, but Joe is no slouch so no complaints here. As we’ve seen already two times this season (here and here), Marvin is capable of hitting the toughest shot in the Shooting Stars challenge, the half court shot.
I still like Team Atlanta‘s chances this year to win though. On paper, they look really good. Joe Johnson is a proven All-star, Lindsey Harding is a solid starting Point Guard for the Atlanta Dream, and Steve Smith was a sharp shooter that still looks like he’s in pretty good shape.
Team New York looks to be the most talented opponent. They have a solid player in Landry Fields, a current WNBA Star in Cappie Pondexter, and a former All-Star guard who still looks like he’s in good shape in Allan Houston.
Still, I like Team Atlanta‘s chances on being the first back to back champions.
Go Team Atlanta, win one for the ATL!