RUBIO HEADLINES ALL STAR FRIDAY CAST

ricky_rubio_568Spanish star Ricky Rubio will complete his return with an NBA All Star Weekend appearance after being named in the line-up for Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge in Houston which is live on ESPN.

In the draft of rookie and second year NBA players conducted by Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith, Team Shaq selected Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers while Team Chuck picked Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Hornets second overall.

Prior to the Draft, Smith added Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Isaiah Thomas of the Sacramento Kings to the player pool.

Joining Lillard on TEAM SHAQ are Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Tyler Zeller (Cleveland), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte).

In addition to Davis, TEAM CHUCK is comprised of Rubio, Thomas, Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Montenegro’s Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Isaiah Thomas (Sacramento Kings), and Russia’s Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves).

Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans will defend his title in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk. contest

Should the forward take home the 2013 Slam Dunk crown, he would become the sixth player in NBA history to win multiple Dunk titles, and would join the select group of Michael Jordan (1987, 1988), Jason Richardson (2002, 2003) and Nate Robinson (2009, 2010) as the only players to win the title in back-to-back years.

“It is very exciting to have the opportunity to participate, not just for the first time, but to be able to go back for a second time,” said Jeremy Evans.  “I want to top what I did last year and come out and try to win it again.”

Evans will face five contenders in his quest for back-to-back championships including Gerald Green (Indiana Pacers), Terrence Ross (Toronto Raptors), James White (New York Knicks), Eric Bledsoe (Los Angeles Clippers) and Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets).

The six dunkers will compete in a two-round competition. The highest scoring competitor from the Eastern Conference and the highest scoring competitor from the Western Conference will advance to the Championship Round to compete head-to-head for the title. Fan voting will open at the beginning of the Championship Round.

Two teams representing the Western Conference and two teams representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the 2013 Sears Shooting Stars as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.

Representing the Western Conference from the NBA are James Harden, who earned his first career All-Star Game nod in his inaugural season with the Houston Rockets, and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The WNBA stars for the West are Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, a 2012 Olympic gold medal winner and 2011 WNBA champion, and the Seattle Storm’s Tina Thompson, the WNBA all-time leading scorer. NBA Legends Sam Cassell and Robert Horry, who played a combined 31 seasons in the league and won 10 NBA championships, round out the West representation. Cassell and Horry were teammates on a Rockets team that won back-to-back titles in 1994-95.

On behalf of the Eastern Conference from the NBA are Chris Bosh, an All-Star and key member of the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat, and All-Star Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets, who earned his first All-Star nod. The WNBA Eastern Conference stars are Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky, a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Tamika Catchings, who guided the Indiana Fever to the 2012 WNBA title and earned Finals MVP honors along the way. The NBA Legends on the East squads are Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history at 5-3, who enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, a nine-time NBA All-Star, who finished with 26,668 career points.

Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs will defend his Taco Bell® Skills Challenge title against a field consisting of Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets, and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks.

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