Before the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge tipped off, Shaquille O’Neal, general manager of Team Shaq, boldly trumpeted a 20-point margin of victory for his squad. What he got was the inverse of the desired results—Team Chuck, managed by Charles Barkley, toppled Team Shaq 163-135 to help kick off the All-Star Weekend festivities Friday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
The Rising Stars Challenge gave esteemed first and second-year players the stage to showcase their talents. It was a collective of upstarts giving the fans a crystal ball look into the future of the NBA.
The Most Valuable Player accolade went to Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried. Faried proceeded to ramshackle his way to 40 points and 10 rebounds for Team Chuck.
“Me and my team came out pretty much just focused and wanted to get the win,” said Faried.
Team Chuck was handily in control for much of the contest, outscoring Team Shaq 90-66 at halftime, and they never looked back. 163 points is the highest point total in the history of the event.
Tristan Thompson of the Cleveland Cavaliers had 20 points and 10 rebounds. San Antonio Spurs guard Kawhi Leonard added 20 points for Team Chuck.
Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving led Team Shaq with 32 points and six assists. Dion Waiters, another Cavaliers player, added 23 points off the bench.
It was typical All-Star Game ingredients—a cornucopia of dunks, 3-point attempts 12 inches or more from behind the arc, sleight of hand passing and anything sensational over conventional—all to elicit the “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd at the Toyota Center. Both teams didn’t disappoint in that aspect.
All-Star Weekend continues on Saturday, which is highlighted by the Slam Dunk Contest and Three-point Shooting Contest, among other events. The weekend culminates in the All-Star Game, which tips off on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. ET.