By Nathan Easington, Contributing Writer
Posted 04:40 PM EST, Sun., Feb. 26, 2017
The stars shined bright Friday.
Before Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets won the MVP award during the NBA Rising Stars Challenge, celebrities, known for their fame outside of basketball, participated in the Celebrity All-Star game on Feb. 17.
Fans have said in years past that the Friday night games are more exciting than the actual All-Star game, due to of the lack of defense and effort by NBA participants in the All-Star game. Most players play “soft” to preserve their bodies for the actual season. This year was no different.
The celebrity game, which graced the audience with the presence of stars like, Howard University’s own Nick Cannon, owner of the Mavericks Mark Cuban, NBA legend Jason Williams and rapper Master P, was controlled by East from start to finish. Brandon Armstrong, who was the game’s MVP, had a bit of an advantage, as he played in the NBA-D league and overseas for a period of time.
Armstrong, who finished the game with 16 points and 15 rebounds, may have been the game official MVP, but the “real MVP”, as Kevin Durant once said, was 14 year-old Jarrius Robertson. Going a perfect 1-1 in the fourth quarter, Robertson showed the crowd the true meaning of having fun while playing a sport. He shot and made his first and only shot of the game with a smile on his face. Contrary to the poker face he played with, Robertson’s life is threatened as he battles a chronic liver disease.
The Rising Stars Challenge also occurred, which consisted of first and second year NBA players who are divided into two teams based on their origin countries. Natives of America are play for the U.S. team, while players from foreign countries play for the World team. Murray finished a total of 36 points. He was a rival of Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets and Karl Anthony-Towns, who finished with 27 and 24 points, respectively. Buddy Hield, who was playing on his former home court in New Orleans, had his eyes set on the MVP, after sinking four three pointers himself.
“When a guy is hot, you can’t be selfish and not give the guy the ball,” Hield said addressing Murray’s performance. “Hats off to him, man.”
The game concluded with a 150-141 win for team World, after fending off a late game run by team U.S.A.