Top five moments from NBA All-Star Weekend in Utah
Salt Lake City, UT (February 22, 2023) — After nearly four years in the making, NBA All-Star Weekend has come and gone in Utah.
All-Star Weekend in Utah was an enormous success as the state once again proved it can host one of the biggest sporting events on the planet.
With All-Star festivities in the rearview mirror, here’s a look back at the top five moments from the weekend.
Markannen Impresses In Debut
Despite being the last pick of the starters during Sunday’s All-Star draft, Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen made the most of his time on the floor.
In his first All-Star appearance, Markkanen scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in 26 minutes for Team Giannis which would go on to beat Team LeBron 184-175.
Markkanen looked like an early front-runner to contend for the game’s MVP award but was frozen out by Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell who carried the scoring load for Team Giannis.
Tatum ultimately took home the MVP trophy after scoring an All-Star record 55 points.
Huge Economic Impact
Financially, Salt Lake City saw a huge financial boom as Commissioner Adam Silver estimated that All-Star weekend generated an economic impact of $280 million for the state, a new record for the NBA.
“In terms of the magnitude of All-Star, this is our largest in our history,” Silver said.
The number is significantly higher than initial projections when the All-Star game was awarded to the state in 2019. Then-governor Gary Herbert had initially estimated an impact of $45-50 million.
“We have an all-time record in terms of hotel nights,” Silver said as part of his praise for the state. “We’re occupying 33,000 hotel nights in the community here, and we have more fan events than any time in history.”
Damian Lillard Wins Three-Point Contest
While the nation turned its eyes to Salt Lake City for All-Star weekend, there was plenty of local interest to keep Utahns engaged.
One of the greatest shooters in NBA history, Damian Lillard returned to Salt Lake City, some 40 miles from where he attended college at Weber State and took home his first Three-Point Shootout trophy.
Better yet, Lillard did it wearing a custom Weber State jersey during the contest, paying homage to the school where his career began.
Known for his clutch play, Lillard secured the trophy with an incredible shooting performance, beating Buddy Hield with the final shot of the contest.
Mac McClung Wins Dunk Contest
While locals will certainly remember other events from All-Star Saturday Night, it was Mac McCLung’s dunk contest that will be the lasting memory for NBA fans across the planet.
The Philadelphia 76ers two-way guard put on one of the best dunk contest performances in NBA history drawing perfect scores on three of his four dunks and easily walking away with the trophy.
Jazz Take Home Skills Challenge Trophy
Though it doesn’t quite measure up to Karl Malone and John Stockton sharing MVP honors during the 1993 NBA All-Star game, a trio of Jazz players did secure the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.
Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton, and Walker Kessler fell behind in the first round of the Skills Challenge but dominated the passing and shooting rounds to easily beat Team Antetokounmpo and the rookies.
Kessler’s three from the corner helped fans forget an otherwise unmemorable Rising Stars Challenge performance, while the event allowed Clarkson to shine as a great ambassador for Utah.