It’s the start of the 2018 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. Kicking off the action was the All-Star Celebrity Game, a friendly competition between Team Lakers and Team Clippers. The Clippers started strong and never looked back, coming out on top 75–66. Before the game, I hit the red carpet and talked to the stars who would be hitting the court. Everyone was in a really good mood and seemed ready to put on a show.
Team Clippers carried plenty of talent, including Quavo, Brandon Armstrong, Andre De Grasse, Jamie Foxx, and Paul Pierce. And Team Lakers was anchored by Justin Bieber, Terrence Crawford, Tracy McGrady, Rachel DeMita, and Nate Robinson.
Playing for Team Lakers, television personality Nick Cannon was looking to have a good time in his 10th Celebrity Game appearance. Said Cannon, “It looks pretty even. There’s a couple of ballers in there, a couple of people like myself who are here with no skills. I’m just going to try to make it down the court!”
Taking the court in front of a big crowd can be intimidating. But Caleb McLaughlin, an actor from Stranger Things, was thrilled to be a part of the action. “This is my second time in the Celebrity All-Star Game,” McLaughlin said, “so I’m just happy I get to come back and join this amazingness!”
A common thread among the players was a desire to have fun, win, and not get hurt. Twelve-year-old Miles Brown, from the show Black-ish, was ready to show off his skills. “I’m on the shorter side, so I use the Chris Paul type of style: the pick-and-roll, the passing, and the driving. I can get you open if you need to, and I’m more of a playmaker.” He did a good job of spreading the offense in his limited playing time.
This year, for the first time, players had an opportunity to score four points by shooting from the Ruffles logo, just beyond the three-point line. ESPN commentator and Team Clippers coach Katie Nolan made a fun prediction on who would make the first four-pointer. “I’m going to go with Jason Williams, ‘White Chocolate,’” she said. Instead, it was Nate Robinson who drained two consecutive four-pointers at the start of the third quarter.
The game ended with a victory for Team Clippers. Quevo led the way with a game-high 19 points, playing very solid basketball on both ends of the floor. He took home MVP honors for the night. De Grasse, the sprinter and three-time Olympic medalist, also contributed 17 points. Brandon Armstrong, famous for his NBA player impersonations, made an impact with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Rachel DeMita, NBA 2KTV personality, had the hot hand for Team Lakers, notching 17 points.
We can look for many more exciting events this week. On Saturday, the skills challenge, dunk contest, and three-point contest go down. As fans, many celebrity players are looking forward to the entertaining weekend.
What is McLaughlin excited about? “The All-Star game on Sunday,” he said. “Team Steph, let’s get it! That’s really what I’m looking forward to.”
Look for the All-Stars to put on a show this weekend at the Staples Center. You can watch the Saturday festivities on TNT starting at 8 p.m. ET. Sunday’s All-Star Game is on TNT at 8 p.m. ET as well.
Photographs by (from top): Kevin Mazur/WireImage (McLaughlin); Caleb Kim (with Brown)