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Friday Afterschool Special: Slam Dunk

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NBA All-Star weekend kicks off

Basketball's best will gather in Toronto this weekend for the NBA All-Star weekend, which kicks off with the Celebrity Game at 7 p.m. ET. Then, tomorrow at 8, there are the skills challenges, including the ever-popular dunk contest. Finally, the All-Star Game will be Sunday at a 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

And in advance of this year's contest, the NBA has released a special set of emojis with one for each All-Star. Check out all of them here.


Slam Dunk Contest preview

The competitors in this year's slam dunk contest include Minnesota's Zach LaVine (last year's champ), Denver's Will Barton, Orlando's Aaron Gordon, and Detroit's Andre Drummond. LaVine is a favorite to retain his title: 

We want LeBron!

Another year, another dunk contest without LeBron James. The Cavs' star has never participated and claims his opportunity to do so has passed. It's too bad, as the dunks he throws down in practice beat most of the jams we'll see Saturday:

Price out for the season

Carey Price, the Canadien's goaltender and reigning NHL MVP, will reportedly miss the rest of the season with an MCL injury. Price only played 12 games this season, dominating with a 10–2 record, and the Habs have suffered in his absence. They currently sit outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture with 58 points. In his continued absence, expect Ben Scrivens, acquired midseason in a trade with the Oilers, to get a shot at the starting job. 

Ovechkin's one-period hat trick

...and McDavid's even better night

Boomer's bouncing ball

Today's Peanuts

(Photo credit: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)