CHARLOTTE, N.C | The Latest: Giannis gets off to fast start in All-Star game

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on All-Star Weekend. (all times local)

8:50 p.m.

The All-Star game has begun with the feel of a Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk fest.

Antetokounmpo has 14 points on five dunks and Team Giannis is leading midway through the first quarter. The Milwaukee Bucks forward even tried to dunk by purposely missing a free throw, but was called for a lane violation when the ball didn’t hit the rim.

Antetokounmpo is getting the job done but Team LeBron isn’t playing much defense — not that Team Giannis is putting up much resistence either.

Kevin Durant has nine points for Team LeBron


8:30 p.m.

The NBA All-Star game has tipped off with Hornets guard Kemba Walker making his first career All-Star start for Team Giannis against Team LeBron.

He’s the game’s only first-time starter and received a huge ovation during warmups — although not quite as loud as Stephen Curry, who grew up in Charlotte and received the loudest roar from the crowd.

That could make Team Giannis the crowd favorite.

But Team Giannis could have a difficult time going against a stacked team that includes LeBron James, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant starting.

Carley Rap Jepsen Carly Rae Jepsen sang the Canadian national anthem, while Charlotte native Anthony Hamilton sang a stirring rendition of the “Star Bangled Banner.”


7:30 p.m.

Joel Embiid and Stephen Curry warmed up to play basketball — by playing volleyball.

Embiid and Curry passed a basketball back and forth before Sunday night’s All-Star game by using volleyball maneuvers, perfectly executing bumps and sets. That is, until Embiid seemed to decide he was bored with all that.

He took his massive right arm and, with fine form, spiked the ball as one would when trying for a kill and a point in volleyball. The ball bounced hard off the court, the carom skipping over the sideline and the ball winding up in the second row of seats.

Embiid covered his mouth in mock disbelief, and the volleyball game ended.


1:05 p.m.

When Michael Jordan talks, people tend to listen. Apparently the same goes for his mother, Deloris Jordan.

The mother of the six-time NBA champion and Hornets owner delivered an inspirational speech during All-Star Weekend to a group of about 100 mothers of current NBA players at a breakfast at a steakhouse in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Deloris told the group Saturday that it’s time for them to bond together and do more to help others in the community with their resources.

Stephen Curry’s mother, Sonya, who helped organize the event along with Chris Paul’s mom, Robin, says Deloris summed up meeting when she told everyone, “We are blessed to be a blessing” to others.

Deloris pushed NBA moms to get together as a group —because there is power in numbers— and make an impact in their communities.

It’s a message Sonya says is well overdue and the group needed to hear because “there has been a lot of separation over the last couple of years I feel like just in our world. There is no community and we need to bring that back.”


11:45 a.m.

Dell Curry, Muggsy Bogues, Alonzo Mourning and Glen Rice were honorees at the 20th annual NBA Legends Brunch.

The brunch is a tradition on the morning of the All-Star game. About 2,000 people attended Sunday, including about 200 former NBA players.

Curry was presented a “hometown hero” award. Bogues was feted for his work as a community ambassador. Mourning received the Global Ambassador Award, and Rice was selected as the Charlotte Hornets Legend of the Year.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was among the speakers, along with Dikembe Mutombo and actor and comedian JB Smoove.


11:30 a.m.

All-Star Sunday has arrived.

The 68th edition of the NBA’s annual midseason showcase exhibition game gets played in Charlotte, with LeBron James set to start for the 15th consecutive year, Kemba Walker ready to excite his home crowd and legends Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade ready to bid the game farewell as their careers wind down.

After that, the true All-Star “break” begins. There are no games on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, which gives every player and coach a couple of needed days off before the real playoff push begins.

Play resumes Thursday night with six games, as the sprint to the end of the regular season begins.

By Associated Press