CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - The Mountain Dew Rising Stars Challenge will showcase young NBA stars from the USA and all over the world Friday night during All-Star Weekend in Charlotte.
The event, held at Spectrum Center, features ten first and second year NBA players from the USA and puts them against first and second year players from all over the world.
Reigning Rookie of the Year and 2019 NBA All-Star Ben Simmons, from the Philadelphia 76ers, will be participating in the game and will be representing Australia for Team World.
Each player on Team World’s roster is from different country, as four continents, North America, Africa, Europe and Australia, will be represented, showing how the NBA has expanded into much more of a global sport.
The teams will be wearing jerseys that pay homage to the ABA’s Carolina Cougars.
There will be three players representing Team USA in Friday night’s game with close connections to basketball in North Carolina.
Second-year Small Forward Jayson Tatum and rookie Power Forward Marvin Bagley III of the Sacramento Kings both played college basketball for Duke University, while second-year Power Forward John Collins of the Atlanta Hawks played for Wake Forest.
Tatum and Collins will also be a part of All-Star Saturday night, with Tatum in the Skills Challenge and Collins in the Dunk contest.
When asked about being back in North Carolina, Tatum, Bagley and Collins all expressed their feelings towards the state and how connected they are to where they went to school.
Tatum and Bagley spoke on their love for Duke and what it means to be back in North Carolina.
“The Tar Heel State? I love North Carolina. I’m excited to be back. Hopefully, there’s a lot of Duke fans here tonight and throughout the weekend. I love seeing their support,” Tatum said.
“I have that connection, that Duke connection, but to be out in North Carolina where I still have family, I got a lot of people that I know out here, it’s definitely going to be a fun experience. I’m looking forward to it all. We’re just going to have fun with this,” Bagley said.
Collins spoke on his love for Wake Forest and expressed his excitement for being back in the “Hoop State.”
“Yeah, I definitely miss playing in the Hoop State a little bit. Whenever I get off the plane, I get the chills and feels like being back at Wake [Forest]. Definitely good to be back in the Hoop State,” Collins said.
Tatum’s Celtics teammate and Former Duke basketball star Kyrie Irving, of the Boston Celtics, will serve as an honorary coach for Team USA.
Tatum spoke on Irving being his coach in the Rising Stars Challenge.
“Yeah, basically, Kyrie’s coaching tomorrow, so I’m going to tell him how much time I’m playing and when I come out, if I come out,” Tatum said.
Irving is a six-time NBA All-Star selection who will start in the 2019 All-Star Game, and was the MVP of the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge.
The 2013 game was highlighted by Irving’s crossover moves on Brandon Knight.
Likely to be a lock for the NBA Hall of Fame, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki will serve as the honorary coach for Team World.
Nowitzki is a 13-time NBA All-Star who also has a special spot in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. He ranks seventh on the NBA’s all-time points list with more than 31,000 points scored and is the career scoring leader among international players. Nowitzki played in the 2000 Rising Stars.
In 2018′s game, Team World defeated Team USA 155-124, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who is also a participant in this year’s game, was named the MVP.
Full rosters for both teams are below.
- Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
- Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
- Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
- Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
- De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
- Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
- John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
- Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
- Jaren Jackson Jr, Memphis Grizzlies
- Kevin Knox, New York Knicks
- Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (Australia)
- Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Slovenia)
- OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors (United Kingdom)
- Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns (Bahamas)
- Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings (Serbia)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Los Angeles Clippers (Canada)
- Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets (Latvia)
- Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Finland)
- Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves (Nigeria)
- Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers (Turkey)