THE GIDDEY EXPERIMENT IN PROGRESS | NBA.com
Paris Lawson is on hand to follow Thunder rookie Josh Giddey through his first NBA All-Star Weekend experience.
CLEVELAND— The All-Star break is officially here, which means an action-packed weekend for Thunder rookie Josh Giddey. The 6-foot-8 fullback will compete in both the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night and the Skills Challenge on Saturday.
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8:00 p.m. ET – The time had finally come for Giddey. Just 12 months ago, the Aussie guard could have only dreamed of the opportunity to take the stage during NBA All-Star Weekend and on Friday afternoon, that dream came true.
Giddey dressed for the occasion in a flashy denim jacket, black jeans and white sneakers en route to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. In the locker room, however, the rookie would be sure to snap a shot of the most important cut of the night – his bright orange Rising Stars uniform.
After the warm-ups on the field, the lights dimmed in the arena. The music escalated and the players were ushered onto the main stage for their introductions and grand entrance on the floor.
The spotlight hit each player as the PA announcer introduced them one by one. Giddey’s team, Team Worthy, was first.
“Youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, Josh Giddey,” blasted over the speakers as Giddey raised both hands in a wave towards the crowd.
After the pomp and circumstance, it was time to hit the ground running. Giddey was a member of Worthy’s starting five and although the Aussie guard didn’t spend much time with his Rising Star teammates, that didn’t stop him from forming some worthwhile bonds.
After a bucket from the opposing team, the Thunder inbounds specialist grabbed the ball off the rim, went out of bounds and fired a sneaky laser the full length of the floor towards Jalen Suggs for a dunk.
A few possessions later, Giddey threw a perfectly timed alley-oop to Jalen Green from the sideline. The Thunder’s assist leader finished the game with six assists and several oohs and ahs from the All-Star crowd.
While the night centered around challenges on the pitch, Giddey came away with so much more. As an international player, the rookie hadn’t had the chance to learn about many of his potential NBA peers before joining the NBA. The Rising Stars experience gave him the opportunity to hang out and get to know his counterparts across the league.
Additionally, Giddey spends the evening surrounded by NBA Hall of Fame legends as well as current and former All Stars. For a 19-year-old who just a few years ago wasn’t entirely convinced he would even continue playing basketball, the experience and greatness made him even more special.
Giddey’s All Star Weekend experience will continue through Saturday when he competes in the Skills Challenge at 7 p.m. CT.
Rising Star Challenge: Josh Giddey
9:15 a.m. ET – It had been a whirlwind for Giddey since arriving in snowy Cleveland on Thursday. He bounced from Skills Challenge practice in the afternoon to the NBA Entertainment Media Circuit in the evening, where he navigated through a gauntlet of interviews and photo shoots.
It wasn’t until Friday when he saw his name on the back of his Rising Stars training shirt that things really started to settle down for the Aussie native. He was no longer watching All-Star Weekend, he was participating in it.
Giddey arrived at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse Friday morning, which would host the group of rising stars for practice. After a quick stop at the media podium, the 6-foot-8 guard finally made it to the comfort of the hardwood for some light work with his Rising Star teammates.
Giddey is one of seven members of the Worthy Team (coached by NBA Hall of Famer James Worthy). Giddey’s teammates include Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs of the Orlando Magic, Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets, Herbert Jones of New Orleans, Tyrese Maxey of the 76ers and MarJon Beauchamp pf G-League Ignite.
After a few quick warm-ups, the Rising Stars went through a series of shooting drills and executed a few attacking sets to use for the game. The last case before the end of training? A classic knockout game. Smiles plastered each of the players’ faces as they raced to avoid elimination – making quick lay-ups and lining up 3-pointers in rhythm. It was the perfect bond for Team Worthy before the real competition later in the evening.
The Rising Stars Challenge is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CT on TNT. The game features a new mini-tournament format as well as a shooting challenge between games.
EXPLANATION OF THE RISING STARS CHALLENGE
The Rising Stars Challenge will take a very different turn from previous seasons. Rather than two teams split between the Worlds and the United States, 28 players were split into four teams of seven. Additionally, the 28 players are made up of 12 rookies, 12 sophomores as well as four members of the G- League Ignite.
Each team will be coached by one of four NBA 75 roster members: Rick Barry, Gary Payton, James Worthy and Isiah Thomas. All four coaches selected their teams in the Rising Star Draft. Giddey was selected by Worthy.
The competition will take the form of a three-game mini-tournament. In the first match, Team Isiah will face Team Worthy. In Game 2, Team Barry will face Team Payton. The winners will play in the Final.
Games 1 and 2 will be played until a team reaches a target score of 50 points. The final will be played until a team reaches 25 points.
Giddey is one of eight players across four teams participating in the two-man Clutch Challenge. He’s partnered with Cleveland rookie Evan Mobley. The objective is to take five shots from five different locations on the field in less than 90 seconds. The team that lands all five shots in the fastest time wins.