NBA All-Star 2013: San Antonio Spurs get opportunity to shine in Houston

By Joe Buettner

Apr 4, 2012; Boston, MA USA; San Antonio Spurs power forward Matt Bonner (15) reacts after scoring in the last seconds of play against the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden. The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Boston Celtics 87-86. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

One thing is known about All-Star weekend. The Spurs will have plenty of representation.

San Antonio has the luxury of players showcased each night of the All-Star break. And they definitely have an opportunity to turn some heads this weekend with the guys participating in this weekend’s festivities.

Tony Parker, the defending Taco Bell Skills Challenge champion, will look to defend his title. While the new format is more conference driven, Parker still is very much playing for himself and bringing home the hardware yet again for the Spurs.

He will have the most experience of any other participant, and while his age does not give him any speed advantage, Parker is still one of the most athletic guards in the league and speed does not necessarily guarantee success in this competition.

You still have to make the passes, you still have to make the shots, and with Parker’s familiarity with the course, hopefully he can retain his crown as the Skills Challenge winner.

Saturday night will also feature “The Red Rocket” Matt Bonner. A social media campaign and a solid connection with the Western Conference’s team captain helped Bonner get a spot in the Three-Point Contest. Fans have been calling for Bonner in the event for years, and he will finally get to prove his worthiness this weekend.

He will have some stiff competition in Golden State’s Stephen Curry and New York’s Steve Novak. However, Bonner’s San Antonio teammates believe he was made for the contest and will be a big contender Saturday night. The conference driven format of the Saturday night events would of course allow Bonner to help the Western Conference beat the East.

Though, not to skip over Friday night, Kawhi Leonard will be playing for Team Chuck in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Leonard was Barkley’s third choice in the Rising Stars draft, and if Kawhi can go full-on Summer League mode, then maybe the sophomore forward could earn MVP honors of the Rising Stars Challenge.

Also, ex-Spurs, Bruce Bowen and Sean Elliot, will be participating in the Celebrity All-Star Game Friday night, and while reigning Celebrity All-Star Game MVP Kevin Hart participating and Usain Bolt, maybe Bowen can capture MVP honors with a slew of those patented corner three’s.

Sunday, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan will be reserves for the Western Conference, but I would not expect either to earn the game’s MVP honors. No, this James Harden MVP to win as the face of the host city. However, it will be a weekend with plenty of San Antonio influence, and you can catch all the action on TNT, with the exception of the Celebrity All-Star Game, which will be on ESPN.