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All-Star Weekend rookie/sophomore game to go playground

Feb 7, 2012, 1:52 PM EST

T-Mobile Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam Getty Images

There’s always a bit of a playground element to the NBA Rookie Challenge — what you and I call the rookie/sophomore game — on Friday night of All-Star weekend. Remember last year John Wall threw a bounce-pass ally-oop last year, it’s all about as playground as it gets.

So this year they decided to take the thing all the way playground.

Now called the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, there will be a pool of rookies and second year players and TNT Analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will draft them. Just like on a schoolyard. Or the NHL All-Star weekend, they’ve been doing this for a while.

I like it. This game can get stale, this shakes it up a bit. It can mean some interesting players combos, and we can get things like John Wall getting benched for Kyrie Irving.

The pool of players will be announced this Thursday (Feb. 8). Don’t expect Blake Griffin to be part of it — he’s been voted in a starter for the big show on Sunday, not likely to play here, too — but there should be Wall, Irving, Ricky Rubio, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Brandon Knight and plenty more talent.

The draft will take place Feb. 16 on TNT. The game itself is Friday, Feb. 24, also on TNT.

  1. acdc363 - Feb 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Damn I thought this article was gonna say they’re playing on an actual playground court outside like they did during the lockout. I’d def watch that.

    • edmazeing1 - Feb 7, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      I was thinking the samething Man!!!

  2. rodneysixerfolife - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:20 PM

    that makes 3 of us….that would have been all of that….
    Have them play at a local playground and pick teams…playground style…
    man the NBA SUCKS!!!!
    they never do anything cutting edge or exciting….did I say they SUCK!!!

  3. raidmagic - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Why is Griffin an all star?

    • andyp03 - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

      My guess would be because he’s averaging 21 and 10, while shooting 54 percent? Not to mention he might be the most exciting highlight reel since the early days of Vinsanity up in Toronto.

  4. miamatt - Feb 7, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Norris Cole better get a look for this game, he’s got jets.

  5. tomtravis76 - Feb 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Have a few squads of 5 to a team, play to 21 each game(2’s&1’s), double elimination tourney.

    I do like thenew idea though of having Barkley and Shaq draft the guys. Why not try something else.

    The league needs to fix the dunk contest. Award a bigger cash prize or something.

    • Justin - Feb 7, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      I like the idea of Barkley picking. Not Shaq. Did you see his all star reserve picks. He had Mo Williams over Russell Westbrook. The dude is clearly out of his element.

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