Giannis Antetokounmpo selected for Taco Bell Skills Challenge
MILWAUKEE (WITI) — Milwaukee Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo will participate in the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night on Feb. 15 in New Orleans.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is introducing a new format that features four teams of two players each competing in a two-round timed relay-style course consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations.
Representing the Eastern Conference are Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors on one team, and Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers and Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic on the other. Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams and Oladipo are also participating in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
One Western Conference team is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz, while Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns comprise the other.
As part of this year’s 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, four lucky teens will paired with the NBA participants. Through the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, a total of $120,000 will be donated in support of educational scholarships and to Boys & Girls Clubs of America, with the teen paired with the winning team receiving a $30,000 educational scholarship.
For the second consecutive year, the Eastern and Western conferences will compete during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night in an evening of challenges that will raise money for charity.
NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $100,000 awarded to each event’s winning conference’s charities and $25,000 going to the charities of the runner-up for each event.
The Eastern Conference will be playing for the American Heart Association and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF while the Western Conference will compete for Teach for America and Wounded Warrior Project®.
All-Stars Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and George, winner of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award, will serve as captains of the Western and Eastern Conferences, respectively. The charities were selected by George and Curry, the NBA, and State Farm.
All teams must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The fastest team from each Conference during the First Round will advance to the Championship Round. The fastest team in the Championship Round will win the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Complete rules for the 2014 Taco Bell Skills Challenge and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night can be found on mediacentral.nba.com.
Antetokounmpo is the second player to represent the Bucks in the Skills Challenge, with Brandon Jennings competing in 2010. Current Bucks guard Luke Ridnour participated in the event in 2005 as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Skills Challenge will be nationally televised as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which includes the Sears Shooting Stars, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk. Coverage on TNT begins at 7 p.m. (CT).
On Jan. 29, Antetokounmpo was selected to participate in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities. The Rising Stars Challenge, which features two teams of NBA rookies and sophomores, will take place on Friday, Feb. 14. This marks the third straight year rookies and sophomores will be combined on the teams.
Antetokounmpo was picked by Team Grant Hill along with Damian Lillard (Portland), Bradley Beal (Washington), Andre Drummond (Detroit), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Terrence Jones (Houston), Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto), Dion Waiters (Cleveland) and Pero Antic (Atlanta).
Team Chris Webber consists of Anthony Davis (New Orleans), Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia), Tim Hardaway, Jr. (New York), Trey Burke (Utah), Jared Sullinger (Boston), Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn), Victor Oladipo (Orlando), Steven Adams (Oklahoma City) and Kelly Olynyk (Boston).
Following the announcement of each team, fans will be able to vote online from both their computer and mobile device for the starters of each team. The starting lineups will be determined by the players garnering the top votes for their respective positions, with two backcourt and three frontcourt spots for each team. The announcement of the starting lineup will be made in broadcast and in-arena on the night of the game.
In 44 games this season (21 starts), Antetokounmpo is averaging 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 24.1 minutes per game.