NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest History


This season will be the 33rd NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. The first was held in Denver, Colorado, on Jan. 28, 1984. Larry Nance of the Phoenix Suns ultimately defeated Julius “Dr. J” Erving of the 76ers in the final round. In the beginning, the contest was held with eight competitors and five judges. Each player had three chances to dunk with only 24 seconds to make their shot. Each dunk was judged on a scale of one to 10. Only the four highest-scoring players moved on to the semifinals and, after three more dunks, the last two highest-scoring players faced off in the finals. After the final three dunks, the player who scored the highest out of a total 150 points was the winner.

This year, four players will get three chances to complete each of their two dunks. The five judges will score each dunk on a scale of six to 10, with the two highest-scoring players moving on to the final round. These two players will again have three chances to complete each of their two dunks and, at the end of the round, the highest-scoring player will be the champion.

In the past 30 years of All-Star Slam Dunk Contest history, fans and players have seen some of the most epic moments in the history of the NBA. In 2011, we saw Blake Griffin jump over the hood of a car to complete his dunk as a choir behind him sang R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly.” Griffin went on to win the competition. Although this was a feat, it doesn’t compare to 5-foot-7-inch Nate Robinson’s three wins in 2006, 2009, and 2010, making him the winningest All-Star Slam Dunk Contest participant. In 2009, he dunked over 6-foot-11-inch Dwight Howard, who had returned to defend his title from the previous year. Robinson was representing the Knicks with each of those wins, who are now tied with the Hawks for most wins at four each.


Top Dunkers

Last year’s champion, Glenn Robinson III, was the second Pacers champion in the history of the contest. His winning dunk earned him 50 points after he leaped over the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Paul George, Indiana Pacers Kayla Noel, and Pacers mascot Boomer to defeat Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns.


This year’s participants include Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Cavs), Dennis Smith Jr. (Mavericks), and Donovan Mitchell (Jazz).

Oladipo is ranked 13th in the NBA in scoring with a career-high 23.9 points per game. He previously made an appearance in the slam dunk contest in 2015 but fell short to Zach Lavine. Oladipo was voted fan-favorite Dunk of the Year for the 2016-17 season and will become the second consecutive champion from the Pacers if he wins this year’s contest.

Nance Jr. is the son of the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest’s original winner, Larry Nance. Representing the Cavaliers, he is posting career highs in scoring with 8.8 points per game.

Smith Jr. is a rookie in his first year with the Mavericks. With 14.8 points per game, he ranks fifth of all the rookies this season. In addition to the Slam Dunk Contest, fans can find Smith Jr. competing for the U.S. Team in Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars during the NBA All-Star weekend beginning Feb. 16, 2018.


Donovan Mitchell is also a rookie who will be joining the competition last minute after Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic was forced to withdraw due to injury. He’s leading all NBA rookies this season in scoring, with 19.7 points per game and will earn the Jazz their second win since 2012 if he comes in first.

Be a Part of the Action

The annual competition takes place each NBA All-Star weekend, with this year’s event to be held at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb.17, 2018, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (it’s scheduled to air on TNT). Make sure you’re ready to cheer your favorite player on for the contest and the second half of the season by stopping by Fanatics today.


Dwyane Wade: Heat, Bulls, Cavs


The Story

Former Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade has decided to reunite with his friend LeBron James as the newest member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Now that the Cavs have traded Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics, Wade is looking to join on for a chance to grab a potential fourth championship title.

Wade’s Career

Wade played for the Miami Heat during his first 13 NBA seasons and is a self-proclaimed “Heat lifer.” In the process, he’s gathered many awards while playing alongside teammates LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams, and Gary Payton, to name a few.


  • 12x All-Star
  • 3x NBA Champ
  • 8x All-NBA
  • 3x All-Defensive
  • 2005-06 Finals MVP

During his time in Miami, Wade averaged 23.7 points per game with a 0.562 true shooting percentage and won two championships alongside LeBron James, a fellow 2003 draft class member.

In the 2016 off-season, Wade decided to sign with his hometown Chicago Bulls with teammates Rajon Rondo and Jimmy Butler. The Bulls finished the regular season eighth in the Eastern Conference, just beating out the Miami Heat for the last playoff spot. Despite the Heat setting an NBA record for the best second half of a season to tie Chicago at 41-41, a 2-1 head-to-head record gave the Bulls the tiebreaker. Still, the Bulls eventually lost the opening series against the Boston Celtics.

The Move

Wade will likely start for the Cavs because of the Kyrie-Isaiah swap and Thomas’ hip injury sustained during the postseason. Here’s a quick projection of what the new starting five would look like based on a linear regression of the past five seasons of player Win Shares – a measure of a player’s contribution (both offensive and defensive) to the team’s wins. Can this new five blow past the projections?


The Future

Ultimately, time will determine whether this is a good move for the future Hall of Famer. Although the Cavs have reached the NBA Finals in each of the past three seasons, winning one in the process, they’ll continue to face difficult opponents in the West – whether it be the Golden State Warriors with Curry and Durant, the Houston Rockets with Harden and Paul, or the newly formed Oklahoma City Thunder with Westbrook, George, and Anthony.

Whether you’re looking to represent the newest member of the Cavaliers or are cheering on some of the other movers and shakers of this off-season, make sure to checkout the latest NBA gear here at Fanatics.


Golden State vs. Cleveland Rivalry

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers made NBA history with their third subsequent appearances in the Finals, a feat that had yet to occur in the league. The highly anticipated series had fans rallied on both sides of the court, and shaped one of the greatest rivalries the NBA has ever seen – especially this season, with Golden State’s addition of Kevin Durant.

Recent memory evokes a Golden State Game 5 victory against a group of hopeful Cavs. Considering the California-based squad intentionally crafted a superteam specifically to contain LeBron James in hopes of dethroning the defending champs, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the series did not make it to a Game 7 finale.

Golden State’s ascension, along with a supercharged roster, sets them light-years ahead of other teams. That being said, Cleveland is faced with making some difficult roster decisions in the offseason to prevent a potential Golden State dynasty.

Read on to see how this fierce rivalry all began and what events led to each team’s claim of national basketball supremacy.

NBA Finals Three-Peat

2015 NBA Finals: During the summer of 2014, King James abandoned the surf and sand offered by Miami’s beaches and returned to Cleveland for a heartfelt homecoming. The Ohio ballers were anticipated to be a dominant force in the league, but the Warriors shattered all expectations.

The Dubs took the league by storm with newly hired Steve Kerr at the helm of the team. The Cali-based squad was led by the NBA’s most valuable player, Steph Curry, as well as breakout baller Draymond Green. Needless to say, each “superteam” cruised their way into the Finals.

As history tells, karma doomed King James and his beloved Cavs. The first blow was delivered when Kyrie Irving incurred a broken knee during Game 1. James attempted to carry the undermanned team and even secured two victories for the Cavs, but it wasn’t enough. Chef Curry and the Warriors powered through to down the once-feared Cavaliers in Game 6 to end the franchise’s 40-year championship drought. Andre Iguodala was crowned as the 2015 Finals MVP.

2016 NBA Finals: Revenge was the Cavs’ theme this season and fueled them into another Finals appearance. The Ohio-based squad endured a rough regular season, but a new coach, Tyronn Lue, ignited a new flame at the core the franchise. Curry became a dominant force in the league and launched the Warriors to another level by posting a 73-9 record – a first in the NBA.

The outmatched Cavs were on the verge of defeat for the second year in a row, as the end of Game 4 marked a 3-1 Warriors lead. But one Game 4 incident between Draymond Green and LeBron James changed the trajectory of the entire series.

Green was suspended for Game 5, and the Cavs pounced on this “golden” opportunity. Dominant performances by James, Irving, and Kevin Love ultimately led to the Cleveland players hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy over their heads. And of course, King James was rightfully named the 2016 Finals MVP.

2017 NBA Finals: The Warriors and Cavs meet for a third clash in the 2017 NBA Finals. The first two games of the series resulted in unexpected blowouts, with Golden State crushing the Cavs at home and again at Quicken Loans Arena.

It wasn’t until Game 4 that the Cavs secured their first victory against the NorCal superteam – giving Cleveland fans hope for another 3-1 comeback. Unfortunately, the Cavs fell short. Between KD’s unstoppable form and Chef Curry’s impressive performance, the Curry-Durant tandem came full circle.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were poised with a challenging Game 5 at Oracle Arena. Between the hostile environment and the Dubs energized lineup, the Cavs fell short – handing the Warriors another championship title. Kevin Durant emerged as the Finals MVP and made a point to heap glory on his new partner in crime, Steph Curry.

All They Do Is Win

While the Finals come jam-packed with buzzer-beating moments and heated courtside exchanges, the regular season primes the pump for the drama to unfold later.

The rivaling Cavs and Warriors compete in different conferences and have only faced off against each other 127 times – easing stress levels of diehard fans. (The Cleveland Cavs contend in the Eastern Conference Central Division, while the Warriors play in the Western Conference Pacific Division).

Golden State leads the rivalry with the most regular season wins – posting 68 victories – and NBA titles. Cleveland trails behind their West Coast rivals with a modest 59 regular season wins and one NBA Championship title.

Cleveland’s storied franchise boasts the longest winning streak between the two squads. The Cav’s downed their coastal rivals during 10 contests over a four-season span from 1992 to 1996. Golden State trails Cleveland’s feat by posting a seven-game winning streak during the 2015 season – sparking a newfound disgust between the franchises.

Steady Scoring

One cursory glance at the Warriors and Cavs match history, and two dates explicitly stand out: March 8, 1990, and Jan. 23, 1989.

Golden State takes the cake regarding the most points scored throughout previous matchups. March 8, 1990, marks the game day in which #DubNation conquered Cleveland by a 40-point margin (145-105). The Warriors exerted dominance over their future rivals, and rallied behind Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond and forward Terry Teagle as the all-star shooters ran the scoreboard up – swooshing 25 and 22 points, respectively.

Conversely, the Cavs stood in the spotlight a year prior after crushing their NorCal contenders at home by a 33-point margin – posting a final score of 142-109 at the end of regulation. Cleveland benefited from the play of three-time All-Star Larry Nance (22 points scored) and the “Ohio Flyer” Ron Harper (netting 21 shots).

The Heat is On

Between winning their second title in three seasons and boasting a youthful yet experienced roster, the Warriors are positioned for long-term dominance. If the Cavs wish to retake the throne, they’ll need to elevate their gameplay and make pressing decisions during offseason to nurture a sustainable roster. One thing is for certain – the budding rivalry is in its prime and more epic showdowns between the legendary teams are still to come.

Whether you support #DubNation or look to #DefendTheLand, be sure to take part in the rivalry yourself. Update your wardrobe by heading over to, where you can browse a wide selection of replica jerseys and ultimate fan gear!








Best Places to Watch The NBA Finals

best-places-watch-nba-finals_Artboard 1-Header

Watching The Finals

Thinking about going to watch the third match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors? With ticket prices averaging around $2,000 to see an NBA Finals game in Oakland or near $1,250 in Cleveland, you may consider a different venue to watch these games in person.  

Fans in Cleveland and Oakland, fear not! Here are some researched recommendations of the best possible places to take in the games with fellow fans. Just remember to come wearing your team’s colors; you don’t want to be the odd one out!

Cleveland, Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Not just “Believeland” anymore, fans of the Cavaliers know their team is capable of winning it all. Here are just a few of the best locations in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Capital to watch the game, if you can’t score a ticket to see it live.

City Tap

You can #DefendTheLand at the City Tap, which is close to the Quicken Loans Arena, affectionately referred to as “The Q” by locals. They have an average rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Winking Lizard

As one of the top restaurants in Cleveland, the Winking Lizard is a prime location to take in the game and enjoy some food with your friends! There are plenty of options to enjoy, especially if you go multiple times over a four-, five-, six-, or even seven-game series!

Butcher and the Brewer

Nearly 100 reviewers on TripAdvisor gave the Butcher and the Brewer 5 out of 5 stars and mentioned it was a “fantastic meal” before the game. With a ton of meat available, in addition to several different styles of brew, this could be the best choice for those who consider themselves carnivorous Cavs fans.

Oakland, Home of the Golden State Warriors

Mad Oak Bar

Here we go again… let's close this out Warriors!!

A post shared by Room-Threeightnine Madoakbar (@madoakbar) on

If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the game with other Warriors fans, look no further than the Mad Oak. With over 320 reviews and an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp, it’s a fine establishment to grab a drink with friends. They’re selling tickets to catch the game here – don’t get caught trying to get into the Mad Oak without one!

More meet ups here please. #flightdesignhappyhour #oakland #madoak #🍻

A post shared by Jamie E Thrower (@jamie_thrower) on

Blind Tiger

Come join us tomorrow as we watch the Warriors go for 69 wins! #dubs #firstfridays #kono #asianfood #tgfi #happyhour

A post shared by Blind Tiger (@blindtigeroakland) on

For a different type of venue to enjoy seeing the Dubs play the Cavs, check out the Blind Tiger. They have over 400 reviews on Yelp with an average of 4 out of 5 stars, and as one reviewer mentioned, “three large projector screens which makes for … the ultimate location for checking out Warrior games.” Their Asian fusion menu also includes a healthy helping of oysters – not your typical sports bar menu!

Happiest hour. 🐷

A post shared by S a r a h (@sa12ah) on

The Double Standard

#titletuesday at #THEDOUBLESTANDARD #OAKLAND #bayarea #soontobenbachampions

A post shared by The Double Standard (@the_double_standard) on

This patio bar, equipped with picnic tables, is a perfect spot to watch the NBA Finals. They have a truly “backyard atmosphere,” which makes for a “grand old time watching the Warriors put the beat down on the Cavs,” according to one reviewer. If you’re looking for a casual, more laid-back location to take in the finals, this may be the spot for you.

The Venues of Champions

Whether you live near your favorite team and plan to watch the NBA Finals from these wonderful restaurants and bars or plan to support your team from a couch hundreds or thousands of miles away, don’t forget to look the part. Get the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.


Mapping NBA Teams: Cleveland Cavaliers


The Cleveland Cavaliers are still riding the high of bringing home the NBA championship for the first time in their 47-season history when they overcame a 3-1 deficit in the 2016 NBA Finals to win the series against the Golden State Warriors.

The Cavaliers date back to 1970 when they were admitted into the NBA along with a couple of other teams. While they’ve had plenty of postseason appearances (20 so far), their history also includes spells of difficulty, including the mid-1980s and the early part of the 21st century when winning seasons were scarce and the postseason didn’t happen.

Upon the drafting of LeBron James No. 1 overall in 2003, their fortunes turned, and the team soon returned to postseason play. The four years during which King James played in Miami were marked by a string of losing seasons. Once he returned to Cleveland, however, they went to the finals two straight years in a row and won it all in 2016.

As the Cavs battle their way in hopes of returning to postseason play (and possibly a third-straight finals appearance), let’s take a look at where the current roster comes from, and what college conferences led to today’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

Heading to Believeland


LeBron James, arguably one of the NBA’s most recognizable players, not only plays professionally in Ohio but also is a native Ohioan. Hailing from Akron, he was highly touted as the next Michael Jordan, and his draft stock was so high he went No. 1 overall to the Cavaliers in 2003.

Other Cavaliers stars include Kevin Love, who calls Lake Oswego, Oregon, home, and played college ball at UCLA. His father, Stan Love, also played pro-ball for the Los Angeles Lakers and Washington Bullets. Kyrie Irving is from West Orange, New Jersey, and attended Duke. Iman Shumpert comes from Oak Grove, Illinois, and went to the Georgia Institute of Technology. DeAndre Liggins also hails from Chicago and attended the University of Kentucky.

Kyle Korver, Creighton University alumnus, is from Pella, Iowa, and Channing Frye, who is from Phoenix, went to the nearby University of Arizona.

Cavaliers’ College Conferences


When looking at the Cleveland roster as a whole, the Pac-12 Conference contributed the most players (30.8 percent). Three players came from the University of Arizona (Frye, Richard Jefferson, and Derrick Williams), and the other Pac-12 player, Love, came from UCLA.

The Atlantic Coast Conference isn’t far behind, with 23.1 percent of the Cavaliers coming from schools in that conference. In addition to Irving and Shumpert hailing from the ACC, James Jones, from Miami, Florida, attended an ACC school (the University of Miami).

There are also a few players who were the sole contribution from their university conference, such as Tristan Thompson, a Big 12 player from the University of Texas (Austin), and Kay Felder, who shot hoops at Oakland University, which is part of the Horizon League.

While the Pac-12 makes up a large portion of the Cleveland squad, there were contributions from several others as well. As you root for your Cavaliers to continue their quest for another shot at the national title, be sure to check out Fanatics to get the best Cavs gear around.



NBA Jersey Sales: First Half of 2016-17


With another All-Star Weekend in the books and the passing of a trade deadline, the NBA is now in full swing. At this point in the season, teams are making strides toward securing a spot in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s no secret that die-hard basketball fanatics bleed the colors of their hometown team and dedicate their support to the skilled ballers who fill their competitive rosters. Fans all around the world root for their favorite players by purchasing the latest jerseys on the market. Whether watching from the comfort of their living room or attending a live game, one thing is for certain: Fans buy a lot of jerseys.

We’ve compiled sales data, from the first toss-up of the 2016-17 season through the All-Star break, to see which players and teams are topping the charts in jersey sales throughout the entire league.

Continue reading to see how the numbers stack up.

Selling Jerseys and Banking Shots


Nowadays, it’s expected for top-tier players to stand above the rest when it comes to jersey sales. Players work to create a loyal fan base, not only by proving themselves on the court but also by being an all-star in the real world.

The results are in, and Stephen Curry – point guard for the Golden State Warriors prevails as the top NBA player to have the most jerseys sold since the start of the season. It’s no surprise that the Baby-Faced Assassin dominates the sales charts, as he was the unanimous recipient of back-to-back MVP awards over the past two seasons. Although the sharpshooter couldn’t guide his team to a second straight championship title, Steph maintains the hype around his name as one of the most popular players on social media.

@stephencurry30 beats the buzzer for the @warriors 50th points of the 3rd quarter!

A post shared by NBA (@nba) on

Kevin Durant and LeBron James are fighting a fierce battle over second and third place, respectively. King James may inch out the Golden State forward over the remainder of the season, however, as KD is now out indefinitely with an injury.

@kingjames puts up 18 points, 15 assists & 13 rebounds to lead the @cavs at home!

A post shared by NBA (@nba) on

It’s a Team Effort


With Curry and KD leading the pack, the Golden State Warriors have sold the most jerseys after turning over a new leaf with the start of the season. Although they suffered an unexpected defeat during the 2015-16 NBA Finals, the Warriors and their fan base have kept their heads up high – and their wardrobe up to date. Trailing behind the Cali-based squad are none other than the champs themselves, the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the Cavs might have proven themselves on the courts, their jersey sales tell a different story.

The Windy City rounds out the top three with jersey sales spiking at the beginning of the season, as the Chicago Bulls acquired former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade.

Balling While They’re Young


Let’s face it, no matter what team you’re rooting for, nothing is more adorable than a child cheering on their favorite team while sporting a kid-sized jersey.

Steph Curry, once again, dominates sales in this merchandise category. The Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr raves about the MVP and claims that children “gravitate toward Steph.” Kids across the globe can be found rocking No. 30 on their back with the goal of receiving the Golden State guard’s autograph one day.

Sales and Shots Going Through the Roof!

The chances of another player or team topping Curry and Warriors jersey sales are slim, but with the second half of the season underway, anything is possible. Root your team into the playoffs by sporting your hometown team’s jersey, like the loyal fan you are. Head over to to choose from the latest player jerseys and fan gear the NBA has to offer!


NBA Trade Deadline Analysis


The NBA trade deadline has come and gone, along with the need to speculate the meaning of cryptic player tweets – looking at you Isaiah Thomas. Each of the league’s 32 teams now has a finalized roster. Some squads have even upgraded, hoping to win the NBA championship, while others aren’t thinking about a postseason challenge just yet; it’s clear the next date penciled into their calendar is the NBA draft lottery.

How did the week unfold? What were the blockbuster trades? Did any team get fleeced? And most importantly, how did your favorite team do? We examined the final days leading up to the trade deadline to look at some of the moves that may define the 2016-17 NBA season.

Day Trading

Here’s how the final days leading up to the trade deadline played out across the NBA.



New Orleans Pelicans acquire center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi from the Sacramento Kings for shooting guard Tyreke Evans, point guard Langston Galloway, shooting guard Buddy Hield, a 2017 top-three protected first-round pick, and a 2017 second-round pick.

Talk about a blockbuster trade! New Orleans knew they needed a playmaker to play with their star, Anthony Davis, so they went and got one in Boogie Cousins. As the official Pelicans Twitter account claimed, this is the pairing of fire and ice. It definitely elevates the talent level of the Pelicans, even if they had to give up promising rookie Buddy Hield. Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated both awarded New Orleans an “A+” for executing this trade. As for the Kings, Bleacher Report awarded this trade an “F.” Ouch!

Outside @smoothiekingcenter! #pelicans

A post shared by New Orleans Pelicans (@pelicansnba) on


Los Angeles Lakers acquire shooting guard Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick from the Houston Rockets for point guard Lou Williams.

Houston has clearly scrapped the idea of playing defense by adding another strong shooter to their roster. Coach D’Antoni may be adopting the philosophy that the best defense is a ridiculously potent offense by adding Williams. On his first night, Williams scored 27 points, had two assists and rebounds, and made seven 3-pointers. Talk about an immediate impact. The Rockets received “B” and “B+” grades for this trade, while the Lakers received a “B-.” Sports writers have questioned if they could have received more from Williams, who was only scheduled to be paid a $7 million salary next season.


Washington Wizards acquired small forward Bojan Bogdanovic and power forward Chris McCullough from the Brooklyn Nets for power forward Andrew Nicholson, shooting guard Marcus Thornton, and a 2017 lottery-protected first-round pick.

The Washington Wizards needed to get out of Andrew Nicholson’s contact – he was due $20 million a year for the next three seasons – and they paid a heavy price for it: their lottery-protected first-round draft pick. Given the Nets first-round pick belonged to the Boston Celtics, most felt this was a wise move to get the Empire State team back into the draft mix. They were given a grade of “A-,” whereas the Wizards received “B-” grades for their move. Most felt the Wizards didn’t significantly upgrade to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Eastern Conference’s presumptive favorite.


Chicago Bulls acquired center Joffrey Lauvergne, shooting guard Anthony Morrow, and point guard Cameron Payne from the Oklahoma City Thunder for center Taj Gibson, power forward Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick.

McDermott adds firepower to the Thunder’s lineup. OKC ranked last in the league in a wide-open 3-point percentage, just over 32 percent, whereas the former Bull has been nailing over 40 percent of his uncontested shots from a distance. The Thunder received “A’s” for giving up handshake expert extraordinaire Cameron Payne to make this happen. Chicago earned criticism for downgrading their offense, even if they’ll be in a more enviable financial position at the end of the season.

Number 25 for your OKC Thunder, Doug McDermott. #McBuckets

A post shared by Oklahoma City Thunder (@okcthunder) on

Pass or Fail?

Whether your team made the grade or should potentially be asking for a redo, root them on for the rest of the season by wearing the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel, available at


The NBA All-Star Game 2017 Series Simulation

2017 NBA All-Star Game is slated to take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. in New Orleans. This marks the third time the Big Easy has hosted the best and brightest professional basketball stars. This year’s rosters show plenty of big names, and the 66th installment of the annual exhibition is definitely not short on premium players.

To get a feel for what might happen, we decided to run a best-of-seven series game simulation to see how the teams will do, which conference would come out on top, and how individual players will fare on the court. If you’re into spoilers, continue reading to see how this year’s All-Star Game just might play out.

Building an All-Star Roster


As with every All-Star matchup, the best players from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will face off. This year, the Eastern starters include Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler. Representing the West, we have Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis.

The reserves for each conference are also not lacking for star power, as the East features players such as John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Paul George, Kevin Love (being replaced by Carmelo Anthony due to injury), and Paul Millsap. The West’s bench will hold standouts like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Draymond Green.

It’s no surprise to see many selections from the two most recent conference winners – with three players from the Cavs, and the Warriors sending four. These aren’t the only teams and players making waves this season, though: Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 shooting guard, is excelling in his play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Russell Westbrook is on his way to averaging a triple-double for the Thunder down in OKC.

A Simulated Series Sweep


We built each All-Star team and had them play against one another on a neutral court in a simulated series. We distributed players so they would all play an equal amount of time (as close to equal as we could get) and crunched the data to see who came out on top.

The winner? The Western Conference. They not only won the seven-game series but also swept it – winning the first four games and rendering the rest of the series unnecessary. The averages of points scored across the four games were 107.5 for the West and 95.5 for the East.

While this may or may not be a spoiler, it looks like the Western Conference All-Stars may win the game on Sunday.

Standouts on the Court


There were more than a few standout players from our sim. James Harden was the player of the game for Game 1, followed by DeMarcus Cousins for Game 2, Stephen Curry for Game 3, and Russell Westbrook for Game 4. DeMarcus Cousins, incidentally, was the highest-scoring overall player in the series, landing a 13.8-point average per game (on the Eastern Conference side, Paul George was tops in this department with 11.9 points per game).

Not to be outdone, LeBron grabbed an average of 8.0 rebounds per game, and Russell Westbrook notched an impressive 4.3 assists per game. On the rebounds front, Anthony Davis topped out at 7.5 per game for the Western Conference, and for assists, John Wall checked in as the best in the Eastern Conference with 4.0 per game.

Game On

While we’ll have to watch this year’s All-Star Game play out to see if these predictions come true, we’re likely in for a feisty one, as scores are typically pretty high, and there is much fanfare from the intros to the halftime show and throughout the game itself.

If you’re going to check out this year’s All-Star Game, rest assured that Fanatics has pretty sweet All-Star Game gear, where you can grab your favorite player’s jersey with this year’s unique colors.


The Evolution of the Cleveland Cavaliers Jersey


Cavs’ Origins

The Cleveland Cavaliers first took to the court in 1970 after the NBA granted Forest City an expansion team. Nick Mileti – the original team owner – guided the Cavs through their first season; they finished in the last place with one of their worst records in franchise history (15 wins, 67 losses).

After news spread that the city of Cleveland would receive a professional basketball team, the local paper The Plain Dealer – introduced a contest to name the new club. The Cavaliers got the majority vote, beating out other competing names such as the Foresters, Towers, and Presidents. Jerry Tomko – the clever mind behind the Cleveland moniker – wrote that the name “represents a group of daring, fearless men, whose life’s pact was never surrender, no matter what the odds.” As time passed, the Cleveland ballers were frequently mentioned by their nickname – the Cavs.

The Cavs have had a total of five logo changes throughout their existence. The current logo features the wordmark “Cleveland Cavaliers” placed over a wine-colored basketball with a gold sword piercing through the text. Cleveland’s primary team color palette consists of different variations of wine, gold, navy, and white – becoming almost equivalent to the team’s actual name.

The Cavs have a knack for maintaining simplistic jerseys with bold designs. Their logo demonstrates the effort these “daring, fearless men” make to achieve success.

Champions in Cleveland 

The Cleveland Cavs have made a total of 20 playoffs out of a whopping 46 seasons since their league inception. The Cavs are the current NBA champions; they made a historic comeback against the Golden State Warriors during the 2015-16 finals. The team, led by homecoming MVP LeBron James, was able to overcome a 3-1 series deficit – downing the Dubs in game 7 (93-89). LBJ secured the delivery of the title to Cleveland by scoring a triple-double during their final showdown against the Warriors.

The #CavsNation has experienced some minor and major jersey changes over the past 46 years playing in the NBA. Check them out below!

Notable Cavaliers Jersey Changes


Cleveland Cavaliers


1969: The Cavs utilize gold as their primary color with wine red accents for their inaugural jersey. The word “Cavaliers” sits at the center of the jersey and features a feather stemming from the end of the “C” – underlining the remaining part of the word “avaliers.” Three wine stripes border the collar as well as the shoulders of the jersey and appear on the shorts.

1974: The Cavs debut their second jersey design by ditching the feather for a block-style “Cavaliers” placed in the center. Wine, gold, and white horizontal stripes are stacked upon each other, running down the sides of the jersey and across the collar as well.

1980: The primary color of this season’s jersey undergoes a minor modification – metallic gold is used instead of plain gold. The team switches things up a bit and features Cleveland as the centerpiece of the jerseys. Two horizontal stripes run underneath the block-style “Cleveland” name in traditional wine and white colorways.

1983: The ’83 season marks a drastic change in the Cavs iconic jersey – a burnt orange, royal blue, and white color palette are used. The team’s famed nickname “CAVS” is smack in the middle of the jersey with the letter “V” forming a basket. Underneath this new design are orange jersey numbers outlined in royal blue.

1987: They maintain the same colorway as the ’85 season jerseys, and the Cavs make minor modifications to their home attire. The lettering is now royal blue, outlined in orange. White remains the primary color of the jersey.

1994: The Cavaliers introduce a new jersey with the opening of their new home stadium, Gund Arena. A light blue color splashes the torso and features white jersey numbers outlined in black. The word “CAVS” utilizes a new font and is now orange with black skeletal lines.

1999: Reverting to a more minimal look, the Cavs remove the light blue splash from the front of the jersey. The letters and numbers ditch the orange for blue but keep the black lines. Blue and orange vertical lines run down the trim on the right-hand side of the jersey.

2003: The Cavaliers revamp their home jerseys by marking the return of the gold, white, and wine color scheme. “Cavaliers” slants down the torso in wine-colored lettering, outlined in gold. Jersey numbers are now dark blue and sit beneath the “s” in the team name. Thick wine red panels run down the sides of the jersey, bordered by blue and white stripes.   

2010: The jersey achieves a simple yet bold look. Several new changes are made in respect to the design. The team’s signature wordmark “Cavaliers” sits across the chest in a new font. Deep wine and shining gold stripes frame the shoulder openings and collar of the jersey, and the numbers change from dark blue to wine red.

2014: Minor changes are made, including moving the NBA logo to the back of the jersey.

If you’re in Cleveland, then you have a lot to celebrate. Be a part of the celebration by supporting the #CavsNation. Head over to – the one-stop shop for the hottest Cavaliers fan gear and memorabilia.



The Beginners Guide to #NBA: Become a Fanatic Overnight: National Basketball Association


Guide to Becoming an NBA Fanatic

When you hear friends shout the phrases “check,” “brick,” or “from downtown” at the televisions, they’re celebrating the game of basketball. We don’t want you to miss out on enjoying all of the action! Our Guide to Becoming an NBA Fanatic will transform you from rookie to All-Star overnight, and leave you ready to tell others about the difference between a field goal and a 3-point play.


Thirty teams across the U.S. (and Canada!) make up the National Basketball Association, better known as the NBA. There are the Eastern and Western conferences, each containing 15 teams; there are three divisions in each conference (six in total). The Atlantic, Central, and Southeast divisions make up the Eastern Conference, and the Southwest, Northwest, and Pacific divisions make up the Western Conference. This format is helpful when coordinating a team’s schedule throughout the 82-game season.

Shot Clock Violation

Each NBA game takes place over 48 minutes, divided into four quarters. After the first two quarters, there is a “halftime” break. At the end of regulation (four quarters), the team with the highest number of points wins the game. If both teams are tied, a five-minute overtime begins. If there is still a tie, the teams continue playing until an overtime period ends with one team ahead of the other in points.

During each game, the clock can stop for many reasons: when a player passes the ball or steps out of bounds, when a foul is committed against another player (rule violation), when a coach or player calls for a timeout, or when a team scores.

Dribbling Down the Court

Each team places five players on the court at a time. While a player may have a specific position based on physical attributes and style of play, there is no requirement for a set number of positions to be present on the floor. For the five positions, each is commonly equated with a corresponding number:

  • Point Guard (PG): 1
  • Shooting Guard (SG): 2
  • Small Forward (SF): 3
  • Power Forward (PF): 4
  • Center (C): 5

If you’re trying to associate the names of players you’ve overheard with these positions, here are a few examples of current key ballers:

  • Point Guard: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Shooting Guard: James Harden, Houston Rockets; Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
  • Small Forward: Paul George, Indiana Pacers; Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  • Power Forward: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers; Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
  • Center: Al Horford, Boston Celtics; Dwight Howard, Atlanta Hawks

During the game, any of the team’s five players on the court may be substituted with another player on the bench. Rotating players in and out of the game can be a strategy – with coaches sometimes looking to match up a type of player against another (for instance, a speedy playmaker versus a strong and tall defender), or just to give their player a break after a long stretch.


Mo’ Buckets

There are two phases of the game – offense and defense. These are very fluid in basketball and are interchangeable within seconds. Each team is able to score either one, two, or three points per shot.

  • 1 point: Free throws, awarded after a player is fouled in the act of shooting
  • 2 points: Any shot made inside the 3-point line
  • 3 points: Distance shots made anywhere from 22 to 23.75 feet away from the basket (they earn an extra point over a regular shot due to the skill and accuracy required)

Must-See Teams and Players

So now you’re ready to hop on the court and start making threes, but hold on – let’s leave that to the professionals. You need to choose a team with exciting players to follow, and we have a few recommendations:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Fresh off of winning the 2016 NBA Championship, the state of Ohio and the city of Cleveland are back on top. They are led by one of the best players of the past decade, LeBron James, and the supporting cast is worth watching every time they take the court. Here’s the big question: Will they become repeat champions next season?
  • Golden State Warriors:  the Golden State Warriors, minutes shy of winning back-to-back NBA Championships, are one of the most exciting teams to watch. Steph Curry, the league’s MVP for the last two seasons, leads a team of All-Stars. Another All-Star, Kevin Durant, just made the switch to “Splash City” from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Led by Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2016 Rookie of the Year, and Andrew Wiggins, the 2015 Rookie of the Year, this young, scrappy team looks to take the next step in the 2016-2017 season with a new coach. The Eastern Conference might be in for a major surprise, courtesy of the T-Wolves.

Final Shot

If you’re watching your first full NBA game, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Each team puts five players on the court.
  • They can score one, two, or three points for a shot.
  • Don’t be surprised if the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors make it back to the NBA Finals next year; they’re loaded with talent and built to compete for it.
  • And get the best officially licensed NBA apparel and merchandise from to cheer on your team.