Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Luka Dončić headline USA vs. the World Game at NBA All-Star Game | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Thursday / June 27.
  • Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Luka Dončić headline USA vs. the World Game at NBA All-Star Game

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    Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, 2017-18 Rookie of the Year runner-up Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz and two-time reigning NBA Western Conference Rookie of the Month Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks lead the list of 20 players selected by NBA assistant coaches to play in the 2019 MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars on Friday, Feb. 15 at 9 p.m. ET at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C.

    The 25th Rising Stars will pit 10 first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against 10 first- and second-year NBA players from around the world in the league’s annual showcase of premier young talent during NBA All-Star.  MTN DEW ICE will serve as the title partner, expanding on its continued commitment to supporting up-and-coming stars throughout the sport.  MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars will air live in the U.S. on TNT and ESPN Radio.  Tickets are available at NBAEvents.com.

    In addition to Mitchell, the U.S. Team features Brooklyn Nets center Jarrett Allen, Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III and guard De’Aaron Fox, Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball and forward Kyle Kuzma, Atlanta Hawks forward/center John Collins and guard Trae Young, Memphis Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum.

    Simmons (Australia) and Dončić (Slovenia) are joined on the World Team by Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby (United Kingdom), Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (Bahamas), Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanović (Serbia), LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canada), Nets forward Rodions Kurucs (Latvia), Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen (Finland), Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Nigeria) and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman (Turkey).

    Each participant on the World Team’s 10-player roster hails from a different country, with four continents represented (North America, Africa, Europe and Australia).  The World Team also includes three players who participated as campers in Basketball Without Borders (BWB), the NBA and FIBA’s global basketball development and community outreach program: Ayton (BWB Global 2016), Gilgeous-Alexander (BWB Global 2016) and Markkanen (BWB Europe 2014; BWB Global 2015).

    Boston’s Kyrie Irving (U.S. Team) and Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (World Team) will serve as honorary coaches in MTN DEW ICE Rising Stars.  The official Rising Stars head coaches will be an assistant coach from each 2019 NBA All-Star Game coaching staff.  The All-Star Game coaching staffs are determined by the best record in each conference through games played on Sunday, Feb. 3.

    Irving, a six-time NBA All-Star selection who will start this year’s All-Star Game, was the 2012 Rising Stars MVP.  Nowitzki, a 13-time All-Star from Germany, ranks seventh on the NBA’s all-time points list (31,254) and is the career scoring leader among international players.  He played in the 2000 Rising Stars.

    In last year’s event, the World Team defeated the U.S. Team 155-124.  Sacramento’s Bogdanović was named the 2018 Rising Stars MVP after making seven three-pointers and finishing with 26 points, six assists and four rebounds.

    NBA opening-night rosters for the 2018-19 season featured 108 international players from a record-tying 42 countries and territories.  This marked the fifth consecutive season that opening-night rosters included at least 100 international players and that all 30 teams had at least one international player.

    (Release via NBA)

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.