Former NBA All-Star Slam Dunk champion Dwight Howard will participate in the competition for the first time in 11 years as the league revealed the fields for the three challenges.

Howard was memorably crowned champion during his time with the Orlando Magic in 2008, however, the Los Angeles Lakers center last featured in 2009.

The eight-time All-Star headlines the field for the Slam Dunk contest, which will take place at the United Center in Chicago on February 15.

This is the first time the Slam Dunk event is being held in Chicago since 1998, when Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan famously outduelled the Atlanta Hawks' Dominique Wilkins.

Hamidou Diallo of the Oklahoma City Thunder won the contest last year.

Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris will defend his Three-Point Contest title, while Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum headlines the field for the Skills Challenge.

 

Skills Challenge (first event)

Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Patrick Beverley, Los Angeles Clippers
Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn Nets
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons
Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Three-Point Contest (second event)

Davis Bertans, Washington Wizards
Devonte' Graham, Charlotte Hornets
Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
Zach LaVine, Chicago Bulls
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Duncan Robinson, Miami Heat
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks

Slam Dunk (third event)

Pat Connaughton, Milwaukee Bucks
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
Derrick Jones Jr., Miami Heat

Gregg Popovich defended Team USA and hit out at a "ridiculous" lack of respect for other nations at the FIBA World Cup after the reigning champions ended their campaign with an 87-74 victory over Poland.

A significantly weakened US squad - missing a host of star names but still packed with NBA experience - saw their title defence ended by France at the quarter-final stage earlier this week, before also losing to Serbia.

That meant Saturday's triumph at Beijing's Wukesong Sport Arena, in which Donovan Mitchell starred with 16 points and 10 assists, was only enough to secure seventh place for the country that won gold at each of the last two World Cups.

Popovich nevertheless said he was proud of his players' efforts as he firmly rejected some of the criticism that has come the USA's way.

"Some people want to play the blame game, there's no blame to be placed anywhere," the veteran head coach was quoted as saying by ESPN. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal?

"That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could.

"Their effort was fantastic. You give people credit for what they did, and that's it. But it's not a blame and shame game, that's ridiculous."

Mitchell was one of five players to put up a double-figure points tally in the USA's final game, along with Joe Harris (14), Khris Middleton (13), Derrick White (12) and Harrison Barnes (10). Middleton also contributed six rebounds and half a dozen assists.

Poland, playing their first World Cup since 1967, were paced by Mateusz Ponitka (18 points), Adam Waczynski (17) and A.J. Slaughter (15).

The outcome was decided early with Team USA scoring the game's first 10 points and stretching their lead to 14 by the end of the first quarter.

They led 47-30 at half-time, aided by Poland's inability to hit from three-point range. The underdogs missed their first 13 shots from behind the arc before finally getting one to fall with a minute and 28 seconds to play before the interval.

Poland did rally in the second half, getting as close as seven points with four minutes and seven seconds left in the third quarter, but the Americans responded with a 9-2 run and ran out comfortable winners.

Serbia secured fifth spot with a 90-81 victory over Czech Republic later in the day, Bogdan Bogdanovic the star of the show with 31 points.

Gregg Popovich defended Team USA and hit out at a "ridiculous" lack of respect for other nations at the FIBA World Cup after the reigning champions ended their campaign with an 87-74 victory over Poland.

A significantly weakened US squad - missing a host of star names but still packed with NBA experience - saw their title defence ended by France at the quarter-final stage earlier this week, before also losing to Serbia.

That meant Saturday's triumph at Beijing's Wukesong Sport Arena, in which Donovan Mitchell starred with 16 points and 10 assists, was only enough to secure seventh place for the country that won gold at each of the last two World Cups.

Popovich nevertheless said he was proud of his players' efforts as he firmly rejected some of the criticism that has come the USA's way.

"Some people want to play the blame game, there's no blame to be placed anywhere," the veteran head coach was quoted as saying by ESPN. "They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn't win a gold medal?

"That's a ridiculous attitude. It's immature, it's arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn't respect all the other teams in the world and doesn't respect that these guys did the best they could.

"Their effort was fantastic. You give people credit for what they did, and that's it. But it's not a blame and shame game, that's ridiculous."

Mitchell was one of five players to put up a double-figure points tally in the USA's final game, along with Joe Harris (14), Khris Middleton (13), Derrick White (12) and Harrison Barnes (10). Middleton also contributed six rebounds and half a dozen assists.

Poland, playing their first World Cup since 1967, were paced by Mateusz Ponitka (18 points), Adam Waczynski (17) and A.J. Slaughter (15).

The outcome was decided early with Team USA scoring the game's first 10 points and stretching their lead to 14 by the end of the first quarter.

They led 47-30 at half-time, aided by Poland's inability to hit from three-point range. The underdogs missed their first 13 shots from behind the arc before finally getting one to fall with a minute and 28 seconds to play before the interval.

Poland did rally in the second half, getting as close as seven points with four minutes and seven seconds left in the third quarter, but the Americans responded with a 9-2 run and ran out comfortable winners.

Brooklyn Nets recruit Kyrie Irving is "misunderstood" and a "great team-mate", insisted Joe Harris.

Irving – a six-time All-Star and 2016 NBA champion – swapped the Boston Celtics for Eastern Conference rivals the Nets via free agency.

Harris and Irving were team-mates with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will be reunited once again in Brooklyn.

Irving will be joining the Nets after a rough stint in Boston, where he was reportedly unhappy and had issues with team-mates as well as the coaching staff.

Harris, however, defended Irving after telling the New York Post: "Kyrie, he's got a big personality. He's one of these guys that's misunderstood.

"The way that he's construed in the media is probably going to paint him in a light that is not necessarily true. I'd say you could ask a lot of people that played with him and they'd all say that he's a great team-mate and a good guy to be around."

Harris said he enjoyed his time playing with Irving and was looking forward to sharing the court with him again.

"None of us are perfect all the time," Harris said. "We're all going to have ups and downs throughout the course of the season. …  For him, unfortunately, he's just in one of these scenarios where there's so much more attention on him and people are paying much more attention to when he does have an off day.

"I have off days all the time, too, but nobody really cares when I have an off day. People care when Kyrie does."

Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for the Celtics last season.

"He's one of these guys where he's very much must-see," Harris said. "We all know the talent, but I got to see it for a year and a half every day. … He really is that talented. He's a top-10 talent."

The Nets also added star Kevin Durant and center DeAndre Jordan this offseason. Meanwhile, they sent D'Angelo Russell to the Golden State Warriors in a sign-and-trade.

Harris poured in a career-high 13.7 points per game and shot 47.4 per cent from three-point range for Brooklyn in 2018-19.

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry put on a show but Brooklyn Nets guard Joe Harris won the NBA All-Star Three-Point contest.

Curry claimed the shooting event in 2014-15 and the two-time MVP looked on track for another victory in Charlotte on Saturday.

One of the best shooters in the NBA, Curry made his final 10 shots to post a first-round score of 27, while Harris managed 25.

Featuring in his first All-Star weekend, Harris scored 26 points in the championship round – two more than Curry.

Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings finished third with 19 points at the Spectrum Center.

"I'm just fortunate to be here," Harris told TNT. "We were talking about it coming in, obviously the field is stacked … It's just an honor to be here, an honor to compete with everybody."

Last year's winner Devin Booker, Danny Green, Dirk Nowitzki, Seth Curry, Kemba Walker, Damian Lillard and Khris Middleton all featured in the event.

Harris, who went first in the contest, added: "I actually thought it would be an advantage because I was able to warm up beforehand.

"Instead of coming down and sitting and getting cold, I was able to get warm and get myself in a rhythm."

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