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Kobe a HOF finalist, Canada well represented at NBA All-Star Weekend

A worker prepares a stage before the NBA All-Star Rising Stars basketball game in Chicago, Friday, Feb. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

It’s one of the biggest weekends in the NBA, the All-Star Weekend. Over the next three days we are going to bring you into the excitement happening in Chicago.

On Friday there were dozens of events around the city but there were two main events – the Basketball Hall of Fame finalist announcement and The Rising Stars Event.

The Hall of Fame finalists announcement is a live broadcast from the bowels of the United Centre Arena in Chicago. It’s pretty cool because you have Hall of Fame Alumni such as Gary Payton and Grant Hill as well as some of the finalists themselves all in the same room.

It’s great except if you sit behind Kevin Garnett because it’s like sitting behind a wall. Who am I kidding? That’s still pretty awesome!

Kevin was one of eight finalists named for the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class. He as well as the seven other finalists which included the late Kobe Bryant will find out April 4th if they are selected.

Tamika Catchings, a 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist, also made the short list. She spoke about what it was like to be potentially in the class with Kobe Bryant.

The Rising Stars game was played in the house that Michael built. Yes, I’m talking about the G.O.A.T Michael Jordan and his impact of the game is not lost on the rookies who took part in Friday’s showcase.

“I grew up Idolizing MJ,” New York Knicks guard and Toronto native RJ Barrett said before the game. “He’s the best to do it so to be able to play in the Rising Stars challenge for my first time in Chicago, it’s great.”

RJ Is just one of four Canadians that were showcased from the Great White North in the game.

Joining RJ on Team World was Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Toronto, ON), Brandon Clarke (Vancouver, BC) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Toronto, ON).

And speaking of Canada, Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia says he is “in awe” after learning he will be honoured by the Basketball Hall of Fame. It was announced on Friday Bhatia will be featured in a new gallery that will be built in the Springfield, Massachusetts museum.

Saturday night is the time for Raptors Pascal Siakam to shine as he competes in the NBA All-Star skills challenge.

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