NEW ORLEANS – The NBA announced earlier today that Pelicans forward Anthony Davis will participate in the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge taking place during State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night on February 18 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans as part of NBA All-Star Weekend. Davis will be joined in the competition by DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Kristaps Prozingis (New York Knicks), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers), Isaiah Thomas (Boston Celtics), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz) and John Wall (Washington Wizards).
This marks Davis’ second time competing in the Skills Challenge, as he participated in the event during last year’s All-Star Saturday Night in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.
The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge tips off State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night, which will be televised by TNT at 8 p.m. ET and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime. In addition, the competition will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, with audio also available on the ESPN app.
With Davis, Cousins, Embiid and Porzingis competing, this marks the second straight year that four big men will be showing off their versatility in the traditionally guard-heavy event. The three-round, obstacle-course competition, which tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting skills, will feature a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format for the third year in a row. The four big men will be on one side of the bracket and the remaining four players will be on the other side of the bracket. First-round matchups will be announced at a later date.
The Taco Bell® Skills Challenge format calls for two players to compete simultaneously on an identical course with the fastest finisher reaching the next round. In the first round, the eight players are paired to participate in four head-to-head competitions. The four winners advance to the second round, where two more head-to-head showdowns determine the two finalists. Complete rules can be found at mediacentral.nba.com.
On January 19, the NBA announced that Davis was named a Western Conference starter for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, February 19 at the Smoothie King Center. The selection marked Davis’ fourth in a row to the All-Star Game, and his second as a starter. In addition to his All-Star selections, Davis has previously participated in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in 2013 and 2014.
NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. The 66th NBA All-Star Game, which will take place on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Smoothie King Center, will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 15th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 32nd year of NBA All-Star coverage. Smoothie King Center will also host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 17 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 18. The NBA All-Star Practice, NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Below is the roster for the 2017 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and a list of previous winners:
2017 TACO BELL® SKILLS CHALLENGE PARTICIPANTS
Participant, Team Pos. Ht. Wt.
Devin Booker Phoenix Suns G 6-6 206
DeMarcus Cousins Sacramento Kings F/C 6-11 270
Anthony Davis New Orleans Pelicans F/C 6-11 253
Joel Embiid Philadelphia 76ers C 7-0 250
Gordon Hayward Utah Jazz F 6-8 226
Kristaps Porzingis New York Knicks F 7-3 240
Isaiah Thomas Boston Celtics G 5-9 185
John Wall Washington Wizards G 6-4 210
TACO BELL® SKILLS CHALLENGE WINNERS
2003 – Jason Kidd, New Jersey
2004 – Baron Davis, New Orleans
2005 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
2007 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
2008 – Deron Williams, Utah
2009 – Derrick Rose, Chicago
2010 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
2011 – Stephen Curry, Golden State
2012 – Tony Parker, San Antonio
2013 – Damian Lillard, Portland
2014 – Trey Burke, Utah and Damian Lillard, Portland
2015 – Patrick Beverley, Houston Rockets
2016 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves