Nike Illustrates Your Favorite Players For All-Star Weekend 2016

All-Star Weekend is a conglomeration of talent and skill; much like the skills put into these illustrations of your favorite players to hit the court this year. Nike releases these awesome celebratory caricatures of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and more. Karl-Anthony Towns, winner of the Skills Competition, gets a stunning portrait while Zach Levine’s epic dunk on Saturday is forever immortalized in suspended animation. As an added bonus, the selection of illustrations even includes a history of all of Kobe’s 11 Nike Basketball All-Star sneakers to commemorate his final appearance. Check out the drawings above, plus the full set here, and set your smartphone’s wallpaper for the weekend.

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One Last Hurrah: Remembering Kobe Bryant’s Best All-Star Moments

Walking the path toward his 18th and final NBA All-Star Game, Kobe Bryant has surely left a trail of breadcrumbs that fans will remember for a very long time. Drafted out of Lower Merion High School back in 1996, Kobe Bryant began his All-Star routine in 1998 and hasn’t looked back ever since. From the days of being number 8 with his trademark afro to switching things up to 24 along with a piercing snarl as he introduced his opponents to his "Black Mamba" alter ego, each season’s anticipated game became a showcase for Bryant and he surely hasn’t disappointed over the years. As we bid farewell to what many agree to be this generation’s Michael Jordan during his final star studded appearance, it’s only right that we look back upon Kobe’s best moments during the highly anticipated battle between the Eastern & Western Conferences over the years.
1997 – The Young Laker Makes A Statement
The year is 1997 and it’s time to take flight. Taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, a young Kobe Bryant took his talents to the hardwood to showcase his leaping ability in the league’s highly popular dunk contest. Competing against the likes of Ray Allen, Michael Finley and more, the soon to be Black Mamba took home the trophy with flair, style and a bit of cockiness that would leave a long-lasting impression amongst all in attendance. Prior to winning the Slam Dunk Contest, Bryant would also drop 31 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assist and 2 steals to set the record for most points within the NBA’s Rookie/Sophomore Game during that time.
1998/2003 – Boy Meets Legend … Boy Becomes Legend

The stage has been set and it’s time to shine. Along with many other young kids who were able to see Michael Jordan play growing up, Kobe Bryant took emulating his idol to new heights by eventually squaring off with him. Although the two previously met during the regular season, an All Star Game is a different type of animal. Meeting up in Madison Square Garden back in 1998, the two managed to steal the show by leading their respective teams in points. Ultimately, MJ got the best of a young Kobe as he contributed 23 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assist and 3 steals. Not too far behind, Bryant managed to add 18 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in the loss which was a look into the future of highly anticipated match-ups between the two.
Fast forward to 2003 and the two meet again. This time around we see MJ in his final All-Star appearance representing a new team in the Washington Wizards while Kobe Bryant goes into the festivities averaging 30 points and 6.9 rebounds per game with 3 NBA Championships under his belt. As the two began to exchange unforgettable highlights, some trash talking between Kobe & Jordan created a scene that fans will always remember. Propelling the Western Conference to a 155-145 victory, Kobe Bryant filled the stat sheet with 22 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assist and 3 steals while Jordan added 18 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals to the Eastern Conference’s point total.
4x MVP Trophies
With numerous All-Star game appearances under his belt, it’s safe to assume that over the years Kobe would steal the show more than once. In a league of his own, Kobe Bryant managed to go home with 4 NBA All-Star Game MVPs in 2002, 2007, 2009 (co-MVP with Shaquille O’Neil) and in 2011. Amongst an elite class, each and every time he stepped foot on the court during the entertaining All-Star exhibition, the Black Mamba left it all on the hardwood.
2002 (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) – 31 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assist
2007 (Las Vegas, Nevada) – 31 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assist, 6 steals
2009 (Phoenix, Arizona; co-MVP with Shaquille O’Neil) – 27 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assist, 4 steals
2011 (Los Angeles, California) – 37 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assist, 3 steals
2011 – Kobe Bryant Refrains from Passing the Torch in LA

With it being his last All-Star game in his town of Los Angeles, The Black Mamba managed to teach the young generation a thing or two about what it takes to be a veteran. Due to the extreme competitive nature of Kobe, it was almost expected for him to aim for the night’s most prestigious honor in the MVP trophy. Adding 37 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assist and 3 steals to the Western Conference’s 148-143 win over the Eastern Conference, The Black Mamba managed to protect his Los Angeles home court while going against younger players who would eventually be the prime faces among the NBA upon his departure from the league.
2012 – His Airness Takes a Backseat to the Black Mamba
Averaging 27.9 points per game during the 2011-2012 Season, Bryant was still referred to as one of the league’s biggest threats although approaching the back end of his career. Through the years, Kobe constantly face comparisons to Michael Jordan due to their similar style of play and competitiveness, but during this exhibition in Orlando, Florida, number 24 would get the best of number 23 as Kobe would pass MJ’s All-Star point total of 262 by contributing 27 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist and 2 steals in the Western Conference’s victory over the East.
2016 – The Farewell

The bittersweet feeling has arrived and one can only imagine what’s going on within the head of the Black Mamba. One last All-Star game and the location is in Toronto, away from his home crowd back in LA. After unveiling in November that the current season would be Bryant’s last in the league, a trend of goodbyes has been set for the man with 5 championship rings along with an endless list of accolades. Receiving the highest amount of All-Star votes among this year’s elite class of NBA players with 1,891,614, you can expect Toronto’s crowd to be on the edge of their seat as they anticipate one final turnaround jump-shot from number 24.

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Dr. Dre to Star in Apple’s First Original Scripted Series

Despite the lack of its own subscription television streaming service, Apple appears to be venturing into the television business — at least in some capacity — anyway. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Cupertino tech giant is set to launch its very own original scripted series — starring none other than Dr. Dre. Reportedly entitled Vital Signs, the series will be "semi-autobiographical, with each episode focusing on a different emotion and how Dre’s character deals with it." Sam Rockwell and Mo McCrae will also reportedly be a part of the cast.
Apple will also reportedly air the six-episode mini-series via Apple Music, with all episodes dropping at the same time in Netflix-like fashion.

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CSS Sports // NBA Players Pull Out Heat Leading to All-Star Weekend

With Super Bowl 50 in the rearview mirror, the sports landscape just continues to churn out incredible events as Toronto is set to host their first ever NBA All-Star game this weekend. As the NBA’s best arrive in “The 6ix” for a very festive string of days, the abundance of notable footwear has emerged as […]

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The Nike Air Icarus Returns in Another Early ’90s Colorway

Nike already resurrected 1991’s fan-favorite Air Icarus in OG "Bright Crimson" form and now the retro runner is back in yet another colorway that harkens back to the era. Boasting OG mesh and suede construction, this take on the old school design once again employs an off-white suede upper, but this time pairs it with "Volt"-colored mesh and a black Swoosh as "Fuchsia Flash" accents decorate the tongue, heel and upper eyelets. Last but not least, additional "Volt" accents take care of the embroidered branding and hit the otherwise black rubber outsole as well.
Fans of classic runners can pick these up from NSW stockists like Berlin’s Overkill beginning Monday, February 15.

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A Closer Look at the Footwear from Yeezy Season 3

Yesterday, Kanye West and adidas hosted thousands of fans and a handful of famous friends at the Yeezy Season 3 presentation at Madison Square Garden. Doubling as a listening party for his new album The Life of Pablo, the Vanessa Beecroft led art piece saw the latest apparel offerings from Mr. West while also previewing […]

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‘Views From the 6’ Billboard Goes up in Toronto

Drake has been continuously building the hype surrounding Views From the 6, starting from the initial announcement that the album would arrive in April, to the recent release of "Summer Sixteen." Now the OVO head honcho has stepped it up a notch in his hometown of Toronto, where a huge "VIEWS" billboard has gone up at Dundas Square. Coincidentally (or not), its located right above the new Jordan store. Stay tuned for more information on Drizzy’s latest project over at HYPETRAK.

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Reigning Champ NBA All-Star Collection

In partnership with Mitchell & Ness, Reigning Champ has cooked up a capsule collection especially for this month’s NBA All-Star Weekend. With this year’s festivities taking place in Toronto, this lineup’s completely made in Canada, with both the East and West represented in the form of a satin bomber jacket, crewneck sweatshirt, slim-fit sweatpant, crewneck […]

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