The stage is set for a thrilling NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte this year. Starting with the Rising Stars Challenge, this year’s festivities should be packed with excitement, showcasing some of the best talents in the league. As the NBA continues to market the game, in addition to the proceeding events of the weekend, more and more fans will be tuning in to catch a glimpse of the action.
Intriguing narratives highlight this year’s event: the battle between the Curry brothers in the Three-Point Shooting Contest, Dennis Smith Jr.’s return to the Dunk Contest, and a possible look at the Lakers star tandem in the future with Lebron James and Anthony Davis. It is sure to be a weekend that captures the attention of sports fans across the world, spotlighting players who may not otherwise garner media coverage.
The NBA has chosen to air every event during the weekend on TNT, ensuring that all fans get the chance to watch their favorite players compete in the many draws of All-Star Weekend. With added viewership comes a perfect opportunity to invest in players who are participating in the various contests in Charlotte, as well as a great time to flip cards of lesser-known players who perform well during the weekend.
I took a look at memorable moments of past All-Star Games, in order to better understand the effect of the events on players’ prices. First, I took a look at a recent MVP of the Rising Stars Game, which is played on Friday before the more traditional competitions. During the 2017 Rising Stars Challenge, Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets dropped 37 points in just 20 minutes, drilling nine threes while handing out 11 assists en route to winning MVP of the game. In the month before his electrifying performance, Murray’s Prizm Silver was selling for an average of $17.05 per raw copy, while the same cards sold for an average of $28.00 in the month following, a 64.22% increase.
While the Three-Point Contest and Skills Challenge tend to fly a bit under the radar, the Slam Dunk Contest attracts a large audience. In the past few years, we have seen captivating competitions like the one between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in 2016, along with surprise performances from underappreciated players such as Glenn Robinson III in 2017.
I chose to take a look at last years winner, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. In the two weeks prior to the dunk contest, Mitchell’s Prizm Silvers were running at an average of $315.09 per BGS 9.5. Although it was not a particularly astounding showing by the rookie, Mitchell’s collection of dunks earned him the trophy, another defining moment of his unforgettable rookie season. In the two weeks after winning the contest, Mitchell’s 9.5 Silver increased to an average of $352.38 per card, a rise of about 12% in value.
Because the official NBA All-Star Game tends to feature some of the league’s more established players, performances in this competition do not carry as much weight in each players’ respective market, but an MVP showing could certainly lead to a few BINs being hit.
As seen with the Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell examples, as well as general trends I have noticed through my years in the hobby, NBA All-Star Weekend is one of the most influential times of the season on the basketball card market. This year, the events feature exciting young talent, and it figures to bring increased attention to players who deliver on the national stage.
I am keeping my eye on a few players as we approach the break, specifically newly initiated Knick Dennis Smith Jr., who could bring the house down in Charlotte with his freakish athleticism and swagger. In the Rising Stars Challenge, I’m focused on Smith Jr’s teammate, Kevin Knox, an aggressive player who should thrive in the fast-paced style that will include a plethora of offensive skill and highlight-reel plays. Look for star Kemba Walker to give his home crowd something to cheer for in the Three-Point Shooting Contest and Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Overall, this year looks to be yet another fascinating slate of events, and hopefully we will see a few breakout performances from up-and-comers around the league. Make sure you tune in and don’t forget to raise the price on your DSJ cards if he catches a 360° alley-oop from J-Cole.
NBA All-Star Weekend Schedule
Rising Stars: Friday, February 15 @ 9 PM ET
Skills Challenge, 3PT Contest, Slam Dunk: Saturday, February 16 starting @ 8 PM ET
All-Star Game: Sunday, February 17 @ 8 PM ET