(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Shaquille O'Neal talks to reporters before filming the TNT show Inside the NBA from the Complex in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.
The second day of NBA All-Star weekend is set to begin on Saturday, with the attention turning to the established stars.
After the rookies and second-year players had their turn Friday night, the weekend will get into full swing with the dunk contest, three-point contest and skills challenge for All-Star Saturday night. Before that, there will be the All-Star practice at the Huntsman Center at 11 a.m.
Jazz players Jordan Clarkson, Collin Sexton and Walker Kessler will represent Utah in the skills challenge. Lauri Markkanen will open up his all-star weekend in the three-point contest.
Throughout the day, NBA commissioner Adam Silver will also speak at 5 p.m. inside Vivint Arena. And the NBA will host an HBCU game between Southern and Grambling State at the Huntsman Center at 2 p.m.
Time for All-Star Saturday night: 6 p.m. MT
Streaming: Sling TV, fuboTV
Here is a look at some of the news, notes and sounds from the heart of All-Star weekend:
The Pie Pizzeria is a crucial part of the University of Utah campus experience for most students. So it’s possible that NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal miffed the MUSS on Friday night at the Huntsman Center.
During the NBA’s celebrity all-star game, Jimmy Kimmel sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez made his way across the court to offer O’Neal a slice of pizza from the beloved local pizzeria.
The reason? Papa John’s recently signed Shaq to an endorsement deal worth $5.6 million over the next three years.
Shaq signed a 3-year, $5.6 million endorsement extension with Papa John’s in April.
He was not about to be seen eating another kind of pizza at All-Star weekend 😂pic.twitter.com/9ZzliOrA0m— Front Office Sports (@FOS) February 18, 2023
Former Jazz player Carlos Boozer has already been a staple of All-Star festivities this week. He was at an NBA Cares event at Lincoln Elementary in South Salt Lake on Thursday. He played in the celebrity game on Friday.
Boozer, who spent six seasons in Salt Lake City from 2004-10, is reuniting with a fanbase eager to welcome him back. But the biggest question for him these days is about the future of his basketball prodigy sons.
Cameron and Cayden Boozer are highly-rated high school players in the class of 2025. Cameron Boozer is No. 1 in the 2025 class, per ESPN. Cayden Boozer checks in at No. 24.
With the Jazz’s arsenal of draft picks, could another Boozer be playing in Salt Lake? The oldest Boozer hopes so.
“They are working their butts off and they are hard-working kids,” Carlos Boozer told The Tribune. “They love the game and they are getting better. The Jazz have done a good job of locking up all those draft picks in the next three years. So we will see. Fingers crossed.”
A secret motivation for Boozer?
“If they come here maybe I can snowboard a little bit,” he laughed.