NBA All-Star Weekend: Jayson Tatum wins All-Star Game MVP

Weber State alum Damian Lillard and Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen helped Team Giannis beat Team LeBron on Sunday night at Vivint Arena.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Karl Malone at the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

Jayson Tatum wins MVP as Team Giannis beats Team LeBron

Jayson Tatum put on a record-setting show, and made Giannis Antetokounmpo look like a genius.

Tatum scored an All-Star Game-record 55 points, and Team Giannis ended LeBron James’ hold on All-Star captain supremacy by beating Team LeBron 184-176 in the NBA’s annual showcase exhibition on Sunday night.

Tatum had 27 points in the third quarter, another All-Star Game record for any period. He was the first pick by Antetokounmpo in the starters’ portion of the All-Star draft, and in the end, that pick proved to be the right one.

It was James’ first loss in six times as captain. Antetokounmpo improved to 1-2 in his All-Star captaincies.

Donovan Mitchell added 40 for Team Giannis, which got 26 points from Damian Lillard — including the game-winner to push his team past the target score.

Jaylen Brown scored 35 points and had 14 rebounds for Team LeBron, while Kyrie Irving had 32 points and 15 assists and Joel Embiid finished with 32 points.

Lillard, the winner of the 3-point contest on All-Star Saturday Night, made eight 3s — including a halfcourt pullup in the third quarter.

— The Associated Press

Charles Barkley calls Salt Lake City a “boring a--” city

On the TNT broadcast, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal were talking about their time in Salt Lake City this weekend.

As for Barkley’s take, he believes Salt Lake is a “boring a--” city.

“These people going to heaven,” Barkley said. “Ain’t nothing to do in this boring a-- city.”

O’Neal seemingly agreed, saying he has never “ate so much room service in [his] life.”

Travis Scott, Jennifer Hudson and Spike Lee among celebrities at All-Star game

Travis Scott, 21 Savage and Janelle Monáe headlined the roughly 44 celebrities that were inside Vivint Arena for the All-Star game. Lil Baby, Post Malone and Jennifer Hudson were also in attendance.

Several famous athletes made their way to Salt Lake, including Naomi Osaka, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lindsey Vonn and Julius Erving. Spike Lee, Simu Liu and Vin Diesel were watching as well.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith and Spike Lee at the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

Other celebrities on the list include Rick Ross, Ranveer Singh, G-Easy, DK Metcalf, Calvin Johnson, Albert Pujols, Guy Fieri, Pau Gasol, Frances Tiafoe and Tracy McGrady.

Tems, Burna Boy and Rema perform at halftime

After a Post Malone and 21 Savage performance to start the night, Tems, Burna Boy and Rema provided the halftime show.

Vivint Arena sings happy birthday to Charles Barkley

The famous TNT broadcaster Charles Barkley turned 60 years old on Sunday. During a television timeout, Shaquille O’Neal led Vivint Arena in a rendition of happy birthday for Barkley. Multiple mascots came over to present Barkely with an assortment of treats.

Post Malone and 21 Savage perform to open All-Star game

After the first NBA All-Star draft wrapped up, Utah resident Post Malone came on stage for a brief concert. He was joined by rapper 21 Savage.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Post Malone perform before the NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Area, on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

Payson native Jewel performed the national anthem.

LeBron James talks Lauri Markkanen, and his connection with the Jazz star

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer LeBron James gave his take on the Jazz’s first-time All-Star Lauri Markkanen. According to James, Markkanen’s quick rise this year doesn’t come as a surprise to him.

“I think it is all about more and more opportunity,” James said. “The talent has always been there since he came from Arizona. He got drafted by the Bulls and you saw the talent. Then he went to Cleveland and you saw the talent there as well. Now he is the centerpiece and the focal point here in Utah. Now he is able to show not only his talent, but showcase it even more because they run a lot through him. He is able to do it more often.”

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) LeBron James speaks at a news conference before the NBA All-Star game in Salt Lake City on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2023.

Markkanen is in his sixth year in the league, but having his best season by a wide margin. He is averaging 24.9 points per game, up from his career-average of 16.9. He is shooting over 40% from the three-point line and over 50% from two. He is nearing a 50-40-90 season.

For James, there is a little added connection too.

“I’ve always liked him because he has worn LeBron shoes,” James said. “He has always been cool with me.”

Markkanen picked by Giannis Antetokounmpo in All-Star game

The hometown All-Star was picked last among the starters by Giannis Antetokounmpo.

He will start along with former Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Ja Morant and Antetokounmpo.

Protests begin outside of Vivint Arena hours before tip

A protest marched past Vivint Arena two hours before tipoff. It is a march designed to support those experiencing homelessness in Salt Lake City.

The protesters were redirected by police and security, according to Tribune reporter Palak Jayswal.