Giannis Antetokounmpo’s star has never been brighter,…

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s star has never been brighter, with his game and profile extending beyond the seemingly endless bounds of his zip-code-covering strides. He had more All-Star votes than any player in the first ballot release, a surprising turn for an international player who doesn’t hail from a nation with more than two billion inhabitants. Yao Ming is the only non-American to get the most All-Star votes and he’s been retired from the NBA since 2011. But what might have been even more startling than Antetokounmpo leading LeBron James in voting is that two players born outside the United States — Joel Embiid and Kristaps Porzingis — are third and fourth among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. These new young talents not only represent their respective franchises but also stand to serve as the face of the league for years to come. “We believe we can do it,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports. “It’s not that bad of a responsibility. I love it.”
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January 16, 2018 | 9:59 pm EST Update
After the Mavericks’ shootaround at Pepsi Center on Tuesday, Dennis Smith Jr. clearly laid out his thoughts on the Verizon Slam Dunk event that will be on Saturday night, Feb. 17, in Los Angeles. “That’s something I’d like to do,” the 20-year-old said. “If I’m given the opportunity, I’m definitely willing to do it. That’s the event that I watched a lot growing up, and it’s probably the most exciting event of the All-Star weekend, except the actual game.”
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The reigning slam dunk champion won’t be back in time to defend his crown but would like to see Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell participate in Los Angeles just like the rest of the world. “Definitely. Just based off the highlights that I’ve seen and just watching his game. I like his game,” Glenn Robinson III said. “I know a lot of people do and a lot of fans is excited and that’s the most important part. So I think that he definitely is going to be on that list to be in it.”
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