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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Shooting among stars, Desmond Bane’s winning dream was not to be

CLEVELAND – As Memphis sharpshooter Desmond Bane reached for balls from a rack set up for the NBA All-Star 3-point shooting contest, stars from various professional domains looked on and/or chatted with each other.

For many – if not most – the three-point shooting competition has become the signature event of NBA All-Star Saturday, even displacing the once fan-favorite slam dunk contest. The NBA has become a shooter’s association and winning the title of the league’s best shooter is a coveted treasure.

Spike Lee, Forrest Whitaker, Fat Joe, Lil Wayne and numerous other luminaries turned Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Arena into a gallery for some of the most prominent sports people and sports lovers in the country. Even former University of Memphis head coach Tubby Smith was in the house.

Bane’s dream of bringing the winner’s trophy to Memphis became a deferred ambition. The first of eight contestants, he set the bar at 18 and finished the first round in sixth place. The top three players advanced to the second round.

Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns eventually took the crown with 29 points, with the L.A. Clippers’ Luke Kennard and Atlanta’s electrifying guard Trae Young finishing with 26 points.

Towns is the first big man to win the contest since 2012. Cleveland forward Kevin Love was a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves when he won the contest.

Here is a gallery sampling of the myriad images:

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