The highly anticipated SBL All-Star weekend starts this afternoon, when more than 3,000 fans are expected to flock to the Hsinchu County Arena to cheer on their favorite stars.
Autograph-signing sessions will lead a variety of festivities outside the arena intended to bring the fans up close and personal with the top players in the league before they suit up for the one-of-a-kind friendly match between five frontcourt players (over 1.95m) and five backcourt players (under 1.8m). The match, which is being billed as “the Battle between the Heavenly Dragons and the Earthly Tigers,” will feature the 2.02m Yulon Luxgens center Lin Huan-chao and Bank of Taiwan’s 1.63m point guard Jien Ming-fu.
Following the battle of extremes will be the classic Mixed Shooting Star Competition, in which a retired basketball great will team up with a veteran player and a rookie or sophomore from each of the seven teams to try to make shots from seven locations of increasing difficulty in a set order as quickly as they can.
The first half of the annual All-Star Game will commence after the Mixed Shooting Star Competition, with the Scarlet Knights — made up of players from Taiwan Beer, the Yulon Luxgens and Pure Youth Construction — taking on the White Knights, made up of players from the Dacin Tigers, Kinmen Liquor, the Taiwan Mobile Leopards and Bank of Taiwan. Next up is the Three-Point Shootout and the annual Slam Dunk Contest.
Leading this year’s vote-getters for the honor to represent the Scarlet Knights’ starting five are Taiwan Beer’s Wu Dai-hao, Ho Sho-cheng and Yen Hsing-shu, the Luxgens’ Lee Hsueh-lin and Taiwan Beer’s Lin Chih-jeh, who will be standing in for the Luxgens’ injured Chen Hsin-an. The White Knights will send in the Tigers’ Byron Allen, Tien Lei and Chang Chih-fong, the Bankers’ Hsu Chih-chiang and Leopards great Wu Yong-ren.
The shootout is likely to be a three-way battle between Wu, Chen Shih-nian (Taiwan Beer) and Pure Youth’s Chen Jung-jeh, while the Slam Dunk Contest will feature four players with foreign connections: Allen (American), Doug Creighton (Taiwanese-American), Lin Jeh-min (Taiwanese-African) and New Zealand-born Taiwanese Chung Hsio-nai.