AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – The NBA announced today that Pistons guard Brandon Knight has been selected to participate in the 2013 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge on Feb. 16, at Toyota Center in Houston, as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Joining Knight in the six-player field will be the defending champion Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets, and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks.
“I’m honored to be selected as one of the participants for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star 2013,” said Knight. “There is definitely a great field of players participating in the event and I look forward to representing the Detroit Pistons organization and our fans.”
Knight becomes the first Pistons player to participate in the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night activities since Arron Afflalo joined Pistons legend Bill Laimbeer and former Detroit Shock star Katie Smith to win the Shooting Stars Competition at NBA All-Star 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.
For the first time, State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature a new format that pits the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in a night of competition that will raise money for charity. As part of the new format, points earned by each conference throughout the four All-Star Skills Competitions will determine the conference that earns the title of 2013 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night Champion.
Three players representing the Western Conference and three players representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the two-round competition. The two competitors with the fastest times from their respective conferences in the Team Round advance to the Championship Round.
This is the fourth year Taco Bell has offered the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens experience for teens at the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In partnership with NBA Cares and the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, each Taco Bell Skills Challenge player will be paired with an All-Star teen from a Houston area Boys & Girls Club who has shown outstanding leadership and determination to stay in school despite personal obstacles. All participating teens will receive the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens experience of a lifetime: a behind-the-scenes career tour of NBA All-Star; an opportunity to meet with NBA players; the chance to be on the court during the Taco Bell Skills Challenge to cheer on their NBA player; and an educational scholarship. At the conclusion of this event, $55,000 in educational scholarships will be awarded to the participating All-Star teens. The teen paired with the winning Taco Bell Skills Challenge player will receive a $25,000 educational scholarship.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features six players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course.
State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; the Sears Shooting Stars; and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in 215 countries and will be broadcast in 47 languages.