Many NBA fans will enjoy the full breadth of All-Star Weekend, but most are just counting down the hours until the main event: the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest.
The league will envelope all of Toronto this weekend, beginning Friday with the Rising Stars Challenge and the All-Star Celebrity Game and then turn to Saturday’s full slate of competitions starting with the Skills Challenge and the Three-Point Contest and ending with the Slam Dunk showdown.
However, for fans who prefer only to watch Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine defending his Slam Dunk title rather than sit through Saturday’s first two competitions we can deduce the right time to tune in.
Assuming all goes according to plan, and based off last year’s schedule, the Dunk Contest should commence between 9:45 p.m. and 9:55 p.m. ET. Last year, the night went a little long as LaVine didn’t sew up his dunk title just after 11:00 p.m. at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Based off the NBA’s schedule of events, this year All-Star Saturday night tips off at 8 p.m. ET and is scheduled to run until 10: 30 p.m. The Skills Challenger is first up, and with eight total participants and three rounds in the tournament it’s likely to run a little under an hour.
Throughout the evening the NBA will have at least one or two musical performances, which should breakup the time between each contest. After Skills Challenge will be the Three-Point Contest, which start after 9 p.m. ET. Just like last year, there are eight players participating in the shooting contest and it’s scheduled to go only two full rounds.
Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry will defend his title against Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Miami’s Chris Bosh, Houston’s James Harden, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, the Clippers J.J. Redick, and Golden State teammate Klay Thompson.
Then it's the dunk contest, as LaVine will collide against Denver’s Will Barton, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, and Detroit’s Andre Drummond.
The Dunk Contest itself, also constructed as a two-round tournament with only four contestants, should run a little over TNT’s projected end time of 10:30 p.m., but not by much.
Projected Actual Start Time: 9:45 p.m.
TV Channel: TNT