Two teams representing the Western Conference and two teams representing the Eastern Conference will compete in the 2013 Sears Shooting Stars as part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston
Representing the Western Conference from the NBA are James Harden, who earned his first career All-Star Game nod in his inaugural season with the Houston Rockets, and fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The WNBA stars for the West are Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx, a 2012 Olympic gold medal winner and 2011 WNBA champion, and the Seattle Storm’s Tina Thompson, the WNBA all-time leading scorer. NBA Legends Sam Cassell and Robert Horry, who played a combined 31 seasons in the league and won 10 NBA championships, round out the West representation. Cassell and Horry were teammates on a Rockets team that won back-to-back titles in 1994-95.
On behalf of the Eastern Conference from the NBA are Chris Bosh, an All-Star and key member of the reigning NBA champion Miami Heat, and All-Star Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets, who earned his first All-Star nod. The WNBA Eastern Conference stars are Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky, a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and Tamika Catchings, who guided the Indiana Fever to the 2012 WNBA title and earned Finals MVP honors along the way. The NBA Legends on the East squads are Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history at 5-3, who enjoyed a 14-year NBA career, and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, a nine-time NBA All-Star, who finished with 26,668 career points.
In last year’s competition, Team New York, which featured Landry Fields, Allan Houston and Cappie Pondexter, defeated Team Texas in the final round with a time of:37.3. Team Texas was comprised of Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Sophia Young (San Antonio Silver Stars), and Kenny Smith (NBA Legend).
Sears Shooting Stars is part of State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, an all-inclusive skills showcase, which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 16 at the Toyota Center in Houston and will be televised live by TNT at 8 p.m. ET. The other events consist of the the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, a contest of top guards working against the clock to complete a series of passes, free throws, layups and agility drills; the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest; and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. 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 competitions that will raise money for charity.
The Sears Shooting Stars contest features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and an NBA legend on each team. There are six numbered shooting locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course. (Complete rules for 2013 Sears Shooting Stars and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night attached).
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.
Congrats to Storm forward Tina Thompson, who became the first player in WNBA history to reach 7,000 career points with her bank shot at the 9:03 mark of the second quarter in the Storm’s victory over Chicago. Thompson came into the game needing seven points to hit the milestone and got there quickly, knocking down a pair of three-pointers in the opening quarter and that shot early in the second.
Thompson is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, and she and teammate Katie Smith are the only players in the history of American women’s professional basketball to score at least 7,000 points in their careers.
From the Seattle Times:
KeyArena engulfed Tina Thompson with cheers, scoreboard acknowledgments and congratulatory signs.
She was emotionless.
The Storm forward sank an open 13-foot jumper from the left side to surpass 7,000 career points — increasing her WNBA record — with 9:02 remaining before halftime of an eventual 75-60 win against Chicago that snapped a four-game losing streak. But Thompson gave the equivalent of a shrug after reaching the mark, quietly tending to guard Tanisha Wright, who was hit in the head on the assist to Thompson. Then Thompson gave a slight wave as the in-game celebration ensued.
As she has throughout her 16-year pro career, Thompson let her game do the talking. She entered the matchup midway through the first quarter, and her first six points buoyed a 14-4 run to help Seattle take a 26-13 lead.
“I’m really not an accolade-type of person unless it involves a really big trophy and rings to match,” Thompson said of winning a fifth WNBA title. “I didn’t know (I hit the mark) because Tanisha got hit in the face, so I wasn’t paying attention. Then Katie (Smith) came over and was like, ‘That (the applause) is for you.’ ”
I wish I could actually start this blog describing my emotions of how nervous and anxious I was in anticipation of my name being called and placed on the Draft board. Um, not so much!
The WNBA has come a long way since then, to say the least. My Draft Day experience was just a little different from what you all see on television today. There was no nervousness, very little anxiety and no anticipation. I actually knew I was going No. 1 overall and so did everyone else participating in the Draft; no uncertainty in any of our futures. This was all possible in large part to our Draft being what was referred to at that time as a Mock Draft. Therefore, any emotion you saw, credit my acting skills. How did I do? No Academy Award, but I think I did a pretty good job of looking surprised.
My decision to play in the WNBA had more drama than my Draft Day itself. I was very unsure whether the WNBA was my future or not. I had just graduated from college. I was in the middle of taking an LSAT prep class in hopes of getting into a top law school. Then there was the other league, the ABL (American Basketball League), referred to by most as the “players” league. Decisions, decisions, decisions! Too many decisions for a kid right out of college.
So there I was with a clear plan of what my future would look like. I had prepared most of my life to get to this point. And in a matter of days it was turned upside down. What I remember most from this experience is my cell phone ringing in the middle of my evening LSAT class and me struggling to stop it from ringing in the midst of sheer embarrassment! Everyone I knew was aware I was in class studying, so why is my phone ringing? I didn’t recognize the number at all; it would have to wait at least until class was over.
On the walk back to campus I listened to my voicemail; there was a message from a lady by the name of Renee Brown (WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations). She was calling to inform me that the WNBA was inviting me to play in their league. I have to admit — I listened to the message at least five times! Was she sure? Did she have the right number? Did she say Tina Thompson? Dude, was I stoked!
The Seattle Storm has signed forward Tina Thompson, the all-time leading scorer in the history of the WNBA, Storm Head Coach and General Manager Brian Agler announced today. The team has also re-signed Ewelina Kobryn. A reserved player, Kobryn signed the team’s qualifying offer and has been added to the Storm’s training camp roster. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Thompson, who spent the previous three years with the Los Angeles Sparks, finished the 2011 season with 6,751 points over 15 seasons. With her addition, the Storm boasts the top three active WNBA players in career scoring, as veteran Katie Smith stands at No. 2 with 6,015 points and Lauren Jackson is No. 3 with 5,915. Along with former L.A. center Lisa Leslie, the Storm’s trio makes up three of the four leading scorers in league history.
Thompson was selected by Houston with the No. 1 overall pick in the inaugural WNBA Draft in 1997. She played 12 years with the Comets, leading the team to an unprecedented four WNBA championships, before the team disbanded. Thompson was acquired by the Los Angeles Sparks when she became a free agent in 2009.
An eight-time All-Star and three-time All-WNBA First Team selection, Thompson was recognized as one of the WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All-Time in 2011. She teamed with Storm veteran Sue Bird to lead the USA National Team to Olympic gold medals in the 2004 and 2008 Games.
“I couldn’t be more excited at the opportunity to coach Tina,” Agler said. “I’ve been coaching against her for more than a decade and I sure prefer having her on my side.”
“Adding a player of Tina Thompson’s experience and championship caliber further complements our vision of building a championship team,” Storm CEO and President Karen Bryant added. “She knows what it takes to win a championship.”
Thompson joins newly acquired Ann Wauters (2000), Jackson (2001) and Bird (2002) as the fourth No. 1 pick to play for the Storm. Never before has a WNBA team had more than three No. 1 overall picks at the same time. Previously, Seimone Augustus (2006), Lindsey Harding (2007) and LaToya Thomas (2003) played together for the Minnesota Lynx in 2008.
Kobryn, a 6-4 forward/center from Poland, played in 18 games for the Storm last season after joining the team in late June.
Seattle previously re-signed veteran starters Bird and Tanisha Wright to multi-year contracts and added Wauters, a former All-Star center, as a free agent.
The Storm opens the 2012 season by hosting the Los Angeles Sparks on May 18 at KeyArena.
Check out this video of Tina Thompson reflecting on her stellar career: