Los Angeles Clippers forward and reigning Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin leads a list of 18 players selected for the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge to be held on Friday, Feb. 24 in Orlando during NBA All-Star 2012.
The Clippers current leading scorer, Griffin was named an All-Star starter last week along with teammate Chris Paul and will be making his second appearance in the Rising Stars Challenge after playing for the Rookie Team last season.
The participants in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge were selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches, with each team submitting one ballot.
This year, a new format is being implemented to a game that has historically featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will serve as the general managers of the two opposing teams – TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ – each with nine man rosters, drafted from the aforementioned pool. TNT’s Kenny Smith will serve as the honorary Commissioner and Ernie Johnson will host the live BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Draft on Thursday, Feb. 16, on NBA TV at 7 p.m. ET.
Joining Griffin from the Sophomore class are: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs), Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers), and John Wall (Washington Wizards).
Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio are joined by fellow first-year players MarShon Brooks (New Jersey Nets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), and Derrick Williams (Minnesota).
The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge will be televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and also will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio, while NBA.com will make live audio available to fans in multiple languages. NBA games are broadcast to 215 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.