Team World blew out Team USA 155-124 on NBA All-Star Weekend in an Olympic-spirited contest that showcased NBA global diversity. The Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Game featured the young emerging NBA talent as in years past. But this year, with the NBA shaking up the way it does All-Star Weekend, the young players were divided into Team World (players from non-US countries) and Team USA. (It used to be Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference.) Wasn’t too long ago this kind of split along global lines wouldn’t have been possible, but there is precedent. During the Spurs great runs over the last two decades, their big 3 — Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, and Manu Ginobili — were all born outside the States.
Team USA proved that at least one All-Star weekend tradition remains — and that’s scarce defense. Australian-born 76ers star Ben Simmons took advantage, starting for Team World with two of his 76ers teammates, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. Simmons played a nearly perfect game, scoring 11 points on 5-of-5 shooting, dishing 13 assists, grabbing six boards and four steals. (His four turnovers being just part of the story when a team rolls to 155 points.) Sacramento’s Buddy Hield scored 29 points to lead Team World scorers. His NBA teammate Bogdan Bogdonavic was named MVP. OKC’s Domantas Sabonis, whose father was one of the first foreign NBA superstars, scored 13 without missing a shot.