Looking to provide fans with as much access to the players and action as possible, TNT will add a number of new features to its live coverage from NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
Tipping off on Feb.13 and extending through the 63rd annual All-Star game on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. (ET), TNT will provide 24 hours of live coverage that will include more mic’d players, a new technology applied to a live basketball telecast for the first time and a special court-side appearance by one of the pro hoops circuit’s all-time greats.
The festivities actually begin tonight at 7 p.m. during the one-hour pregame show leading into the doubleheader, featuring San Antonio-Brooklyn and Chicago-Golden State, as Grant Hill and Chris Webber will serve as general manager and draft their respective squads for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge that will air on Friday, Feb. 14, at 9 p.m. and showcase Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams, New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and Portland’s Damian Lillard, among others. Matt Winer will provide play-by-play for the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge with Hill and Webber offering analysis and competitive banter --aka as trash talk -- during the game, along with reports by Craig Sager.
Hill and Webber will also be working during the All-Star Game, embedded on the East and West benches throughout the contest to provide reports and interviews. Their efforts will be supported by the initial use of a “steady cam” operator on the court, who will capture bench conversations, along with player exchanges during game moments such as free throw attempts.
TNT’s Emmy-winning Inside The NBA studio team of Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith will be integrated into TNT’s State Farm All-Star Saturday Night coverage on Feb. 15, with the quartet serving as the in-arena and on-air broadcast hosts for fans in New Orleans Arena and at home.
TNT will enhance its presentation of the Sprite Slam Dunk that night with the use of free dimensional video technology from Replay Technologies that employs 22, 5K ultra-high definition cameras placed around the court to deliver unique, 360-degrees of the jams. Replay’s technology has been used by the YES Network for New York Yankees home baseball games and for Dallas Cowboys' football contests, but this will mark the first time it’s put in play for live basketball action, which will extend to key replays during the All-Star Game itself.
The drama network’s All-Star Game telecast will receive an assist in the form of a broadcast appearance by injured Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who joins play-by-play announcer Marv Albert – calling his 18th NBA All-Star Game – analysts Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller and reporters Sager and David Aldridge, as a guest analyst.
Extending its regular-season experience into All-Star weekend, TNT OT will enable fans to vote for the players they would like to follow from each team, and engage in the social conversation around All-Star weekend
“We’re thrilled to be working with our league partners to deliver unprecedented levels of access for our fans during this year’s NBA All-Star events in New Orleans,” said Craig Barry, senior vice president of production and executive creative director, Turner Sports. “Our all-access approach and the use of new cutting-edge technology will bring our fans closer to the game and provide a special showcase for these marquee events.”
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