Diggins and Hart Shine in Celebrity All-Star Game

NEW YORK — The boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn played host to basketball stars, comedians, actors and more who gathered in the Big Apple for this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend. The events tipped off on Friday in Madison Square Garden for the Celebrity All-Star game.

Always entertaining, the contest featured Anthony Anderson (actor, “Black-ish”), Ansel Elgort (actor, “The Fault in Our Stars”), Common (rapper/actor, “Selma”), Nick Cannon (host of “America’s Got Talent”), Tina Charles (WNBA’s New York Liberty), Allan Houston (former NBA All-Star) and more. But the game was headlined by comedian and actor, Kevin Hart.

The three-time MVP kept the fans and players laughing as he walked into opponents during free throws and playfully yelled at referees. He battled all game against Little League star Mo’Ne Davis and attempted to use his prior achievements to his advantage. Hart wanted more respect since he is “a three-time MVP.” He told refs, “She asked for this” as he defended and taunted the 13 year old.

Little League phenom Mo’Ne Davis guarding comedian/actor Kevin Hart

Comedian Kevin Hart defended by Little League star Mo’Ne Davis in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

But Davis got the last laugh as she put him on the wrong side of her highlight. She drove to the basket and made a quick move, putting Hart in the spin-cycle and finishing with a layup, receiving cheers from the benches and crowd. Smiling, he admitted she made a good play when he returned to the East sideline.

The West received great contributions from its players, with Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins and Memphis Grizzlies owner Robert Pera leading the way. They both scored 13 points and spread the ball around to their teammates. Three other players on the team, Chris Mullen (NBA Hall of Famer), Jesse Williams (actor, “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Win Butler (Arcade Fire lead singer), had eight points.

On the other side, the East was led by Atlanta Dream guard and WNBA All-Star MVP Shoni Schimmel. Coming off the bench, she scored quickly and frequently. The high-volume shooter led all scorers with 17 points and was the East’s clear offensive threat. As she hit big 3-pointers, both Spike Lee and Carmelo Anthony named her their MVP. East coach Mike Greenberg commented, “She’s my secret weapon.”

Unfortunately for the East, she was not enough. Needing to win the game, the West turned to Diggins. Assisting on late baskets and hitting clutch free throws, she put the game on ice. The West came away with the 57-51 victory.

“Skylar played really well for us,” Elgort said. “You know, give the ball to the professional athlete and get out the way.”

After the game, the MVP trophy was presented. Though he was on the losing team, fans voted for Hart to win his fourth MVP. He finished the game with 15 points. West coach Mike Golic gave the crowd a Kanye moment as he jokingly grabbed the trophy and said it should go to Diggins.

With his fourth MVP, Hart announced his retirement from the game, as there was nothing more he could do. If serious, the MVP title will be up for grabs, and might actually go to someone on the winning team. However, his in-game antics and sideline humor will certainly be missed.

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