The Indiana Pacers will be well represented in the NBA All-Star weekend events this year as Victor Oladipo was selected as an Eastern Conference representative and Domantas Sabonis was chosen to play in the Rising Stars Challenge as a member of Team World.
“It’s just like when your brother is going with you on a school field trip or something,” Oladipo said of having his teammate with him. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it.”
Oladipo, with his first All-Star selection, became the first player in the Pacers NBA history to make the All-Star team in his first season with the team. Previously, it had only been done by ABA legends, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Freddie Lewis and Bob Netolicky, per Fox Sports Indiana.
Sabonis will play in the Rising Stars game for first and second-year players for the second consecutive season.
“It’s great to be going back to be a part of All-Star Weekend,” said Sabonis. “I’m happy to represent the Pacers and the state of Indiana. To be able to join Vic makes it even more special.”
“It’s definitely something I’ll always remember, something that he’ll always remember,” Oladipo said of him and Sabonis going to All-Star weekend together. “Hopefully we just keep working so a lot of us are playing on Sundays. It’ll be awesome.”
Both players are excited to represent their organization.
“It’s been a homecoming experience playing for the Pacers,” said Oladipo, the former Indiana University star. “… I’m just happy for the state of Indiana. I feel like I get to represent them, even though there’s some Boilermakers and Bulldogs who are forced to like me now … I’m just honored I can represent them.”
Oladipo was drafted by LeBron James in the first All-Star draft in this year’s revamped format and will play with former teammate Russell Westbrook as well as James, Boogie Cousins, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and others.
Oladipo has been reported as accepting an invite to the dunk contest but nothing is official yet. He says, “I don’t know where those rumors came from.”
“I’ll be there, so,” Oladipo said with a grin according to Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. “I guess if I feel good and it feels right I might.”
Oladipo competed in the contest once before in his career and did a 540 dunk. He finished in second to Zach LaVine.
Last year, Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III took home the dunk title, but will not be participating this year as he continues to work his way back from ankle surgery.