HOUSTON -- Depending upon what unfolds on Sunday night, All-Star Weekend might be remembered as the coronation for Cavaliers second-year guard Kyrie Irving as the NBA superstar for the next generation.
Irving shone brightly during All-Star Weekend as a rookie, claiming MVP honors of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. On Friday night, the reigning Rookie of the Year put his personalized stamp on his second Rising Stars Challenge with a scintillating second-half dribbling and scoring display.
With his first All-Star Game appearance on tap, Irving served notice of his arrival by winning the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest Saturday night, accumulating 23 points and defeating Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the final by sinking a remarkable 17 of his first 18 3-point attempts.
"Add it to the resume," Irving, 20, said. "MVP for Rising Stars, and now Three-Point shootout champion.
"Yeah, this weekend was just basically about earning everybody's respect and getting a chance for people to see me that don't usually see me. We're not nationally televised. This weekend is show my face to the fans and get everybody acclimated to my face in the league."
Irving pulled a mild upset of Knicks forward Steve Novak in the opening round. Novak, third in 3-point shooting (.447), could not surpass Irving after Irving posted an 18 as the first contestant representing the East.
Novak posted a 17. Pacers forward Paul George brought up the rear for the East with a 10. Bonner edged Hornets forward Ryan Anderson (18) and Warriors guard Stephan Curry (17) to advance from the West.
Irving ended all suspense with his torrid shooting in the final, making his first seven shots before missing the third ball on the second rack. He followed with 10 consecutive 3-pointers to set the stage for Sunday.
"I'm sleeping," Irving said of his plans entering the weekend finale. "I've got a ton of appearances and events. I honestly need rest right now."