#RipCity: Covington and Simons Competing in NBA All-Star Events

PORTLAND – Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington will compete in the NBA All-Star 2021 Skills Challenge on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, the NBA announced today.

In his first season with the Trail Blazers, Covington is averaging 7.7 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.55 steals and 1.06 blocks in 31.6 minutes per game. He ranks ninth in the NBA in steals and 30th in blocks and is one of just six players in the NBA who is averaging at least 5.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 1.00 steal and 1.00 block per game.

In addition, Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons will compete in the NBA All-Star 2021 Slam Dunk Contest on Sunday.

Simons, 21, is averaging 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 17.4 minutes while shooting 40.7% from the three-point line in 30 games this season. The third-year pro will compete against Indiana guard Cassius Stanley and New York forward Obi Toppin.

Simons is the sixth Slam Dunk participant in Trail Blazers history, joining Damian Lillard (2014), Rudy Fernandez (2009), James Robinson (1994), Jerome Kersey (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989) and Clyde Drexler (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989). Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr. won the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest while playing for Miami.

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A 2013 graduate of Tennessee State University, Covington is the NBA’s lone active player from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). As part of this year’s All-Star Weekend, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced that they will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs. In addition, the NBA will highlight the importance of HBCUs and raise awareness around the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The weekend will feature special performances by HBCU musical groups and unique storytelling and content by students and distinguished alumni, including Covington.

Covington will be the third player in Trail Blazers history to compete in the Skills Challenge, joining CJ McCollum, who competed in 2016, and Damian Lillard, who won the event as a rookie in 2013 and again in 2014 while competing as a team with Trey Burke.

Joining Covington in the Skills Challenge will be Dallas guard Luka Dončić, Phoenix guard Chris Paul, New York forward Julius Randle, Indiana forward Damantas Sabonis and Orlando center Nikola Vučević.

NBA All-Star 2021 will be held on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. Coverage of the Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest will start at 3:30 p.m. PT on TNT followed by the 70th NBA All-Star Game at 5 p.m. PT, with the Slam Dunk contest taking place at halftime.