Taking on Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic, Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic, Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, New York Knicks power forward Julius Randle and Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington in the tournament-style Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Indiana Pacers power forward Domantas Sabonis emerged as the victor of the annual event during Sunday’s All-Star Weekend festivities.
Sabonis would defeat Randle and Doncic head-to-head in the first round and semifinal round respectively, before knocking out Vucevic in the final round. Winning his first piece of hardware, Sabonis’ victory also raised an additional $75,000 for the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), which finished with $250,000 in fundraising.
A challenge that tests players’ agility, ball-handling ability, passing ability and shooting touch from both inside the restricted area and outside of the arc, the Skills Challenge has been a staple of All-Star Weekend since 2003. Sabonis is the sixth big man to win the event since 2015-16, a testament to the evolution of the league and the multi-dimensionality of frontcourt players.
A two-time All-Star, Sabonis has averaged 20.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.0 steal per game this season, while shooting .525 percent from the field and .333 percent from 3-point range.