By Norm Elrod

(CBS LA/CBS Local) — The NBA All-Star Weekend lands on the calendar in mid-February every year, about two-thirds of the way through the regular season. It brings together the League’s biggest stars for a weekend of events to celebrate the game of basketball. And much of the festivities, from the Slam Dunk Contest to the Three-Point Contest, is actually worth following.

Its conclusion marks the moment when the season’s playoff race — and draft race — shift into high gear.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Here are the important events for NBA All-Star Weekend.

Canadian singer and songwriter Justin Bieber plays during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game Celebrity Game at Los Angeles Convention Center on February 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Justin Bieber (Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

Friday, February 15, 2019, 7:00 pm ET

Let’s watch celebrities, who aren’t famous for playing basketball, play basketball. A few ringers round out the roster, to keep the game moving and looking like the sport it’s supposed to be. That’s essentially what the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game amounts to. It’s an entertaining romp, if not the best version of the game you’ll see.

This year’s lineups include recording artists Chris Daughtry, Rapsody and Bad Bunny; actors Mike Colter (Luke Cage), AJ Buckley (Seal Team) and Hasan Minhaj (Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj) and athletes A’ja Wilson (2018 WNBA Rookie of the Year), Ray Allen (Basketball Hall of Famer) and Stefanie Dolson (WNBA’s Chicago Sky center).

It’s a good reminder of just how much better the pros — even the bench-warmers– are than the rest of us.

>>MORE: NBA Trade Deadline: Eastern Conference Contenders Reload

Luka Doncic #77 of the Dallas Mavericks shoots the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 19, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Luka Doncic (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Rising Stars

Friday, February 15, 2019, 9:00 pm ET

The 25th edition of Rising Stars pits U.S. and World teams of 10 first and second-year players against each other. The talent on display certainly highlights the bright future of the NBA and the global success of basketball in general.

The lineups include last year’s rookie of the year and runner-up, along with this year’s leading candidate.

Here is the full list of participants:

Team U.S.:

  • Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets
  • Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings
  • Lonzo Ball (injured), Los Angeles Lakers
  • John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
  • De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
  • Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies
  • Kevin Knox, New York Knicks
  • Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

Team World:

  • OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
  • Deandre Ayton, Phoenix Suns
  • Bogdan Bogdanović, Sacramento Kings
  • Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Los Angeles Clippers
  • Rodions Kurucs, Brooklyn Nets
  • Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls
  • Josh Okogie, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after scoring against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half at TD Garden on January 30, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Jason Tatum (Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

All-Star Saturday Night

Saturday, February 16, 2019, 8:00 pm ET

Skills Challenge

The eight-player field pairs off against each other in three rounds on an obstacle course that includes dribbling, passing, agility and shooting. It doesn’t always include hustling, however, even if they players seem to enjoy themselves.

This year’s Challenge includes a nice mix of veterans and rookies, of All-Stars and potential future All-Stars. And maybe we’ll finally see the Nikola Jokić-Trae Young tortoise-hare matchup the NBA world has been pining for.

Participants in the Skills Challenge include:

  • Mike Conley, Memphis Grizzlies
  • Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks
  • De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
  • Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets
  • Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
  • Nikola Vučević, Orlando Magic
  • Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after making a basket to end the first half against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 28, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Steph Curry (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Three-Point Contest

In the 33rd edition of the Three-Point Contest, the field has been expanded to 10. Each participant looks to drain as many three-pointers as possible in one minute, moving from station to station around the three-point line. The top three finishers advance to the final round.

Devin Booker returns to defend his title in the contest’s 2019 edition. Also appearing will be multiple Trail Blazers and multiple Currys, the older of whom will take all his shots from half-court, just to keep things fair. (Not really, but that would be fun wouldn’t it?)

Participants in the Three-Point Contest include:

  • Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
  • Seth Curry, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • Danny Green, Toronto Raptors
  • Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
  • Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
  • Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets
Dennis Smith Jr. #1 of the Dallas Mavericks competes in the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

Dennis Smith Jr. (Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Slam Dunk Contest

Revisiting the historic Dominique Wilkins-Michael Jordan 1988 battle, it’s easy to see why the Slam Dunk Contest has long been a highlight of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. Each of the four participants gets two dunks in the first round, scored from six to 10. The top two scorers advance to the final round.

Donovan Mitchell is the defending champion, though he will be skipping this year’s contest to focus on his Jazz’s playoff run. However, Dennis Smith Jr., now a New York Knick and, therefore, unconcerned with playoff runs, will return for his second straight contest.

Here are this year’s Slam Dunk Contest participants:

  • Dennis Smith Jr., New York Knicks
  • Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets
  • Hamidou Diallo, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles against the Boston Celtics during the second half at TD Garden on February 07, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts.

LeBron James (Photo Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

68th NBA All-Star Game

Sunday, February 17, 2019, 8:00 pm ET

Last year, the NBA switched up the All-Star Game. Discarding the stale Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format, the League took the game back to the playground. Team captains — the most voted-for player in each conference — pick their players.

This year, the NBA aimed a camera at the proceedings, rather than do it behind closed doors. Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo drafted their rosters, and even implemented the first trade in All-Star Game history. Given their personalities, it’s no surprise that the proceedings were fun to watch.

Here are the rosters:

Team LeBron:

Starters:

  • LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers
  • Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
  • Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
  • Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors
  • James Harden, Houston Rockets

Reserves:

  • Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
  • Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
  • Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
  • Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers
  • LeMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
  • Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
  • Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

Team Giannis:

Starters:

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
  • Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

Reserves:

  • Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
  • Nikola Jokić, Denver Nuggets
  • Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Blake Griffin, Detroit Pistons
  • D’Angelo Russell, Brooklyn Nets
  • Nikola Vucevic, Orlando Magic
  • Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks