Heat's Bam Adebayo wins Skills Challenge
Miami Heat forward Bam Adebayo can already call himself a champion.
Making his first NBA All-Star Weekend appearance, Adebayo won the Skills Challenge Saturday at United Center in Chicago. He defeated Indiana Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis in the final. Afterward, Adebayo raised the trophy at midcourt in front of the crowd.
"I just want to say something," Adebayo said. "I read a tweet that I was last to win in Vegas. So whoever bet, I hope you got your money. I hope you go buy yourself a Ruth's Chris, Cheesecake Factory, something in that fashion."
Adebayo is the first Heat player to win the award since Dwyane Wade captured consecutive championships in 2006 and 2007. It was the perfect start for the Heat, one of the more well-represented franchises at All-Star Weekend. He was one of five players participating in events. Forward Duncan Robinson was chosen to compete in the 3-point contest and forward Derrick Jones Jr. was selected for the dunk contest. On Friday, rookie guard Kendrick Nunn scored 16 points in the Rising Stars Challenge. He was supposed to be joined by teammate Tyler Herro, who was a late scratch because of an ankle injury.
Adebayo and guard Jimmy Butler will also compete in Sunday's All-Star game. It is the first appearance for Adebayo while Butler is playing in his fifth.
"I know it's All-Star Weekend and we're all having fun, but it's competition at the end of the day," Adebayo said. "I came out and won this one, and it's just another accolade to me."
In just his third season, Adebayo is in the middle of a breakout year. He is averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebound and 4.9 assists. Butler called Adebayo the reason the Heat are No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference.
"I legit believe Bam is the reason that we're winning," Butler said Saturday morning. I legit believe that. He switches one through five. He passes the ball. He scores the ball. He blocks shots. He's what every team wants to have."