The Latest: Chilly Toronto rolls out red carpet for NBA all star game

TORONTO _ The latest from NBA all-star weekend:

1 a.m.

Sunday night’s halftime performer Sting can count Snoop Dogg among his fans.

The West Coast rapper snuck the Police lead singer’s hit song “Roxanne” into an hour-long DJ session early Saturday morning at a bash hosted by Maxim magazine.

He dedicated the track to anyone in the crowd named Roxanne because, he said, there had to be one.

“Where you at Roxanne?” he called out into the crowd.

Nobody claimed the name.

Snoop spun a mix of hip-hop classics from Ginuwine and the Notorious B.I.G. along with some modern hits. Afterwards, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal took the stage for his own set, performing under the name DJ Diesel.

Among the other celebrities spotted at the event were O’Neal’s cousin and former Def Comedy Jam star Bill Bellamy, Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall and retired Los Angeles Lakers player Rick Fox.

11 p.m.

Zach LaVine had 30 points and seven rebounds and the United States team beat the World team 157-154 in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night to kick off the NBA’s All-Star weekend.

In the game featuring some of the best rookies and sophomores in the league, LaVine geared up to defend his slam dunk title on Saturday night by making 13 of 20 shots to beat Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Andrew Wiggins of Vaughan, Ont. LaVine was selected the game MVP.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points and Emmanuel Mudiay had 30 points and 10 assists for the World team. Wiggins scored 29 points while playing in front of his hometown fans.

Los Angeles Lakers sophomore Jordan Clarkson added 25 for the Americans.

9:25 p.m.

Arcade Fire singer Win Butler was named the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game’s most valuable player after leading Canada past the United States 74-64 at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Butler finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

The game featured a little bit of everything including air balls, comedic bits and the odd quality play.

Former Raptors star Tracy McGrady received one of the biggest ovations in the pre-game introductions. He got the crowd into it again early in the first quarter by passing the ball to himself off the backboard before laying in a finger-roll.

7:25 p.m.

Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic was moving well on court at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game despite suffering a right hip injury last month.

Raonic was hampered by a slightly torn adductor muscle in his semifinal loss to Andy Murray at the Australian Open a couple weeks ago.

He has yet to resume on-court training but is working out regularly and hopes to return to action later this month in Acapulco.

Sporting bright pink basketball shoes, the 25-year-old from Thornhill, Ont., didn’t overdo it at the Ricoh Coliseum.

On the Canadian team’s first possession, Raonic fed former Raptors star Tracy McGrady with an open look from three-court range, but the shot clanked off the rim.

Raonic scored Canada’s first field goal a few minutes later on a layup.

4:15 p.m.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said more than once that advertisements on jerseys is an inevitable development. Reigning MVP Steph Curry said on Friday at his all-star press conference that “nothing is going to stop that train from coming.”

“I don’t want it to be too gimmicky where we’re walking ads for just everything,” Curry said. “I’m trying to keep the classic look of a basketball uniform that we all know and love.

“I’ve seen soccer uniforms where they marks all over the jerseys. Whether you like it or not, that’s kind of been that way for a while. The transition will be a little weird for sure.”

3:55 p.m.

LeBron James is amused over all the fuss that accompanied Tyronn Lue getting the chance to coach the Eastern Conference in Sunday’s all-star Game.

The honour typically goes to the coaching staff of the team leading their respective conference at the break, provided that staff didn’t also coach in the game the year before. So when the Cleveland Cavaliers fired David Blatt and promoted Lue from his assistant spot to being the coach in charge, that meant Lue also got the All-Star duty.

And while it might seem strange to some, James was quick to point out Friday at the all-star media day that Lue “would have been here anyways, even if coach Blatt was still our coach.”

James has been criticized for what many presume to be his role in Blatt’s dismissal, and the four-time MVP says he isn’t letting that perception bother him. He also didn’t take the bait when asked to describe differences between Blatt and Lue.

James’ answer: “Their height.”

For the record, Blatt (6-foot-3) is listed to be about three inches taller than Lue.

Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson are finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

College coaches Tom Izzo, Eddie Sutton, Lefty Driesell, Bo Ryan and Muffet McGraw, and women’s star Sheryl Swoopes were also among the finalists announced Friday.

They could be voted as Hall of Famers when the full class is announced in April.

So could Yao Ming, who is already a finalist and could be directly elected from the International Committee.

New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony says he hopes the owners and the players union can come to a new labour agreement without a work stoppage.

Anthony was speaking on Friday as part of the kickoff to All-Star weekend festivities. Either side can choose to opt out of the current collective bargaining agreement until Dec. 15.

Last time the two sides could not come to an agreement, the owners locked out the players that shortened the 2011-12 season by 16 games.

“I hope we can come to an agreement sooner rather than later,” said Anthony, who fully endorse NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. “We don’t want another lockout. We just have to sit down at the table. Now, it’s talking about more important issues than we talked about in the past and being transparent with each other.”

1:15 p.m.

Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan was asked to name three famous Canadians at Friday morning’s NBA all-star media availability.

He cited hockey star Wayne Gretzky, boxer Lennox Lewis _ who fought for Canada before switching his allegiance to Britain _ and Tim Horton.

“A lot of people don’t know who Tim Horton is,” he said. “Some people think it’s just a store … they didn’t know (Tim Horton) was a hockey player.”

11:20 a.m.

Some of the participants in the Rising Stars all-star game were sporting brand new, bright green Nike shoes at practice. Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell and Trey Lyles of the Utah Jazz, both Canadians, had them on.

They were hard to miss, especially on Powell’s size 16 feet.

Both players liked them, with Lyles admitting he’s into bright colours.

9:20 a.m.

There was an impressive array of accents on the media bus as journalists headed to the Ricoh Coliseum to see the Rising Stars (both the World and U.S. teams) morning practice.

The home of the Toronto Marlies AHL team will also serve as the venue for the all-star celebrity game Friday night and the all-star practices Saturday.

Built for the Canadian National Exhibition and the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in 1921, the arena has been dolled up for the all-star game.

Gas heaters have been installed at the entrances to help warm the patrons as they wait to get through security at the gates.

9:15 a.m.

Visitors arriving in Toronto are being met with some cryptic messages from Drake.

The Toronto-born performer bought advertising space over the luggage carousels at Billy Bishop Airport which read “Four plus two equals 6.”

Some users on social media have interpreted the numbers as a clue to the release date of his upcoming album which is slated for sometime in April. The decoded date, if true, would be April 2, 2016.

Another set of airport ads show a black and white photo of the CN Tower when it was partially constructed in the early 1970s. Below the image was same stylized number six he used on the cover of his new single “Summer Sixteen.”

The rapper will be playing a prominent role in the all-star festivities in Toronto this weekend. On Friday, he’s slated to receive the key to the city before coaching the Canadian all-star celebrity team.

And earlier…

Freezing temperatures left some NBA stars giving Toronto a chilly reception on social media.

Players took to Twitter and Snapchat to express their dismay with the city’s frigid weather, which has plunged into the negative double digits.

“It. Is. COLD #thatisall” tweeted Miami Heat forward and former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh.

He was quickly reminded by some of his Twitter followers that he spent seven seasons with the Raptors and shouldn’t be surprised by the weather.

Others, like his teammate, Dwyane Wade are less accustomed to the Canadian climate.

“When you leave Miami and go to Toronto this is how you dress,” Wade said, wearing a tuque and hoodie on Snapchat. “Yo, it’s for year cold out here too. Ain’t no games, ain’t no games.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had this to say:

“I keep reminding everyone: the game is indoors. I understand they’re a little bit cold … but I live in New York and it’s not so warm there,” he said at an event Thursday night. “I actually think it’s very refreshing and it’s great to be here.”

A sneak preview of Toronto Raptors president and GM Masai Ujiri’s upcoming documentary, “Giants of Africa,” helped kick festivities on Thursday night.

Ujiri was joined on the red carpet by NBA luminaries including commissioner Adam Silver, retired player Dikembe Mutombo and hometown favourites Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors.

“I’m like a proud father, to see our two players DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry play and to show off our great city,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey.

Former NFL player Terrell Owens is looking forward to seeing 18-time all-star Kobe Bryant take his final bow in Sunday’s game before retiring at the end of the season.

“He’s had a tremendous career and I think it’s fitting for him to go out on a high note with all-star weekend,” he said.

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