The B. League All-Star Game will be held across two days for the first time in league history, the pro basketball circuit announced Monday.
The league had already revealed Ibaraki Prefecture capital Mito would host the event, which will take place Jan. 15 and 16. On Monday, officials provided more details about the annual showcase of the B. League’s top players.
Adasutria Mito Arena, home of the Irabaki Robots, who play in the league’s second division, will be the venue for the festivities. This will be the second time the event is held in a city that’s home to a B2 franchise, following the 2017-18 edition that was hosted in Kumamto, nearly two years after the city was struck by a catastrophic earthquake in April 2016.
The first night of the All-Star event will feature a skills challenge, dunk contest and three-point contest. The All-Star Game will be played on Jan 16 and is scheduled to tip-off at 7:10 p.m.
The two All-Star squads, B. Black and B. White, will consist of 13 players each.
Fan voting will decide the starting five for each squad. The next seven slots will be determined by the league and will include at least one player signed through the new Asian player rule, one import player and one player who is eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award. The final roster spot for each team will be decided through voting on social media. A player from the Robots will be included on one of the rosters.
Fan voting began Monday and will continue until Dec. 7.
“It gives our league opportunities to promote and communicate with the host city,” B. League Chairman Shinji Shimada said during a news conference on Monday as he addressed the reason the event is being split into two days. “Although it might be difficult this year (because of the COVID-19 pandemic), we should take more time to connect with the local community by spreading the event over two days going forward.”
The All-Stars will visit a junior high school in Mito on the morning of Jan. 16 as part of B. Hope, a philanthropy project run by the league.
Sapporo hosted last year’s game, where legendary shooter and local star Takehiko Orimo of Levanga Hokkaido, who had announced he would retire at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, was named MVP.
The 2020-21 All-Star Game was originally supposed to be held at a new arena for the Ryukyu Golden Kings in Okinawa, but was moved to Mito after damage from typhoons delayed construction on that venue. Okinawa has been awarded the 2021-22 game.