The British Basketball League (BBL) has confirmed the return of its popular All-Star Game later this year and you can vote for who you want to take part in it, including our very own Manchester Giants.
Just like in the famous NBA format that inspired it, which is taking place for the 73rd time on 18 February, the UK’s equivalent is happening just a month later and will also see the first-ever All-Star Women’s Game in the exhibition’s 25-year on-and-off history.
The All-Star event as we know it today — which features a North vs South face-off between players from the male and female leagues, as well as a skills competition, three-point shootout and the famous Slam Dunk Contest — has been around for a decade now and is truly bigger than ever.
Scheduled for Sunday, 17 March 2024, voting for the British Basketball League All-Star Game is now open and fans can now vote for their favourite players and who they want to play each other this year. Naturally, we expect plenty of Manchester Giants to be on that list.
To vote, all you need to do is pick out five players from the North and five from the South on the combined rosters for both the men’s and women’s divisions. You can do so HERE.
When it comes to the Giants players up for selection this year, they include the likes of SF Evan Walshe, young Canadian point guard Mason Bourcier who is making his debut campaign; the club’s all-time leading scorer Callum Jones and forward Jamell Anderson, just to name a few.
While the men’s team might be currently second from bottom, they have still had some star players flying the flag for Greater Manchester this year and, better still, the women’s side sits in a very competitive mid-table position with plenty of the season left to play.
That being said, it’ll be nice to so how the top talents and firm fan favourites from our local side fair playing alongside the BBL’s very best players, and it goes without saying that the inaugural All-Star Women’s Game will be a historic occasion not only for British basketball but women’s sport in general.
Voting is now open and you must make all of your selections (a centre, two forwards and two guards for each dream team) before the deadline at 7pm on 15 February.
You’ll also be pleased to know that there is no limit on picking players from the same time, so you could theoretically stack your two northern squads with nothing but Giants colours if you like. We often fall foul to that local bias in Fantasy Premier League but it’s all part of the fun at the end of the day.
The British Basketball League’s 2023/24 All-Star Game takes place at the Copper Box Arena at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London from 12:30. You can grab your tickets HERE if you fancy travelling down but you best believe All Stars North are going home with the trophy.
And speaking of FPL, did you know we also brought back our own league this year? There’s still plenty of the season left to get involved and potentially win some prizes.
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.