For the first time, Clippers fans will have the opportunity to vote for point guard Baron Davis to take part in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as part of the “Choose Your Squad” program. In addition to adding a fan vote, the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from four to five participants.
Voting runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on Feb. 14, and fans can log on to NBA.com/chooseyoursquad to choose from among eight players to determine four of the five participants in the 2011 event in Los Angeles. The players taking part in the “Choose Your Squad” vote include: Davis, Stephon Curry, Tyreke Evans, Derek Fisher, Tony Parker, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook.
The four finalists will compete against “Choose Your Squad” spokesman Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets. A three-time NBA All-Star and Taco Bell Skills Challenge (2006 to 2008) participant, Paul will chronicle his preparations on the program microsite NBA.com/chooseyoursquad. The site will also feature highlights of each of the eight players eligible in the fan vote.
This year’s event will include a new charitable element from NBA Cares and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens’ “Graduate to Go” program, a national initiative to help teens graduate from high school through real-world experiences. Each of the five participants will be matched with a teen member of a local Boys & Girls Club. The teen paired with the event winner will receive a four-year college scholarship, while the other scholarship winners will each receive an educational scholarship, all courtesy of the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens.
Introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta – the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge will feature five players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing, and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first-round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.
Last year in Dallas, Steve Nash finished with a winning time of 29.9 seconds, joining the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (2006 and 2007) as the only other two-time winner in Taco Bell Skills Challenge history.