The Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade will defend his PlayStation Skills Challenge title against three of the league’s biggest stars on Feb. 16, as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night at New Orleans Arena in New Orleans. The competitors hoping to deny Wade’s quest for his third consecutive title are the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, the New Jersey Nets’ Jason Kidd and the Utah Jazz’s Deron Williams.

The Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and consists of four 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.

Wade, who defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James in the finals of the 2006 Skills Challenge in Houston, and bested the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant last year in Las Vegas, ranks fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 24.5 points. Paul, a competitor in the 2006 Skills Challenge in Houston, leads the league in steals (2.5) and is second in the league in assists (10.9). Kidd, champion of the inaugural Skills Challenge in 2003, ranks third in the NBA in assists with 10.4 per game. Williams, a first-time competitor in the Skills challenge, is fourth in the league in assists, averaging 9.6.

The Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which will also feature the Three-Point Shootout, Slam Dunk and Shooting Stars. TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from New Orleans Arena. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

YEAR-BY-YEAR WINNERS
2003 – Jason Kidd, New Jersey
2004 – Baron Davis, New Orleans
2005 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
2006 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
2007 – Dwyane Wade, Miami