Raptors’ Fred VanVleet soaks in spectacle of first All-Star Game

CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 19: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors and Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OHIO - FEBRUARY 19: Fred VanVleet #23 of the Toronto Raptors and Trae Young #11 of the Atlanta Hawks (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet became the first undrafted player in 15 years to make it to the All-Star game and he made the most of his first-ever appearance during this special weekend. Steph Curry was clearly the highlight of the evening, but VanVleet was able to do his thing.

VanVleet only saw the court for nine minutes in this game, but he was still able to knock down a couple of three-pointers. Drafted to LeBron James’ team, VanVleet was part of a squad that rode Curry’s hot shooting to a 163-160 victory that was close until the very final buzzer.

After not sending anyone last year and watching perennial All-Stars like Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard leave town, it had to be nice for the Raptors and their fanbase to watch VanVleet make it to one of the biggest stages this game has to offer.

In a postgame interview, VanVleet was clearly extremely appreciative to have the opportunity to be on the same floor as the best in the game. Playing on the same elite team as players like James and Giannis Antetokounmpo proved to the whole league that VanVleet has arrived as an elite player.

Toronto Raptors PG Fred VanVleet loved All-Star Weekend.

“[The best part] was probably being in the locker room and just being around the guys and hearing some of the stories,” VanVleet said. “I think that’s probably the best part, just to be a part of the brotherhood of [what this] elite level is.”

VanVleet also said that he was pleased with his performance, citing the fact that he was more than fine with watching Curry do his thing.

“I had pretty good seats to watch the show,” said VanVleet after watching Curry set a new record for 3-pointers in an All-Star Game and coming just short of setting a new record for points in a single ASG. “He was locked in and it was fun.”

Raptors players were all over this All-Star weekend. Both Scottie Barnes and Precious Achiuwa participated in the Rising Stars Game, while Barnes also made an appearance in the Skills Challenge. VanVleet gave the Three-Point Contest a go as well before making his ASG cameo.

VanVleet’s time on the floor in Cleveland was a culmination of years of hard work that helped him go from an undrafted free agent to a pillar of success for a potential playoff team and a clear All-Star. Raptors fans shouldn’t be surprised at all if he starts piling up the All-Star nominations.

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