SALT LAKE CITY — Charlotte, North Carolina, will be the site of this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend in February, but Utah Jazz forward Joe Ingles doesn’t plan on being anywhere near the area.
Despite a Yahoo Sports petition being started last week to get him in the Skills Challenge, Ingles would rather spend the time with his wife, Renae, and twin children far, far away from the festivities.
“You know exactly what my thoughts are on that. You know what my answer’s going to be. I’m going on vacation,” Ingles said. “I’m going to spend time with my kids and my wife. That’s it.”
As of Wednesday morning, ahead of Utah’s game versus Denver, more than 2,400 people had signed the petition with a 2,500 goal in mind. Ingles’ teammate Donovan Mitchell even shared it via social media with the Twitter hashtag #Joe2Skills, while the Yahoo Sports staff has continued to promote it across the web. An official Joe Ingles hotline is also running at 830-476-5664, which plays Smash Mouth’s “All Star” song.
While most would be flattered, Ingles is different.
“I don’t know who started it,” Ingles said. “I don’t know why they started it, they should’ve known the answer. I’m having some time off.”
The 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge is set for Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Spectrum Center as part of the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. Mitchell has also passed on this year’s dunk contest to prepare for the second half of the season.
“I’ve been there five times in my life and I’ll go a sixth time next year,” Ingles said of Charlotte. “I’m going on vacation.”
Ingles is averaging 11.5 points, 4.9 assists and 3.9 rebounds on 43.2 percent shooting, but has experienced a change in how teams are preparing for him with enhanced scouting. The left-handed shooter caught many by surprise with his stellar play last season, but has had to adjust to being played differently where he admits sometimes has been “probably good and bad.”
“I think I’ve played well at times, I’ve played horrible at times,” Ingles said. “Just trying to adjust to some games they haven’t left me, some games they’ve kind of played the same way in past seasons.1 comment on this story
“So, I guess for me it’s just trying to figure out as early as possible how they’re playing me and how I can still be effective,” he added.
Jazz forward Derrick Favors feels Ingles has handled it well, while improving from year to year. Even if he doesn’t want to display his skills on a national platform, his teammates have witnessed his development firsthand.
“He’s coming out and proven he’s one of the top 3-point shooters in the league,” Favors said. “Obviously, one of the best playmakers as far as finding guys for passes. Defensively, he’s good and he’s just gotten better every year.”