The best part of the NBA's All-Star Weekend for Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried wasn't so much the chance to put himself in the spotlight, but, for a few days, to feel a bit like a kid again.

The players he idolized growing up were everywhere.

"Meeting Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) for once in my life, meeting Charles Barkley, meeting Karl Malone, those types of guys that I model my game after," Faried said. "Dominique Wilkins gave me a pep talk before the dunk contest. That was an honor."

Wilkins' advice?

"First he told me to pull out my best stuff early," Faried said. "I kind of didn't do one of my best dunks, the first one. But the second one, I said, 'If I'm going to be out, let me get out with a bang.' "