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New format replaces rookie-sophomore game

FILE - in this Aug. 13, 2010 file

FILE - in this Aug. 13, 2010 file photo, Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Charles Barkley, representing the 1992 USA Olympic "Dream" Team, pats his heart as he speaks during the enshrinement news conference at the Hall of Fame Museum in Springfield, Mass. One result of the NCAA's new deal with CBS and Turner Sports to televise the men's basketball tournament is that TNT NBA announcers such as Charles Barkley will be now analyzing college games. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File) Credit: AP

Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal will be squaring off on All-Star weekend.

The NBA announced Tuesday that the league will be ditching the old rookie-sophomore game format in favor of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Barkley and O'Neal will select teams from a pool of players announced on Feb. 8.

The draft will take place at 7 p.m. on Feb. 16 on NBA TV.

In the past, rookies and sophomores played against each other on separate teams. This year, the draft format allows for each team to feature a mix of first-year and second-year players.

TNT's presence in the game won't stop at Chuck and Shaq; according to the NBA release, Kenny Smith will be the "honorary commisioner," Ernie Johnson will host the draft, and both Mike Fratello and Steve Kerr will serve as assistant coaches. The head coaches will be "the lead assistant coaches from the 2012 NBNA All-Star Game coaching staffs," according to the release.

The game is on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. during All-Star weekend. Fans can visit to purchase tickets, which range from $35 to $50.

New York Sports