Wow. To be quite honest, I haven’t watched an All-Star weekend in ages. It was exciting when I was younger. The lights, the crowds, the players. But as I got older, it also became clear that players were there to have a good time and not win. Put on a show, but having the defense let you put on a show. I tuned out. For some weekend, I decided to check it out. And I am happy that I did not miss it. One thing about All-Star games is that it should be all about the stars of the games. But as the stars get older and the stars decide they are not healthy enough to play or participate, the players that end up going are young and no one really knows who they are.
This was the case in the slam dunk contest. I only knew Derrick Williams because I saw him tear it up at Arizona during last year’s March Madness. I was concerned about his weight and how it would hinder him in the NBA, but it seems he has slimmed down from the fat and gained some muscle. And suffice to say, his dunks were pretty good. As for the other three contestants, I have not heard of their names until Saturday night. Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger, the only white guy participating in the contest, started the competition off with a bang. After coaxing P.Diddy, Diddy mentioned that his favorite movie was “White Guys Can’t Jump”, Chase effectively put that to bed. Forget about the perfect pass and perfect timing from Diddy, Chase jumped over the dude and slammed in a very nice dunk. He even did a blindfold dunk and that was pretty as well.
I especially liked, Indiana Pacers’ Paul George’s dunk. They turned off all the lights and he donned a Tron like theme jersey with the lane lit up to throw in a dunk.
But the night belonged to Utah’s Jeremy Evans. With a camera attached to his headband, he threw the first dunk down with ease. In another attempt, he donned a Karl Malone jersey and jumped over comedian, Kevin Hart, who was dressed as the mailman and threw down two points. And in his third attempt, he had a teammate throw up two balls for him to jam home two balls. It was very worthy trophy but I did like Chase’s attempts a bit better (especially after a very easy first dunk even if there is a camera attached to your headband) and maybe cause I really wanted the white guy “who can’t jump” win.
This year, in an effort to draw more fans and participation, the winner was chosen from fan’s texts. After the first round of dunks, fans were able to text in who they wanted to win.
In the three point contest, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Kevin Love beat out Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant to take home the title. After a grueling round, both Love and Durant were tied with 16 points. It only meant that the contest would go into overtime. Love went first and again matched his previous score of 17. Durant was unable to connect for three straight in the last rack to send the shooting contest into another overtime, ended the night with 14 points.
In the skills contest, San Antonio Spurs’ Tony Parker had the fastest time with 29.2 seconds in the first round. In the final round, his 32 seconds was fast enough to beat out the Boston Celtics’ Rajon Rondo and the New Jersey Net’s Deron Williams.
In the team shooting contest, it seems that “Linning” has carried over as Team New York, beat Team Orlando, Team Atlanta and Team Texas. Team New York included former Knick star, Allen Houston, current Knick player, Landry Fields and WNBA New York Liberty’s Cappie Pondextor. Team New York shot the course in 37.3 seconds while Team Texas shot in 41.7 seconds.
And in the Rising Star Challenge, Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq 146-133 and it seemed like Shaq held a grudge against Chuck when they both sat for the Dunk Contest. Cleveland Cavaliers Kyle Irving of Team Chuck got the MVP of the game with 34 points, 9 assists and two steals.
No Warriors participated in the festivities over the weekend (Stephen Curry was out nursing his leg) but it was a good weekend to rest and get healthy for the game packed second half. Warriors return to action on Tuesday against Indiana.