All-Stars, L.A. Style
After a weekend filled with NBA stars and celebrities, it’s time to take a look back and see what really went down.
Skills Got to Go
Let’s get the least cared about event out of the way, the Skills challenge. Baron Davis won the event; Jason Kidd the defending champ did not participate this year. This event is honestly boring I don’t know to many people who spent a whole lot of time looking forward to this event, you may be asking “Ok fine but what would be a better idea?” I’m glad you asked. How about a NBA one -on-one tournament, I mean all these players already think there the greatest thing ever, how about let them go out play each other and prove it. Plus who wouldn’t be talking about a T-Mac vs. Kobe, or Lebron vs. Carmelo, Iverson vs. Francis, Jermaine O’Neal vs. Duncan, people talk about these match-ups all season long, think about the hype and excitement generated if these All-Stars got to together and actually played. No offence to Baron Davis but the skills contest is a blown free throw at best.
Second year guard Fred Jones from Indiana upset 2-time champion Jason Richardson to capture the slam-dunk title. In a field that included Ricky Davis, and Chris Andersen, Jones came out on top thanks to his college teammate throwing him lobs from a few rows back.
Many have complained the lack of star players wanting to participate, for whatever reason, has deluded the event making it unwatchable. I don’t know about unwatchable but why we can’t get a field of Vince Carter, Richardson, McGrady, Davis, and Lebron I’ll never know, maybe the players only want their egos to be to the ceiling not their feet.
Another 2-time champ, Peja Stojakovic, tumbled from his title as Voshon Lenard shot his way by him to become the 3-point champion. Lenard coming off a strong first half for the surprising Nuggets shot his way through a fairly impressive field including Stojakovic, Chauncey Billups, and Rashard Lewis. This event has made little known players names stick in our memory longer then their play actually deserved, I mean who doesn’t remember Craig Hodges? Sure a few more big names may add even more to this event but as long as those bombs are flying people will be watching.
Rooks vs. Sophs
Lebron and Carmelo was all anyone could talk about leading up to, during, and after the rookie-sophomores game. These two highly touted rookies made the most of their one night partnership by combining on quite a few spectacular alley-oops. Of course neither showed their defensive prowess as the rookies got plastered 142-118 but that’s not what the people came to see anyway. Amare Stoudamire set a record for this game scoring 36 points grabbing 11 boards and getting the MVP award. The surprising Ron Murray continues to make the league take notice as he helped the sophomores win with his 25 points and game leading 10 assists.
The Main Event
Shaq running the floor and showing off his dribbling techniques? Yea it happened as the West beat the East 136-132. The MVP in his own hometown, Shaq combined with his Laker teammate Kobe to score 44 points. The East were lead by first timer Jamal Magloire and his 19 points but it was too much Western dominance inside as Duncan and Shaq led the way down the stretch. Though Buck Michael Redd had a chance to win it from deep but missed a tough three pointer. One interesting note that I’m sure David Stern can’t be all to happy about was the fact that of the 10 starters, 5 of them never played college basketball (Yao Ming came from China). Of course one of the non-game elements that everyone watches, are the shoes. As many stars brought out some shiny footwear for this one event, Tim Duncan (Nike) and Tracy McGrady (Adidas) both sported special kicks just for this All-Star game.
In the end it was a typical All-Star weekend, the games were entertaining and the players definitely put their showmanship on display. But now that the fun and games are over the real action again commences as the second half begins, races for divisions heat-up, playoff positioning begins to take fold, and the pretenders get separated from the contenders.