Wednesday , Feb , 15 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

For The Love Of Basketball 57th edition

Love is in the air… or so the legend proclaims.

Valentine’s Day is upon us.

So because of the season, I’m going to show a little appreciation for some of our beloved heroes.

The 2005-2006 NBA All-Stars
West Starters
Steve Nash — The best point guard in the league (He dethroned Jason Kidd). For the first time since the days of Kevin Johnson and Charles Barkley, Nash has made the Phoenix Suns relevant again.
Kobe Bryant — A true basketball force of nature. He’s the true definition of must see television. During any game, at any moment he can do something on the court that has never been done before.
Tim Duncan — Steady, consistent and reliable. The single greatest power forward of all time, period.
Tracy McGrady — I was down on him during his days with the Magic. A truly great player would NEVER allow his team to endure an 18-game losing streak. But I’ve softened my stance on him after witnessing that incredible 13-point barrage in 40 seconds against the Spurs last season. His ability to pull up and shoot over ANY defender is uncanny.
Yao Ming — He’ll never be the truly great player that everyone thought he’d be, but he’s 7-6, and once he gets the ball over his head to shoot… it’s curtains.
East Starters
Allen Iverson — Since his days at Georgetown I’ve watched him hurl his body around the court like a wrecking ball. I never thought he’d last this long. It’s a testament to his will, desire, and greatness that has allowed it.
Dwyane Wade — After watching him in the NCAA Tournament three years ago, I had no idea that I was possibly watching one of basketball’s all time great players.
Jermaine O’Neal — Buried in Portland… Discovered in Indiana. A diamond in the rough.
LeBron James — The living personification of phenomenal. Is there any question as to what he was born to do?
Shaquille O’Neal — I’m anti-Shaq, so even Valentine’s Day can’t alter my stance.
Ray Allen — The best player to ever come out of the University of Connecticut.
Tony Parker — Well, he’s fast and his girlfriend’s pretty.
Elton Brand — There’s no one who deserves to play in next Sunday’s game more than him.
Dirk Nowitzki — Remember how INCREDIBLY good Tom Chambers was on the old Sega Genesis game “Lakers vs. Celtics?” That’s Dirk in this day and age.
Pau Gasol — Forget what I said in an earlier column; keep the beard because it’s working.
Shawn Marion — An amazing player. Everything from his jump shot to his tireless pursuit of a rebound is unorthodox. Who wouldn’t want him on their team?
Kevin Garnett — A truly great player who could be greater if he wanted.
Chauncey Billups — Besides Kobe, there’s no other player I’d rather have shoot the ball if the game were on the line.
Richard Hamilton — The second best player to ever come out of the University of Connecticut.
Gilbert Arenas — The coaches robbed him on the first go around, the basketball gods RIGHTFULLY rewarded him on the second.
Vince Carter — I guess he realized that he’s supposed to be a superstar. I guess better late than never.
Ben Wallace — Remember that saying if you worked hard enough, you’d attain your dreams? Well Ben Wallace is living proof of that adage.
Rasheed Wallace — One of my favorite players in the league. The NBA’s lone reluctant star.
Chris Bosh — The future best power forward in the league.
Paul Pierce — A few years ago he was on the verge of becoming the next Celtic great, now (not to his own doing) he’s lost in obscurity.
Enjoy the All-Star festivities.