What’s good, basketball fans?
Today, as promised, we’ll be looking at my picks for the 2006 All-Star Game. My thanks if you responded with your selections and comments, and my apologies if I didn’t manage to reply to your email.
Before we get into things properly, I’d like to introduce tomorrow’s topic of discussion: the dunk contest. Let me know your four participants (I’m making the assumption that the format will remain unchanged from last year) via the comment box at the bottom of the page or by emailing me at [email protected]
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at my ballot.
(Fun Fact of the Day: For those of you that have lost count, this is my hundredth article at HoopsVibe. I expect gifts.)
Guard – TJ Ford
As a 6’0’’ guard returning from injury who compensates for a questionable jumper with his quickness, I feel closer to TJ Ford than perhaps any other player in the league, and in that I’m not alone. Although few will see as much of their own game in Ford’s as I do, most can relate more closely to a mild-mannered man of average height than the eccentric giants found frequently throughout the league. What’s more, it’s hard not to have a soft spot for a player who overcame a lifelong condition (spinal stenosis) to compete in the NBA, and subsequently returned from a major injury (contusion to the spinal cord) somehow better than before.
Guard – Ricky Davis
As some of you will know, I’ve always admired a little nuttiness in a player. The all-time greats may generally be sane, but what would we have without our Rodmans, Artests and Ricky Davises? A very dull league, that’s what. Reader Stephen Currie has my back on this one.
I’m a big fan of the missin a shot on my own basket for a trip doub guy. ASW for ricky d? he will cook up some special between the legs dunk, if anything, when he gets close to a trip double, and lacks that one rebound, with 5 ticks left, you know what he will do.
Precisely, Steve. Plus, if you think Tricky gets up to some entertaining antics in the regular season, imagine what he’d do in an exhibition game. If anyone could earn a suspension during All-Star Weekend, it’s Mr. Get Buckets himself, and that’s more than enough to earn my vote.
Forward – Ron Artest
They better not put me in the All-Star Game. I won’t shoot, but I’ll dominate that easy game. I’ll be playing hard defence. I’ll be foulin’. I’ll be flagrant fouling. Everyone will be like, “What are you doing?”– The Artest
If that doesn’t make your heart smile, you may well be dead inside. This quote alone is sufficient that I’ll vote for Ron-Ron every year until he retires, and even after that I’ll consider him selecting him as a write-in.
Forward – Grant Hill
LeBron doesn’t need my vote, and so I’ve given the second forward spot to another feel-good story. If his past performance is anything to go by, Grant should return from his current injury (a sports hernia expected to keep him on the chilling list until mid-December) with another surprising season. He’ll never be the player he once was, but he deserves a place in the line-up for finding a way to reinvent his game in order to accommodate a piece of metal the size of a credit card in an ankle which has gone under the knife no less than five times.
Centre – Shaquille O’Neal
The All-Star festivities are for the fans, and so is Shaq. I’m fortunate enough to be able to count myself among those who have met the man mountain face-to-face (he was sitting down at the time), and, like so many, I came away from the experience with nothing but good things to say about the biggest of big men. However, all issues of personal sentimentality aside, it’s worth noting that The Big Aristotle has a legitimate claim to being the Most Dominant Ever, and as such could have the off-court personality of Bill Laimbeer and still have a guaranteed spot in the game.
Guard – Baron Davis
Like TJ Ford, Baron, with his pot belly and unremarkable stature, was cast in the mold of an ordinary mortal. Accordingly, the 99.9% who aren’t built like the Adonis figures that fill the league see B-Dizzle as a champion of the undersized and overweight, with each rim-rattling dunk serving as confirmation that you needn’t be 6’8’’and perfectly toned to compete at the highest level.
Guard – Manu Ginobili
Given that I passed over Yao and Dirk (apologies for the spoiler), I felt the need to include at least one wacky foreigner on my ballot, and this year it’s Mr. Ginobili’s turn to assume that role. With his reckless disregard for personal safety and single-minded approach to attacking the basket, Manu is guaranteed to provide at least one highlight in the game, even if it occurs when he ends up being flipped over on an awkward layup attempt, as he so often does.
Forward – Tim Duncan
Boring? Boring? Have you seen the man’s new ‘fro? If not, I advise you to seek pictures of Timmy D’s glorious ’do before you label the man bland. The hair aside, T.D. needs in for the simple fact that he’s the most solid performer on the planet, and that has to count for something even in a game highlighting creativity rather than consistency, style rather than substance. In the midst of the crossovers, alley-oops and the rest, Duncan’s jump-hooks and bank-shots will act as a reminder of how the game is meant to be played.
Forward – Kevin Garnett
Simply put, Kevin Garnett loves the game of basketball. Those who have the same appreciation for hoops can’t help but enjoy The Big Ticket’s on-court displays of emotion over anything from a game-winner to a missed foot violation. What’s more, he’s one of the most astonishing athletic anomalies of our generation, standing around seven feet tall, but with the skill set of a point guard and the athletic ability of a small forward, allowing him to step into all five positions as required.
Centre – Marcus Camby
Somebody said his name three times, and the Cambyman came out to play this year. While he’s always been among the league’s better big men, this season is the first time we’ve seen him ball for real in a while. Currently averaging sixteen points, fourteen boards, three blocks and two steals, he ranks third in the league overall in efficiency ranking. He may once again do his Mr. Glass impersonation and go down with an injury without prior warning, but I’m not changing my vote until I hear something tear.
That’s all for now, folks. Don’t forget to email me ([email protected]
) or comment in the box below with your selections for this year’s dunk contest, which we’ll be covering in some depth tomorrow. Until then, take it easy.