This was definitely an entertaining All-Star weekend and it started off with a big positive; the Celebrity game. The Celebrity game is a personal favorite of mine, it’s cool to see athletes from other leagues, singers, rappers, actors, comedians, talk show hosts, retired NBA players, and more on two opposing teams playing basketball. It is enjoyable because it brings these celebrities that we; as a society, put on a pedestal down to earth by showcasing them on a platform where they are comically average. Kevin Hart totally owns the Celebrity game, I will be disappointed if he doesn’t do it for the next 3 years at least. He brings his comedy with him in every action he makes but you can tell he is really trying to win these games despite his goofy nature. I also enjoying laughing at the retired NBA players, like Clyde Drexler who couldn’t run up the court and Sean Elliot who looked as if he hadn’t touched a basketball in at least a decade. Why was Rocsi Diaz there though?
Moving on, the second and final event on Friday night was the Rising Stars game (formally the Rookie/Sophomore game). The NBA kept the format of only Rookies and Sophomores except instead of one group versus the other, they are all mixed up and picked playground-style by TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. I’m not sure if Charles Barkley has a great poker face and is a natural General Manager or if Shaq is just a naive, unlucky, not-so-good General Manager because last year Charles Barkley went small and drafted a bunch of shooters and innilated Shaq’s team. So, this year Shaq took Charles’ approach and went small by drafting all shooters, he even drafted the MVP of last year; Kyrie Irving, but not only did he lose by a larger margin than he did last year, his team allowed Charles’ team score the most points ever scored in this event. Kenneth “The Manimal” Faried won the MVP by scoring 40 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. But although Shaq lost the game, he had the future of the NBA on his team. One thing I came away with from this All-Star weekend is that Kyrie Irving is now one of my favorite players, I have a feeling we will look back at this weekend in 10 years and say “that’s when it began”. Kyrie is going to be a problem in this league, he has legendary potential.
Saturday was alright, I’m not a big fan of the Shooting Stars event or the Skills challenge, I hate the Dunk contest, but the 3-Point contest is the stand-out event of that night to me. I thought Steph Curry would win it because I believe he has the nicest jumper in the league but Kyrie struck again and took over another All-Star event. The Dunk contest was as blah as I had expected it to be, from the participants to the dunks, but nothing annoyed me more than the amount of attempts the participants were given.
Now, the main event, the All-Star game. LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, and most of the NBA’s best talents. I was mostly just excited to see two of my Bulls in the game even though Derrick Rose hasn’t played this year. My focus quickly shifted from being on Luol Deng and Joakim Noah to Chris Paul. Chris Paul took over the game, he won the MVP by scoring 20 points and dishing out 15 assists. Chris Paul definitely cemented his place as the best point guard in the NBA. Chris Paul is just a natural leader, I think you can throw him on any team in the NBA and they will improve to a playoff team. But after it was pretty much established that Chris Paul was the MVP something happened, Kobe decided to end all of the discussion that has been going on for the last week of LeBron being better than him. As LeBron started to try to bring the East back and try to win the game, Kobe stopped him. Kobe made it a mission since he hadn’t played his best game to stop LeBron from trying to lead to East to a comeback victory. Kobe blocked two of LeBron’s shots in the 4th quarter and closed the door on the never-ending “Kobe or LeBron” debate; at least for the time being.