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Sunday, February 19, 2006 

NBA All Star Saturday Night Recap

In The Begining, There Was Nothing

The NBA skills night starts out with 50 minutes of.... nothing. Nothing at all. Some kids playing drums, 10 year olds dancing, and all culminating in Walter McCarty inexplicably taking a stab at the national anthem. How did they let this happen? Seriously. How. This is not a good sign for how the rest of the night will go. I fear the worst.

Followed By Nothing

So, then the next ten minutes are also filled with effectively nothing as they have another go at the team competition. That’s the thing where an NBA player, an old guy and some girl take shots from assigned areas, with the best time winning. The Spurs were up first, with Parker, Kerr and some lady. They go through with no error, and then Parker makes the half courter on the first shot. Game over, no one is beating this. The Lakers were up next, and I’m reminded beforehand of Magic’s humourous struggles last year, and I anticipate the same again. Instead, this time there is Lisa Leslie right under the basket needing 6 shots, and Magic making his first. He did need 5 shots for his second, but then Kobe, like Parker, also makes his first half court shot.

Swoops Clyde and TMac then have little problems, but they cant meet the first time set by San Antonio and they know it. This contest is done, even with Phoenix left to go. Thunder Dan just doesn’t have enough tricks in his pockets, and this meaningless, retarded event is over. Parker, Kerr and whatever girl that was take it.

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Skilled Completision

Next up is the skills competition. This has somehow become the marquee event of the night with all the biggest stars taking place. LeBron, Nash, Chris Paul and Wade are this years competitors, while Iguodala, Nate Robinson, Smith and Warrick are in the dunk contest. This isn't right. Imagine a dunk contest with LeBron, Wade, Iguodala and Kobe. It's just really weird to me that the skills competition has the marquee names now. But whatever, nothing can change that at this point.

Paul went first and went slow, finishing at 42 seconds. Wade followed it up with a dunk, pretty passes, but a horrible time at the 3 point line, managing to just edge out Paul’s time at 39 seconds. LeBron, showing yet again that his passng game is a thing of the past, came in between their times at 40.5 very unspectacular seconds. Nash then went in there and was a disgraceful hack. But really, who cares? This event is dumb, and the star players should be back n the dunk contest. No one cares about this one. Play station must be paying a lot of money to get guys like LeBron and Wade into this debacle.

Second time through LeBron does a little better and throws down a 33 second run. Wade whips through at 26 seconds with a perfect run for the championship and all the glory that comes along with it. At this point in the night I'm really questioning why I’m sitting at home watching this instead of doing absolutely anything else. An hour and 20 minutes have gone by without a single second of entertainment as far as I'm concerned. At this point I also know that my least favourite part of the night is going to be the repetitive showing of Eva Longoria in the audience. Who decided that anyone cares about her? She's not all that attractive, she instantly gives off an air of “I’m better than you” anytime you see her, and she's in the worst show on tv since sex in the city. I just don’t get it. Someone has to give me a job deciding what goes on tv, i know i could do a much better job than anyone who actually holds one of those jobs. And don't even get me started on advertisers.

Three Point Contest

But moving on, 15 minutes inexplicably pass again, and they finally get around to the three-point contest. I would love to see Donyell Marshall take one of these before his career comes to an end, but for some reason he's never invited. The contestants this year are Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitski, Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups, Q Rich and Jason Terry. Again, unlike the dunk contest, this is a pretty decent lineup of all-stars (plus Jason Terry). But I guess no one cares about dunks anymore.

Arenas starts off with no buckets on the first rack, but finishes off with 14 points. Not bad for 0 to start. Jason Terry went second, started off with a big air-ball, took too much time and ended up with 13 points. Disco Dirk, the tallest competitor in three-point contest history as far as I can remember, came in strong with 14 points as well (although it should only be 12 as far as big Charles is concerned). Next up - more ads. Sigh. How long can they drag this night out? And it's all going to climax with Nate Robinsons appearance in the dunk contest. Maybe I should call someone up and see if anything else is going on tonight. Before I get around to it, though, the contest is back on and Ray Allen takes to the court. Likely the best shooter in the game today, he gets off to a slow start, but comes on strong finishing with 19 points.

Barkley just compared Allen’s shot to his Golf Swing, saying there is no wasted motion. Has anyone else seen Chuck golfing? It's something. Not a flattering comparison if you ask me.

Back to the contest, Chauncey comes out of the gate strong, but then misses 11 of 12 in the middle, finishing with only 12 points. Last up is Q – air ball to start yet again, and six misses to finishes off and become eliminated. So the finalists are Arenas with 14, Disco with 14 and Allen with 19. Not so great.

Second round, Arenas' up first and misses his first few shots again, but again comes up strong finishing with 16 points. He also made a new symbol with his fingers that i hadn't seen before, and it kind of made me miss the days of the triangle over the head. What does that say about this new sign? Anyway, Dirk’s up next and looks a little better this round, putting up a quick 13 points by half-time, finishing with 18. Ray Allen ran a little cold in the middle, finishing with only 15 points, making Big Disco the 3-points champion, and guaranteeing that the 3-point champion this year would be taller than the dunk champion. I don't have much definite history to back this up, but I can't imagine there were many years where the 3-point champ was taller than anyone in the dunk contest. Says me.

he conclusion of the 3-point contest sees another huge break, including an inexplicable appearance from Elton Brand introducing yet ANOTHER look at the NBA cares program. Man, are they over-hyping this thing. We get it already - not all NBA players are thugs and gangstas. To drive the point home even further, next comes a performance by Andrea Bottecelli. Did I spell his name right? Probably not. And why is that? Because I am a basketball fan, so there is a 99.99999% chance that I DON'T CARE AT ALL ABOUT THIS GUY. What is going on here? I haven’t seen this much over-compensating since Third Eye Blind came out with their follow-up “We Are Not Gay” album. It's one thing to want to bring up the image of the league, but once it's at the expense of putting your fans through a constant barrage of crap they don't care about, it's gone way too far. Just way too far. They had an opera singer performing at a basketball all-star event. Seriously, that's what happened. Sigh.

The Big Show?

We are now 128 minutes into this thing, and finally onto the dunk contest. I can't wait to see what Vince and LeBron are going to do to top Kobe's performance. Oh wait, I mean what Nate Robinson and Hakim Warrick will do to top Smith. Sniff.

So anyway, benchwarmer Hakim Warrick (although a favourite of mine) is up first, and he throws down a simple fake statue of liberty, come back underneath dunk to score a 44. 6'6" AI is up second, throwing the ball up to himself off a bounce and doing some stuff with his arms like you always see people do on dunks these days, but still coming up with 45 points. The 5'9" Nate Robinson gimmick takes the floor, with a throw bounce ally-oop, followed by a pretty nice 360 dunk. It wasn’t much better than the first two dunks BUT he gets the gimmick votes and takes 49 points, setting up for a gimmick to win yet again.

Then, since Smith realizes the only way to beat a gimmick is with a gimmick, he goes out and puts tape on the floor at an impossible distance... only to ignore it completely and attempt one of those take a full step over the free-throw line dunks for 41 points. What was the tape for? Yikes. The contest so far is ever worse than I was anticipating. It can only go up from this point, right? Smith's going to use that tape on his second attempt, right!?!??!

Speaking of second attempts, here we go again. Warrick takes 2 attempts to catch a pass from a dude in a chair and jump over him. Haven't seen that before. Sigh. 42 points, for 86 total. AI up next, and to the great amusement of the announcing staff, he sets up to take a pass from the other AI. What was so funny about this? I have no idea, the best I can tell is that they were passing up lots of cocktails in the media room in the last commercial break. But finally... FINALLY something to see! Iverson passes it to him off the back of the backboard, he grabs it, pulls the ball and his head under the backboard, and then extends it back upwards and dunks it for 50 points and 95 total points. This is one of the best dunks i've ever seen, and my heart is finally beating a bit for the first time tonight. Only to be taken back down by a simple toss up to the gimmick, who still somehow gets the gimmick votes for 44 and 93 total, taking Smith out of contention even before his second dunk. Have I mentioned how much I hate gimmicks? They are so bad. Nate didn’t make good dunks and he's in the finals even before JS's second dunk. I really hope AI saved something for the finals to take him down. Anyway Smith did something and got some points and is out.

The final is set to go, after another huge break, and it's the real guy against the gimmick. Mind you, he isn’t that much of a gimmick. He's only 2 inches shorter than Iverson. But nonetheless he is getting the full gimmick treatment. And as he starts off here, he's trying to get the Birdman treatment as well! 7 misses so far. Now 8. Moving through different styles of dunks as well. 9 now, and the gimmick is getting tired. He clearly has his sights set on Birdmans records. 10 misses and I notice that this is SO much better than having Smith in the finals with AI. 11th try through the legs, opposite hand, and throws it down. Decent dunk, but if he wins after missing 10 attempts, it will be the lowest point of the night. 44 points and onto AI, who gets a little love from Dr.J and steps up to the free throw line, tosses the ball up in the air, grabs it in the air with his left, behind his back to the right and in. Wow. AI is the real deal. Those are 2 real 50-point dunks for AI.

Now, as if the gimmick wasn’t gimmick enough, he pulls the original gimmick himself out of the audience in Spud Webb, takes a bounce pass from him and jumps over another short guy for the dunk. Sigh. The new ultimate gimmick to end all gimmicks has finally taken place. Jumping the shark shall from now on be known as jumping the spud. I hope and wish that this won’t pay off, but AI put up a pretty lame dunk, through the legs, and was saved for my sake into a dunk-off. I hate gimmicks so much, and tonight has been hard enough to sit through, if a gimmick wins I will officially be with drawing from watching slam dunk saturday in the future. So with that, we move onto the dunk-off. Apparently not happy to have come up short of Birdman’s record earlier, Nate is quickly into the double digits in misses on his dunk-off attempt. Once you get to 15 misses you give up, right? RIGHT?!!?? Apparently not. This is out of control. 20 attempts (the announcers generously said 14) and he finally gets one down. It's pretty good, under both legs at the three point line, off the backboard and dunked. 47 points. That’s a tough score for AI to take down. And he didn’t do it. This isn't right. Not right at all. The gimmick won, and did it by not having the best dunks, even if he took 50 attempts to get them. And I'm done with this. Don't expect an All Star Saturday post from me next year unless something drastic changes. This was brutal all around. I have nothing more to say about it. It's a mess.

It's My Game

After watching the mess that was this evening’s event, I think to myself who should have been in these contests to make it better? I first decided that the only way to fix the first hour and a half would have been to miss it, as the Team thing and the skills comp just don't belong and serve only to fill up time and bring in more advertising money. The other two contests, however, were just horribly cast. For one thing, these contests should only involve people who are actually playing in the all-star game. On top of they, the participants should be voted in by the fans out of the cast of people who are in the game, and if they are voted in they should be told that if they don’t compete in the event they are voted into, then they can't play in the all-star game either. Maybe then there would be a little more excitement in the Dunk Contest that hasn't been there for 6 years.

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Without the fan vote, however, it should default to me picking who is in the contest, and thus be independent of the games participants. If I were setting up the evening, the three point contest and dunk contest should have involved the following:

3 Point Contest

Ray Allen
Mike James
Raja Bell
Chauncy Billups
Steve Nash
Kyle Korver

Dunk Contest

Vince Carter
LeBron James
Kobe Bryant
Andre Iguodala
Jermaine O’Neal

Now that would be an evening to watch. Until that day, I have now officially retired from watching All Star Saturday. I just can’t take another night like tonight, and I really don’t think that we, as fans, should have to.

random unnecessary maria sighting there

its never unnecessary!

completely unnecessary

That's a great story. Waiting for more. »

Best regards from NY! » » »

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  • Kent MacDonald
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