The prestigious NBA All Star Weekend came and went just as fast it approached. This three day event took place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the All Star Weekend gave players and celebrities the ability to compete, have fun, and relax during an overbearing 82 game regular season. Also, this weekend is always nothing short of entertaining for the basketball fan, and this year’s All Star Weekend followed suit.
Friday (Celebrity Game/USA vs. World)
Friday began with the celebrity game, which is some uncoordinated celebrities playing alongside past WNBA and NBA stars like Paul Pierce, Tracy McGrady, Jason Williams, Nate Robinson, and Candace Parker. Some notable celebrities that played were Quavo, Nick Cannon, Bubba Watson, Jamie Foxx, Anthony Anderson, and 2011 MVP of the game: the beloved Justin Bieber, who only finished with four points. Overall, the game was an ugly one to say the least, and McGrady and Pierce looked like giants in there. The MVP of the game was Migos rapper Quavo, who finished with 19 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds.
Following the hard to watch celebrity game was the USA vs. World game, where rookies or second year players played against each other, depending on where they are from. This was an interesting game with lots of highlight dunks and fadeaway three pointers. In the final minutes of the game, Team USA was having an in- game dunk contest,, but still was not enough to get the win, falling 155-124. Team World proved to be the better shooting team, making 23 three pointers compared to USA’s 11. Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, from Team World, won MVP honors, finishing with 26 points including shooting 7 for 12 from three.
Saturday: NBA All Star Festivities
The All Star Saturday events included the Skills Challenge, the Three Point Contest, and the Slam Dunk Contest. This is an exciting night to watch, as elite players go at it in their particular specialized skill.
The skills challenge was an interesting one, where big men went against guards. The bigs have won the last two years, since being added to the competition. Joel Embiid was notable for his performance because he actually cheated when he missed throwing his pass into the net, and skipped it and continued the course. Besides from the laughs that The Process provided, Spencer Dinwiddie, an up and coming guard from the Brooklyn Nets, won the competition. Many would believe to be an upset, but he is averaging career highs for the Nets.
My personal favorite, the Three Point Contest, was not as good as it was in past years. In a day where everybody
shoots the three ball, the scores were strangely low for some players who are great shooters, such as Paul George (9), Kyle Lowry (11), and Eric Gordon (12). Overall, the contest did not get interesting til the final round, where Devin Booker, Tobias Harris, and Klay Thompson, battled it out and all shot well. Booker set a new record for the highest score ever in the Three Point Contest with a score of 28, and Klay lost with a score of 25.
The most anticipated event is the slam dunk contest, and there were some memorable dunks from this year’s contest. Compared to other years, this year’s dunks were not as flashy, but definitely more skilled and difficult to perform. Donovan Mitchell, the rookie sensation for the Utah Jazz, won the contest with dunks such as the second backboard alleyoop, dunking over Kevin Hart and company, and an off the glass dunk fully cocked back from the lower half of his body to the rim. The best dunk of the night had to go to Dennis Smith Jr., rising rookie point guard for the Dallas Mavericks. With an unreal vertical, Smith performed a dunk I’ve never seen before, by doing a 360 between the legs dunk, while switching hands. It was nothing short of difficult, but the rookie was poised and did it with ease.
Sunday: All Star Game
The long awaited event to cap off the weekend is the All Star game, where the elite players go at it in the greatest pick up game of all time. In recent years, there have been complaints from the fans about the level of effort that was being given from the players in this prestigious game. Therefore, in hopes of making defense a point of emphasis, LeBron James and Steph Curry drafted the teams to make it more competitive. This new set up was a victory for the NBA. Defense was actually played, which made for a fun-to-watch, competitive game where the top-tier players actually were trying. Still it’s an All Star game, and we have to remember that this is a time where players get to relax and have fun, so do not expect them to take it fully seriously.
With all that, it was still a great game to watch, Team Steph shot an awful 17-60 from three, and Team Lebron went on a 28-12 comeback run in the final minutes of the game to win 148-145. MVP went to no other than LeBron James, finishing with a game high 29 points, including 4 three pointers. Joel Embiid had a chance for that MVP honor by hitting 3’s and blocking shots, if his team could have held that lead.
All in all, it was nothing short of an entertaining weekend for this eventful couple days.