Monday, February 21, 2005

All-Star Afterthoughts

By Anthony Peretore

There is an abundance of articles today summing up the events of the 54th All-Star Game in Denver last night—recaps of all the highlight reel dunks and no look passes, debates over who should have taken home MVP honors, and even takes on how incredibly boring the game was. While that’s all good and fun, it gets a bit repetitive. So instead of boring you, I decided to jot down some notes on things you might not read today and may have missed during last night’s action.

Pre-Game and Introductions

After an extremely busy and chaotic weekend, I amazingly found 26 seconds yesterday to check in my local newspaper for the tip-off time. The paper read 8 p.m., which I assumed after the pre-game hoopla would really mean about 8:30 or so. Well, here it was 8:30 and some lady was playing the guitar on a stage surrounded by fake rocks and little kids. Now usually I wouldn’t care, but I wasn’t trying to go to bed at 12 a.m. since I didn’t hit the sack until 6:15 a.m. the night, er, morning before. Finally around 8:45 the player introductions began. Here’s my take on each player’s stroll down the Rocky Mountain path:

Eastern Conference

Stan Van Gundy: Undoubtedly one of the more awkward, but comical moments of the night. With SVG just standing hopelessly on stage while the P.A. announcer introduced “the Head Coach of the Miami Heat,” pounds of fake snow were falling on his head and sticking to his mustache. (Speaking of mustaches, if anyone my age grew a mustache (without the goatee) wouldn’t they be ridiculed to death? How is it that like 60% of my father’s generation sports the upper lip hair, yet if young adults today tried to do the same they would probably be exiled to Cambodia?) Grade: C- for awkwardness

Paul Pierce: Classic two-handed jersey pull showing everyone that he plays for Boston in case we forgot. I had no problem with this, but how much gum did he have in his mouth? Did he grab a whole bag of Big League Chew in the locker room? Grade: B+

Zydrunas Ilgauskas: Surprisingly smooth intro. Z actually has a pretty cool pimp walk for a 7-3 Lithuanian. Grade: A-

Ben Wallace: The one-finger point to the sky. Not a bad move, just really unoriginal. I mean Jesse Owens was doing the one-finger back in the ‘36 Olympics. Grade: C

Jermaine O’Neal: Had the fashion show strut down pat, what a pimp. Seriously you know his house is covered in silk and velvet. Grade: A-

Dwyane Wade: Lifted up his warm-up to point to the number 3 on his jersey. Again, we realize what number you are, what team you play for and that you’re probably number one. Grade: C

Gilbert Arenas: Wonder where Gil was on Saturday night? Apparently Bambi and Buttons gave him some advice for his intro. In case you missed it, Arenas ripped off his warm-up and started swinging around his head like the Lone Ranger. The orange shoes didn’t help one bit.
Grade: C+

Antawn Jamison: He seemed really nervous like one of those: “Damn I knew I should have dropped a deuce in the locker room” faces.
Grade: C-

Vince Carter: Extremely cool routine. Nothing unoriginal, just smooth as ice with the occasional wave. Grade: A

Grant Hill: I’m not even joking, it was the same exact entrance as VC, to a tee. Grade: A

Allen Iverson: It wouldn’t be an All-Star game without AI pointing to his mom. What is it with Philly stars and their attachment to their mothers? Get a grip. Grade: B-

LeBron James: Apparently “The King” thought we were at a Jay-Z concert, flashing the Rock-a-Fella symbol. I don’t know what this means and I’m pretty sure I don’t want to. Imagine if the white trainer for the East did this? Yet when James does it we’re all like, “Oh, that’s cool.” Grade: B

Is this the All-Star Game or Candyland?

Shaquille O’Neal: Classic Shaq, lightening the mood with a little shuffle to the music. Nice touch. Grade: A

Note: After the East starters were introduced, Destiny’s Child performed for their second song, “I need a soldier.” This has relatively no relavence to my article, but it’s an excuse for me to throw in a Beyonce picture. You can thank me later.

The blonde in the back aint too shabby either

Western Conference

Before the players came on, the whitest trainers in the world were introduced with the beat from DC’s song still playing in the background. Awkward moment number two.

Gregg Popovich: Again, with the hip-hop beat still playing in the intros, it made it very hard for any Caucasian to look cool, but Pop managed to do a pretty good job. Grade: B+

Dirk Nowitzki: Did the questionable walk down then shuffle back to the beat routine. Nothing a 7-0 white German should be doing, ever. Grade: C-

Shawn Marion: Awful dance, never even attempted to get in sync with the rhythm of the song. C’mon Matrix. Grade: D+

Steve Nash: Just think what you would expect from Nash and that’s exactly what he did. Grade: B

Amare Stoudemire: Decided to go the Ben Wallace route with the finger point, except his digit is like 13 inches long. It looked like an antenna was coming out of his hand. Okay, enough talk about huge black dudes and the length of their fingers. Sorry. Grade: Awkward

Manu Ginobili: Tried to use his Euro “dance moves” and shimmy to the beat of the song. Didn’t do a bad job, but I just don’t like him. Grade: F-

Ray Allen: Your classic Nixon-like double peace sign. Not bad for a politician but I expected a lot more from Jesus Shuttlesworth. Grade: C

Rashard Lewis: Single peace sign, better than the double, but still very unoriginal. Grade: B-

Tim Duncan: Read Steve Nash above. (Note: Ever notice TD’s nose? Mangled doesn’t even begin to describe that thing. Don’t these guys make millions? Get that thing adjusted, yeesh) Grade: B

Kevin Garnett: Very nice dance—classic head-sway and dip while managing to stay in sync with the arm motions. He also was tear-free throughout the entire routine (Sorry, I had to). Grade: A-

Kobe Bryant: Looked like he just got back from a backpacking trip in the Serengeti with that gross beard. Did receive some boos—definitely expected with the game in Colorado—but handle it very well. Grade: B+

Tracy McGrady: The only thing that stood out for me was that when he was low-fiving the cheerleaders and kids on the sides of the stage he barely had to bend down at all. He has the wingspan of a freakin’ fighter jet. Grade: B

Yao Ming: I thought this had the makings of one of the funniest moments of the night, but I came away sadly disappointed. The only humor involved was the enormous magnitude of Yao’s head. That thing is huge. They also announced that he received the most votes ever for this All-Star Game. David Stern say, “Thank you China.” Grade: B

National Anthems

Canadian: Yes, that’s anthems, with an s. Because of the damn Toronto Raptors we have to sit through three additional minutes of singing with the Canadian National anthem. However, if we made it a rule that Tamia (Grant Hill’s wife) had to sing it every time I would have no problem with this. Included in this moment was the guaranteed shot of Steve Nash ten seconds into the song and later, a glimpse of Vince Carter actually singing along. Awkward moment number 54 and the game didn’t even start yet. I thought Tamia did an excellent job—maybe the best singing of any anthem I’ve ever heard. Seemed like the audience agreed.

American: David Robinson introduced an armed soldier’s choir to sing the American National Anthem. However, throughout the song all I could do is wonder if D-Rob’s lips actually got bigger. Was this really possible?

Daps and Tip-off

No Kobe and Shaq did not wish each other luck, in fact they didn’t even come close to one another. Quick side note, right before the tip my buddy Matt called and offered me our daily bet. Understand that him and I bet on anything and everything and that he’s beating me 189-2. The wager, as always, was beer. Since he was out and had sensibly already downed a few, I knew I could smuggle the West from him at –5.5. As an added bonus, I suggested that we both choose two players to win the MVP award. I gave him first pick: LeBron, followed by my Iverson, his Kobe, my T-Mac. Final bet: two beers on the game and a bonus two on MVP.

Game Time

Since I knew every other website would provide their readers with thorough reviews of the game itself, I was planned to do something original. Since I couldn’t come up with anything brilliant, I simply decided to keep tract of all the dunks in the game, knowing there would be an abundance with relatively no defense being played. The end result: 27 dunks, 15 in the first half, 12 in the second. Here’s the dunk leaderboard and some comments on individual slams:

Shaq: 5—including an up-close shot of Yao saying “Oh s@$%!”
TD: 4—in just three-quarters
Marion: 3—sick two-hander
LeBron: 2—weak breakaway slam
Kobe: 2—best oop of the night from Nash
Wade: 2—nasty breakaway reverse
Amare: 2—second best oop from Kobe
Allen: 1
Big Ben: 1

G. Hill: 1—nice hops on the oop from Wade
J. O’Neal: 1
Garnett: 1
Yao: 1
VC: 1
—by far the illest of the night. For the record, the off-the-glass-to-himself dunk is counted as just a dunk and not a shot, rebound and make.

This slam nearly paralyzed Pierce

Ant’s Awards

Best Free Throw: Shaq’s one-hander in the second quarter that looked better than any other FT attempt he’s taken all year

Best Stat That Turned Out to Mean Nothing: At the 11-minute mark of the second quarter, the West was out-rebounding the East 23-9, yet still lost the game mostly in part to…

Game’s Best Run: The East’s 17-o spurt in the second quarter where Popovich basically fell asleep on the bench. No group of All-Stars should ever let up a 17-point run.

Best Voice: Shaq’s monotone speech that without fail, puts me to sleep every time he talks for more than 15 seconds straight.

Worst Voice: Diana Taurasi and her ghetto talk. The other night after she won the whatever the hell that lame competition is, I heard her say to Marion: “Aww snap, naw ahka do ma dance.” WHAT? You’re a white girl from UConn, stop doing that. Also, have you ever thought about if she gets it on with the NBA players? My bet is absolutely.

Rumor of the Night: From David Aldridge announcing a potential Lamar Odom for Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson deal. He also mentioned that both teams denied the report, but that this really meant the exact opposite. Well, B-Jax is out for the year, so the immediate results for the Lakers simply replace Odom with Peja. I like this deal more for the Lakers for next season when Jackson returns. Right now however, unless they could deal Caron Butler for a legit rebounding ‘4,’ this team would get hammered on the glass.

Best Commercial: The one with the African tribesman making the model figures of Garnett, T-Mac and TD and placing them in the arena to play some ball. Very good basketball commercial on arguably the best night of the NBA season. Not sure how an African tribesman would be familiar with these players, but oh well.

Worst Commercial: Tie. First was that Jeep one with the SUV plowing through like 13 inches of snow. Who drives in over a foot of snow anyway? Was anyone like, “Judith, that would be great for our vacation in Anchorage next September!” The other one was that horrendous Nokia bit where the three guys elect to watch NBA highlights on their 2 inch phone screen rather than the 60-inch plasma television that’s right in front of them. Plus none of them check out the smoking hot chick with the mini-skirt that walks by? Ridiculous.

Potentially Funny Moment That Was Not That Funny: Shaq and P. Diddy’s shoe cell phone. Actually, Craig Sager talking to P. Diddy on a size-23 sneaker cell phone was pretty damn funny.

Best Statistic: Last time the All-Star game was held in Denver was 1984 when Isiah Thomas nabbed the MVP award with 22 points and 15 assists. What one may forget is that Magic Johnson had 22 assists that night. Seeing him now weighing roughly 412 lbs., that’s really hard to imagine.

All in all, not a bad game but really not worth staying up until almost 12. The jerseys were dope, as were the dunks, but the best part of the night, I got my two beers back with my Iverson selection.

Thanks Allen


At 12:42 PM, Anonymous LIL LESHA said...



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