Monday, February 16, 2015
The National Basketball Association started their All-Star Weekend and ended it the same way: with a bang!
They started with the usual celebrity and rookie games on Friday and ended it with the All-Star game itself. Memorable moments throughout these three games provided plenty of entertainment.
But perhaps the talk of the town is Saturday’s events. The NBA loves their competition challenges and didn’t disappoint with Saturday’s events. This is the main positive from this All-Star weekend.
I’m taking a look back from All-Star Saturday and grading them on their performance and what it means for future All-Star Weekends.
*Note: each event will be rated on a five-point system.
1) Degree Shooting Stars
Team Bosh defeated Team Westbrook to complete a three-peat of the challenge. Chris Bosh, Swim Cash and Dominique Wilkins reunited and turned back the threat of Russell Westbrook, Tamika Catchings and Anfernee Hardaway. Team Curry (Sue Bird, Stephen and Dell Curry) and Team Millsap (Paul Millsap, Elena Bella Donne and Scottie Pippen) were eliminated in the first round.
The format remained the same, with the exception of the team having to get their own rebounds. The half-court shot proved to still be the most difficult, although Teams Bosh and Westbrook had no problems in the first round.
It was a fun event to get the crowd going. This event gets 3 out of 5.
2) Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Houston Rockets PG Patrick Beverley took home the prize in this event, defeating a slew of competitors. Kyle Lowry, Isaiah Thomas, Jeff Teague, Trey Burke, Elfrid Payton Dennis Schroder and runner-up Brandon Knight could not stop Beverley on this night.
This competition had the most radical change, with two competitors going at the same time. The bounce pass was eliminated, and the jump shot from the top of the key would be the last act.
Beverley barely completed the chest pass but still came back to win. He beat Teague and Knight in this manner.
This change also proved to be confusing. Perhaps a disclaimer or announcement the night before would make things clearer. This made for an average event. But in time, it could grow quite nicely.
This event gets another 3 out of 5.
3) Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
This event followed one philosophy: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Stephen Curry returned from his losing effort in the shooting stars to excel in this event. He made 13 straight three-pointers to become the new champion.
He defeated his fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson as well as former champions Kyrie Irving and Marco Belinelli. Kyle Korver, James Harden, Wesley Matthews and J.J. Redick rounded out the contest.
Crowd was on fire for this one. The three-point contest always gets the fans on their feet, and they didn’t disappoint. Curry, Irving and Thompson all gave dominating performances, but Curry walked away with the trophy.
This event is always a crowd pleaser. Nothing else needs to be said. This event gets a 4 out of 5.
4) Sprite Slam Dunk
The slam dunk contest went from glorious to a travesty. As of last Saturday, the contest returned in a big way.
It started off slow, with Mason Plumlee, Giannis Antetokounmpko and Victor Oladipo making their attempts. The crowd reacted normally, until Zach LaVine came around.
LaVine started playing basketball thanks to SpaceJam, and he came to the title song and wearing a Tune Squad Michael Jordan jersey. He then hit the “Space Jam Dunk,” and the crowd erupted in shock. Even Julius Erving was shocked when he saw that!
LaVine brought back the dunk contest from the grave. Credit also goes to Oladipo for bringing the 540 dunk to the competition. In the end, LaVine was too much and took the championship.
It wasn’t the best slam dunk contest, but it had Zach LaVine showing up and shocking us all. This event gets a 4.5 out of 5 from me.
Overall, the event was great. It made for an entertaining night and brought less notable names into the mainstream. Keep an eye out for the rising stars of today. You never know if they can become the stars of tomorrow.
NBA All-Star Saturday Final Grade: 4 out 5.
*Note: I like Kenny Smith and Reggie Miller, but don’t have them announcing over the events. It just takes away from the performances of the players trying to entertain through their skills.
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