This week I want to discuss a little tradition I have.
I have been a sports fan for my entire life. Of course there are some sports that I never really got in to or understood, but one that I will always love is professional basketball.
It occurred to me the other day that I have never been to a professional game outside of seeing the legendary Harlem Globetrotters with my father twice. What a travesty?! Anyway, all that is just a small back story to my main point. Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have watched every minute of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.
This year I missed everything but the actual all-star game itself. I used to just sit down with some Totino’s pizza rolls and usually some Mountain Dew and watch the three-point contest and the dunk contest, in awe of the talent those men displayed.
This year, it was Taco Bell and a bottle of “big kid pop”, as my daughter would refer to it and the East versus the West. Here is how it played out.
First, the stuff I missed, but watched online.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was won by New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis with the Utah Jazz’ Gordon Hayward coming in as the runner-up. This is a fairly new event added to All-Star Weekend. I don’t care much for it.
Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets is one of the top three-point shooters in the NBA. Gordon is also now the 2017 JBL three-point contest champion after edging out the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving in a shoot-out scenario. I am not too familiar with Gordon’s work, but if he makes more threes than Steph Curry this year, I will be a happy man.
Although my favorite event is usually the slam dunk contest, I read on social media outlets that it wasn’t all that fantastic this year. However, that doesn’t make me less bummed that I missed it live, even though Zach Lavine is injured and couldn’t compete this year. The Indiana Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III defeated Derrick Jones Jr, from the Phoenix Suns, in the final. I remember watching Glenn’s father aka. “Big Dog” play back in the day. Good times!
Anyway, that was a few of the festivities leading up to the actual All-Star game. The game itself I did get to watch because some traditions you just neglect.
As always, the game was all offense and defense was an option that very few took as the West defeated the East (again) 192-182.
Now, let’s talk a few highlights from the game…
Giannis Antetokounmpo (try and pronounce that correctly) not only has the best name in the NBA but is my favorite young player to watch. The “Greek Freak” put on quite the show in his first all-star game appearance. At one point, after getting a steal on defense (yes, it does happen), Giannis came down on the offensive end to throw down a huge dunk. Sure, there were like 345,352 dunks in the game but this one was great because reigning MVP Steph Curry laid down on the ground to avoid being posterized by Antetokounmpo. Mission accomplished, for the moment, as later the “Greek Freak” outjumped Curry for an offensive rebound and put the “babyfaced assassin” on a poster anyways.
In a well-documented move, Kevin Durant joined the Golden State Warriors this past offseason. This created a villain out of Durant as Golden State was the team that bumped the Thunder from the playoffs last year. KD aka “Cupcake” did not reach out to Russell Westbrook about the situation, creating a sort of riff between the two (also well documented to the point of nausea). Well, playing on the same all-star team, they were on the court together for a brief time. In that brief time, KD threw a lob to Russ for a dunk. When the team hit the bench for a timeout, the entire Western squad razzed “Cupcake” about it. I may just be feeding into the crowd here but, who cares? Russ made it clear in the post-game interview sessions that he did not. Atta boy Russ!
Oh yeah, who could forget…Among all the records broken this year was my favorite one of all. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans (where the game was played) scored an astonishing 52 points on Sunday night, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s previous record of 42 points back at the 1962 All-Star game. That was the same year that Wilt the Stilt supposedly recorded the only 100-point game in NBA history. Your turn AD and congratulations!
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