The All-Star weekend has come and gone in a flash, and I’m sitting here struggling to recall why I was so excited about it in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, well at least parts of it. But I can’t help but feel the whole thing is a bit meaningless…. On then, to my highs and lows of All-Star weekend.
- The Foxtel coverage was shithouse. For any non-Australians reading this blog, Foxtel is the cable-TV network that gives us the ESPN channel, which is actually a butchered Pacific-Rim version of American ESPN that overdubs the commentating with two idiots (JWill has already had his rant in the forum about this), often cuts out the sound completely, and sometimes plays the footage in fast-forward or rewind. During the Rookie-Sophomore game there was actually a five minute period where we cut back from an add break to see black-and-white highlights of the game, with no sound, which then cut to a street scene in New Orleans that looked like a homeless guy had just stolen their camera and was filming Bourbon signs. This was intertwined with flashes of a multi-colored picture that looked like the satellite signal had died (along with my patience). After the next add break we cut to vision of the half-time entertainment while Charles, Kenny and E.J were talking crap because they didn’t know they were LIVE ON THE AIR! I’m not sure if this is ESPNs fault or a result of the Pacific-Rim Butcher. If you recorded this game, go and listen to it again and you can hear Charles, just handed a beverage, asking “What is this? Diet Light?… They still make this stuff?!” It was unfortunately the highlight of my day.
- The Skills Challenge gave me a chance to do something I’ve enjoyed of late, and that is laughing at Dwyane Wade. I don’t think its possible to complete that little obstacle course in a more embarrasing, retarded fashion than D-Wade did in his first attempt. He lost a handle on the ball while dribbling (maybe he was playing for a foul?), he couldn’t make a pass to save his life, and he made layups look more difficult than Kwame Brown (which was previously believed to be impossible). I don’t know what’s more impressive; the fact that Wade managed to fittingly encapsulate the Miami Heat’s failed season in 53.9 seconds, or the apparent breakthrough that scientists succesfully transplanted the brain of Anderson Varejao into Dwyane Wade’s head without anyone noticing.
- The phrase “the dunk contest is back!!” is losing as much appeal as the dunk contest itself because they’ve been saying it every year for about four years. They said it when Josh Smith did the Dominique dunk, when Amare & Nash did their soccer-header dunk, when Iggy came from behind the backboard, and when Nate jumped over Spud. I won’t lie, I actually enjoyed the theatre of this year’s dunk contest and would have probably enjoyed it more if Gerald Green knew how to smile. But like others have said (including Dr J), I think it’s slightly unfortunate that the dunk contest winner is now the person who pulls off the dunk with the most novelty-value, rather than being judged for pure dunking ability. Dwight was awesome though. He did a couple of dunks that no one has ever seen and that no one will ever repeat. I think if Green had pulled something a little different with his bare-foot dunk he might have won it, but c’mon Gerald, a between-the-legs dunk with no shoes on? We’ve seen that like a million times. Boring.
- I haven’t watched the entire All-Star game yet because I had to go to work today (I know, ridiculous!). But I watched the last ten minutes and saw the highlight reel on nba.com. Was nice to get a close All-Star game for once, but you still can’t help but feel none of the players cared. Which brings me to my suggestion of how to make the All-Star game matter again. Someone needs to get hurt. Seriously. I’m thinking Dermie back in the ‘89 Grand Final. You send out Lebron James to line up Carmelo after the opening tip. Melo gets a cracked rib, his West teammates fire up, Iverson threatens to shoot some one, and it’s game on! None of this pottering around laughing at your opposition when they throw up silly alley oops that don’t go in. You wouldn’t see that. You would see guys taking charges, making hard fouls, taking cheap shots and talking nasty. It would be like a whole bunch of Raja Bell’s and Bruce Bowen’s running around, except with talent. The All-Star game needs to matter again, cos right now I don’t think it does. Lots of good, sensible suggestions have been thrown around, like giving the winning conference home-advantage come Finals time. But I think my idea of getting Lebron to steamroll the West small-forward is by far the most sensible, and logical idea to date.
I think I enjoyed All-Star weekend. And while I may be struggling to remember why I was so excited about it one week ago, at least I can be happy knowing one thing: The dunk contest is back!