I, like Randy Moss, JaMarcus Russell and many others before me, understand what it feels like to be misunderstood. Verbally abusive friends, family members and total strangers have mocked me, judged me, and consistently suggested that I permanently go away; that I’m a shadow of my former self. Does it hurt? Every second of every day. But it hasn’t killed me, not yet at least, and according to Kelly Clarkson that means that I’ve gotten stronger, strong enough to proudly stand behind the most misunderstood event on the sporting calendar: NBA All-Star Weekend.
Hating on NBA All-Star Weekend is like wearing skinny jeans: I have no idea why it’s fashionable, and now even the hip urban people do it. I mean, honestly, what’s not to love? It’s non-stop excitement, fun for the whole family. It’s the one thing Dwight Howard is absolutely positive that he wants to do every year. It will be a long time before I forget the performance that Team Bosh put on against those other teams on Saturday night in the Sears Shooting Stars event. An NBA great, teamed with a WNBA heroine and a guy from the original NBA Jam? Sign me up twice. Chicks shooting free throws is a major turn on, and the only thing better than watching your own grandfather’s athleticism fade away forever, is watching someone else’s. It’s kind of beautiful, in a morbid circle of life kind of way. On top of it all, the event is sponsored by Sears. Sure dunk contests and actual basketball games can sell thirst quenchers and dope kicks, but what other NBA event perfectly targets the kitchen appliance and lawn care demographics? Even Allen Iverson respects that cross-over appeal.
And that event where point guards throw perfect bounce passes through hula-hoops? Amazing. That contest brings the game back to its true roots, like before they had a shot clock or allowed black people to play. I do think the hula-hoops should be lit on fire, but that spectacle is like a history lesson in every chest pass, and that’s word to Earl Lloyd.
Then of course you have the dunk contest, the most disrespected event of all. Why won’t LeBron do it, they ask. Where are the stars, they say. Well, let me remind you that it has traditionally been the contest that creates the stars, never the other way around. I haven’t actually confirmed any of this historical recollection, but I’m pretty sure people scoffed at the idea of little known Dominique Wilkins and no-named Michael “MJ” Jordan facing off in 1988. If memory serves, people actually thought Julius Erving was a licensed physician before the ’76 contest put him on the map. So yes, it may be true that you hadn’t heard of him before Saturday night, but you can be damn sure that that guy who won it will be a household name from now on. You know, that kid from the Raptors. No, not Andrea Bargnani, the one that jumps really high…
As for the game itself, it’s long been ahead of its time. Deep passes, no defense and embarrassingly high scores: its Roger Goodell’s blueprint for the modern NFL. So when people tell me that All-Star weekend is a joke, I tell them that they’re the joke. When they ask me what sort of redeeming attribute the entire event has I simply ask them if they recall Shaq dancing with the Jabbawokeez. We’re talking Shaq, in a mask, with the freakin’ Jabbawokeez. If I had to choose one memory that I could hold onto forever, it would that big ole lovable giant up on that stage with those little weirdos shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture. Classic.
On second thought, maybe they should just do away with the whole thing.
Author: Pierce Brix
Pierce Brix is a radio host from Albany, New York. In addition to a Knicks, Giants, and Mets fan, he is also the region’s foremost Kal Penn fan. Follow him on Twitter @GameOnBrixy. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.