The All-Star Saturday festivities were some of the very best in recent memory.
The high points and low points were...
...a "Best In Game Dunks" show beforehand with lots of great footage and interviews. Something that will never get old; watching Darryl "Chocolate Thunder" Dawkins rip a rim right off the backboard.
...a quartet of Rat Pack impersonators that was, mostly, pretty bad. Except for "Frank;" I don’t know who the guy was, but he did one of the best Chairman impressions I’ve ever heard.
...Penn and Teller were there! Which was odd, because my brother had mentioned earlier that day, "I bet you they’ll find a way to work Penn and Teller into the show." Penn sawed Teller in half and "found a Frenchman backstage" (Tony Parker) to be the legs.
...Dwayne Wade won the skills competition and did it only a second slower than Steve "Quickfast" Nash’s record time of twenty-five seconds. The low point of the whole weekend; Nash is sitting out due to a sore shoulder.
...Jason Kapono won the three point contest with an exemplary score of 24 and thoroughly whipped both Dirk Nowitski and my boy, "Agent Zero," Gilbert "Hibachi" Arenas.
The second best part was the dunk contest. After a few years of mostly boring competitions, the young contestants brought a little creativity back to the All-Star segment, which is good. Remember when the dunk contest was just as important as the All-Star Game itself?
The best dunks were...
...(#3) '06 winner Nate Robinson’s gravity-defying, Jordan-style dunk on his first attempt. I’m just still amazed that a guy who’s only 5'6" can do such a thing. Alas, I couldn’t find a vid of this one.
...(#2) Gerald Green’s Dee Brown tribute. A nasty dunk perfectly executed. I love Nate's reaction after Green clears his head...
...(#1) Dwight Howard’s sticker slap. When he did it in real time, it looked like just a basic (if high-flying) alley-oop-one-handed-stuff. Then, upon landing, Howard points up to the backboard. I’m thinking, "Jesus, Dwight, it wasn’t that good of a dunk," and then you see the sticker. They ran it back in slo-mo and, sure enough, when he catches the ball, at the apex of his jump, he slaps a sticker (with his face on it) about four inches from the top of the backboard. My man's got hops!
Of course, the greatest moment was the highly-anticipated footrace between long-time NBA ref Dick Bavetta and, quite possibly, the "Coolest Cat on the Planet," Charles "The Round Mound of Rebound" Barkley. I was expecting Bavetta, who puts in about five miles a day and runs up and down the court for a living, to win it. Sure, Charles was an uncommonly fast big man in his prime, but he’s put on the pounds in the last few years (as have we all).
Barkley, always a tricky opponent, is also surprisingly agile.
All-Star game tonight, bitches and bastards!