Sunday, February 19, 2017

NBA All-Star Weekend 2k17: NOLA

NBA All-Star Weekend 2017 commences yet again in the cultured city of New Orleans, Louisiana at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. It would've been cool for it to be in Charlotte, NC, but as we all know, there was a lot of political conflict surrounding that option, so here now we're in NOLA for the third time in NBA All-Star history.

Photo cred: Ronald Martinez-Getty Images via Yardbarker

NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

The first event of NBA All-Star weekend begins with the celebrity game on Friday night. Initially, I was hype about the celebrity game just to see partners in crime, Michael Smith (West) and Jemele Hill (Each), coach against each other and watch the Cassidy Hubbarth interviews. I was absolutely loving The Roots' opening performance, as well as that of the local house band, Lil Glenn and Backatown, that performed throughout.

Photo cred: Mark Seliger-NBC via Billboard
The line-up was as random as expected, but there were only a few celebrities I anticipated watching, such as Romeo Miller and his dad, Master P.  I find it a tad disrespectful that they add WNBA stars to this mix, considering how this game is never too serious and these women are actually ballers/athletes, but I digress. Overall, the game 

I enjoyed the mannequin challenge that commenced the 3rd quarter, although Michelle Beadle was being a hater. I thought it was cute.

State Farm All-Star Saturday Night

My favorite part about Saturday night was the 3-point contest. The collective reactions from the panel and the crowd were priceless, especially those of Dominique Wilkins and James Harden. All participants made it fun to watch. Numbers don't lie and Eric Gordon, making 4/5 on the money ball rack, walks away with the win.

Photo cred.: Nathaniel S. Butler-Getty Images. Bleacher Report
On the other hand, I wasn't a huge fan of the dunk contest this year and actually fell asleep on it. From the highlight reel, however, I could see that GRIII of the Indiana Pacers definitely came to show what he was capable of. I think everyone expected for Aaron Gordon to dominate the dunk contest for a second year in a row, but unfortunately the themes and props outshined the execution aspect. This year, Robinson's victory was inevitable and certainly well deserved. 

image source. via Sporting News
A $10k per 3-point shot pressure was placed on for Kyrie, Kemba, and Gordon with the newly implemented Sager Shoot-out in honor of Craig Sager, which was dedicated to raising money for the Sager Strong Foundation. Then Reggie Miller comes on the hardwood to join and recruits James Harden, Demar DeRozan, and Candace Parker, and a host of celebrities to participate. Unlike everyone else, Steph Curry was challenged to complete shots from half court and was unsuccessful. An emotional finale moment was Shaq lifting Craig Sager's son, Ryan, in the air, bringing the overall donation to the $500,000 mark they were shooting for. Maybe, Steph's missed shots were intentional, just so we could experience this moment: 

image source via. SLAMonline

Then the show we've all been waiting for: Durant and Westbrook's Sunday Night reunion, which started off explosive and unexpected for a lot of people.  Their chemistry kicked in immediately and the muscle memory started working. How could you not love them...together, no less!? Team West's reaction to their alley-oop confirmed that everyone gets it. To be quite honest, I couldn't help but hope there will be a trade meeting taking place sooner than later. It doesn't get much better than KD and Brodie.
On the east side, Steph Curry, Lebron James, and the previously underrated Giannis Antetokounmpo did a really good job and DeRozan gave us all the dunks we missed Saturday Night. Ultimately, West wins 192-182 and Anthony Davis claims the NBA All-Star MVP title. 

The official Twitter accoung for #NBAAllStar tweeted out shortly after the game that all-star weekend 2018 will be held in Los Angeles for the fourth time.

In conclusion, the game was the best part about the entire weekend, as expected. Obviously, it warmed my soul to see Durant and Westbrook play together again. I loved the fire that came along with the fun and every player made the experience worthwhile.

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