The 58th annual NBA All-Star Weekend 2009 in Phoenix has come to a close!
So let me ask, did you enjoy the festivities? I'm pretty up in the air on my thoughts towards the weekend as a whole. In fact, I actually feel cheated as a fan. The dunk contest was completely rigged by the NBA's marketing department to pair tiny Nate Robinson against the reigning champion Dwight Howard. That whole kryptonite and Superman thing was set up long ago and no matter what Rudy Fernandez or JR Smith pulled off, we were going to see David vs. Goliath.
And then the actual All-Star game MVP was obviously a PR person's dream. The chatter before, during and of course after, was all about the Shaq and Kobe reunion. So don't tell me that the "co-MVP" thing came as a surprise to you. Cheated. I feel absolutely cheated.
With that said, let's kick tushie and get right into the recap.
- The 2009 Celebrity game took place and was its usual boring self. Clyde Drexler and Dominique Wilkins headlined as former players, Magic and Dr. J took over as coaches, and clowns like Terrell Owens tried to prove that they are multi-sport athletes and entertainers. TO took home the MVP trophy after jacking up 20+ shots but won over the crowd while throwing down a couple of dunks. Bleh. (Full story here.)
- The Rookie-Sophomore Challenge followed up the celeb snoozer and was probably the most entertaining of all the All-Star weekend's contests. Kevin Durant proved once again why he was the first freshman to ever win the Player of the Year award by dropping an astounding 46 points to rally the sophomores over the rooks. He truly is something special. Oh, and our friend Greg Oden sat out with another injury...at his most comfortable spot, the end of the bench. (Full story here.)
- Friday night also included something called the Dream Factory which featured the D-League's top dunkers and 3-point gunners. Oh and they also tossed in a H-O-R-S-E competition. (Full story here.)
- The D-League All-Star game was up first! No need for a recap...just head here.
- The NBA's H-O-R-S-E competition also took place at some point with Kevin Durant taking home the honors. He bounced OJ Mayo to win the competition with a deep three from the corner. (Full story here.)
- When the major festivities got started, we were treated once again to the Haier Shooting Stars competition which I'm not sure anyone actually watched. You know what it is; the competition with a former, current and women's player that team up to shoot from marked spots on the court seeing who can gain the most points. OK, you're right...no one knows what this is. Go Bill Laimbeer! (Full story here.)
- And then a slew of top point guards laced 'em up for the Skills Challenge which can be somewhat entertaining if the guys decide to show up and take it serious. Derrick Rose took out Devin Harris in the finals by putting up a solid 35 second run and finishing it off with a monster, pump, reverse two hander. Very nice. (Full story here.)
- The 3-Point Shootout followed and left everyone sort of underwhelmed. Jason Kapono was back trying to three-peat but failed to show up after the first round getting smoked by Rashard Lewis and Daequan Cook. Cook and Lewis actually tied during their championship rounds and the winner was eventually decided through a shoot out. Cook was easily the best shooter on the night and took home the trophy. (Full story here.)
- Finally, we were left sort of bored and frustrated with the Dunk Contest. It was going to be tough for any of the competitors to live up to last year's performances, and unfortunately for everyone watching, it failed to come even close. From the beginning, you could tell people just wanted to see Dwight Howard vs. Nate Robinson in the finals. For weeks, we've been hearing about Nate and his "kryptonite" and also about Dwight bringing back the Superman cape. In fact, before all of the first round dunks were completed, Nate walked back to the locker room to change into a new outfit already knowing he'd be advancing. I will say that his final dunk over Howard was fairly impressive and he deserved to win, but the fact that Fernandez and Smith were an afterthought before the competition even got started was more than frustrating. (Full story here.)
- Finishing off the entire weekend was the actual All-Star Game! The game was somewhat entertaining until we all realized how hard Kobe Bryant was pushing to be the MVP. In the pre-game, all he could talk about was taking a back seat to the young guys like Brandon Roy, and then once the game got started, you quickly realized he was full of sh*t. As the game wore on, and Shaq became more involved, you could feel the "Shaq-Kobe reunion" cooking into something annoying. Annoying meaning...co-MVPs. They of course received the co-MVPs, we were all annoyed and then left wondering why the NBA is now rigging it's entire All-Star weekend? (Full story here.)
- LeBron announced his pre-entry into the 2010 dunk contest! Should be one for the ages...Vince Carter-esque even.
- James also threw down a ridiculous off-the-backboard dunk to end Sunday's game. Eek.
- Our boy, Brandon Roy, was solid again and even put down a nice tomahawk in the lane and an off-the-backboard oop from CP3.
- Shaq busted out into a classic pre-game routine with the Jabbawockeez. The guy is just flat out entertaining.
- Rudy's second dunk was top 3 in the dunk contest...overlooked by the fact that he missed it 100 times.
- Allen Iverson chopped off the cornrows! It's about f-ing time!
- John McCain actually showed up to an event in Arizona which featured zero of his supporters, and proving once again why we are so fortunate to NOT have him as our President.
- So many fantastic photos for you to check out at Yahoo's NBA Gallery.
- NBA.com has a ton of videos of the event as well.