Ahh, the spirit of love is in the air. I’m settling in, thinking of what special meal I’m going to prepare and what lavish gifts I can expect from the one that I love. Oh, you thought I was talking about Valentine’s Day? No, it’s All-Star weekend! Some random musings on my favorite sports weekend that is now upon us.
*The action starts tonight with the Rookie/Sophmore game and the quest to determine what team can play the least amount of defense ever seen in an organized basketball game. When I take a look at the rosters of both teams, lets just say I see a decided advantage for one of the teams and think that the Sophmores will build on its seven game win streak in this showcase of young talent. That’s not to say that there won’t be some interesting matchups. I love the guard matchups that we’ll see when the combo of Westbrook/Mayo face off against Curry/Evans. I’m also anxious to see the battle of the boards between Dejuan Blair and Kevin Love. But in the end, I think that the frontline of Beasley/Love/Lopez/Gasol will dominate the inside against the rookie group of Casspi/Taj Gibson/Jerebko/Blair and that even an explosion from Brandon Jennings (and his throwback hairdo) won’t be enough to take down the more seasoned sophs.
*Another “event” to watch this evening will be the dunk off between the Clips’ Eric Gordon and the Raptor’s DeMar DeRozan as they face off to determine who will compete in Saturday Night’s big boy contest. In this one, my money is on DeRozan as he’s clearly the better athlete and would seemingly have more to offer the fans who vote on the winner. That said, don’t count out Gordon who, despite his stout frame, does have hops.
*But, tommorrow is where the real action begins. Highlighted by the 3 point shoot out and the (aforementioned) Dunk Contest this is the night that gets DVR’d just in case something special happens. And I do expect something special. Especially with this guy in the competition for all of us Lakers fans to cheer for (more on him tomorrow).
*As for the 3 point contest, though the glory days of Larry Legend calmly sinking the money ball as he holds his follow through with a #1 in the air have gone and passed, I’m still interested in who wins this crown. Is the field a bit uninspired? Would I have liked to see a couple of other guys in this competition instead? Sure. But I love to see the long ball get buried and really love the sound of the swoosh when a shot gets nothing but net. So, I’m tuning in. And my pick…Steph Curry.
*But, this weekend isn’t all about the events and the games or even the 90,000+ fans that are expected to be in attendance. This is also a weekend where the players union and owners will have their first substantive meetings about the expriring collective bargaining agreement and them laying the groundwork on establishing a new deal that both sides agree on. Kurt’s got a good take over at his new digs, and I tend to agree with what he’s saying about the owners asking for the moon. My (overall) take is that both sides know a labor agreement is tantamount to the future success of this league and if both sides drag this out or if a lockout ensues this sport will be in trouble for the long term. It’s in everyone’s best interests to find a common ground and my hope is that they will do just that. In the end, maybe a 50/50 split in basketball related income is on the horizon and with that a lowering in contract value and length. But all fans care about is the league not missing a beat and the games going on without a hitch. I know that’s all I care about.
*One last thing – have you ever been to an All-Star game? Are you going to this one (Texas reader Gr8 Scott has already said that he is)? The closest I came was me and a couple of friends venturing down to Vegas a couple of years ago on the weekend of the big event. We didn’t get tickets to the game (sadly) but we did check out the exhibits and saw our fair share of players doing it big that weekend. We also were treated to plenty of crowds on the strip and complaining cabbies about all the people causing a raucous and all the lousy tippers. Do you have a story? Let’s hear ’em in the comments (keep them somewhat family friendly, please). In the end, enjoy this weekend. We’ll get more stuff up over the next couple of days to keep the site going.