So, All-Star Saturday night — one of my favorite nights — wasn’t that great. The three point contest never saw a guy get insanely hot and the dunk contest was filled with too many props — human or otherwise — for my liking.
I’ve always thought the key to a really good dunk contest is really simple: get some insanely athletic guys doing really clean, highlight level dunks on their first try. That’s what Jordan/Nique did, it’s what Vince Carter did, and it’s what LaVine and Gordon did last year. This year had some of that with Robinson and Jones showing off their amazing athleticism, but I think it also speaks to their relative obscurity as players that even this wasn’t enough. Oh well. Maybe next year.
Regarding tonight’s showcase game, I’m always excited about seeing the best players in the world share the floor though I must admit some of my enthusiasm is muted. This has nothing to do with the players who are there, but more the fact that this is the first year in basically 20 seasons where we haven’t gotten one of the Kobe, KG, Duncan, or Dirk foursome. This changing over of eras is good for the league, but not for my nostalgia.
Missing Kobe is especially meaningful for Lakers fans since this leaves the organization without a representative — even if only in name due to injury — in the big game completely since before Shaq came. Sure, it was nice to see Nick Young shoot in the three point contest and nice enough to have Russell and Ingram play in the Rising Stars game, but to not have any stake in this game stings a bit.
None of this will stop me from watching, though. I am a basketball fan first and foremost. The Lakers — namely Chick Hearn and Magic Johnson — facilitated my love of the game and inspired my rooting interests, but there’s a reason I’m a League Pass subscriber and not just a Lakers’ watcher. The game, this league, means something to me. And if there’s not a Laker playing, I’ll just watch these other guys.
So, yeah, I want to see the drama (whether real or not) between Westbrook and Durant. I want to see the four Warriors and Russ lineup. I want to see LeBron. I want to see a lineup with Marc Gasol and DeAndre Jordan. I want to see a lineup with Wall, Lowry, and Thomas. And then, in the last 5 minutes I want a close game and see who the coaches of each conference play down the stretch and the best players in the world compete hard to try and win. Because in those moments, everyone’s instincts default to normal and that’s when I love this game most.
Enjoy the game, folks. We’ll be back at it with trade rumors and Lakers’ analysis tomorrow.