NBA All Star Weekend …………….It’s Here And In Texas ……..
Well the ‘NBA All Star Weekend’ is almost us upon and the ‘teams’ riding high in the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NBA can take somewhat of a rest. And for the game’s major stars such as Kobe Bryant, who has been riding a wave of niggling injuries. This ought to provide him with some time to rest and recuperate before resuming the remainder of the regular season. The troubling aspect of this all , is that without him the Los Angeles Lakers become somewhat of a pedantic and lackluster team . And with both Bryant and teammate Andrew Bynum said to be on the trainer’s table with worrisome injuries. It makes you wonder who on this Lakers’ team is actually capable of stepping up to the plate , should the unthinkable happen ?
And with the NBA’s mid-season gala event being held at the Dallas Cowboys’ Cowboys’ (Texas) Stadium in Arlington , Texas. It begs the question, is this Jerry Jones’ way of making it up to the Cowboys’ fans after his venerable Cowboys team’s lackluster postseason display ? Either that or he had to beg NBA Commissioner David Stern for the chance to ingratiate himself amongst the NBA fraternity and its fans. That asides both of these publicity hungry hounds in Jones and Stern will do their utmost to make sure that event goes off without any serious flaws. Personally , I’d rather have seen the event staged at an NBA venue , rather than at the Cowboys’ ostentatious edifice. Never-mind the fact that at the cost of $1.65 billion to be built , Jones has to find a way for the venue to be cost effective and pay for itself. Now one or two more questions I’d like to pose . How much is the staging of the event costing the NBA hierarchy ? And was the venue offered free of charge to the NBA for its mid-season showcase event ? Because Jerry Jones doesn’t strike me as the type of guy who does anything for free !
With the ongoing saga of an underachieving team , it’s not as if the Cowboys can be seriously considered to be a contender within the NFL . Besides, the team has to first find a backbone and then wipe away the yellow streak that’s across its back and literally a mile wide ! I know that the ‘paeans’ within ESPN whose craving for the Cowboys , is literally almost disturbing as their ‘near homo-erotic’ love-fest bestowed upon Brett Favre . That one could surmise that having Cowboys’ Stadium filled with 40,000 rabid NBA fans is a lot better than having the stadium sitting idle for a few week until its next staged event. It’s not as if the Cowboys’ or their fans , will be getting the chance to stage a post-season game there anytime soon ? Having won their division , the NFC East , they shot ‘their wad’ much like a guy with ‘ED’ (erectile dysfunction) and also suffering from ‘premature ejaculation’. And needless to say, that the ’34-3′ shellacking that they suffered at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings brought a great deal of joy to the ‘Cowboy haters’, myself included !
It has often been said that the NBA All Star Game and its surrounding festivities , is by far the best of the All Star Games , with regard to the four major sports. As to the veracity of that argument . I think it would become a bone of contention between the fans of the four major sports, hockey (NHL) , football (NFL) , baseball (MLB) and the very game of basketball under the auspices of the NBA . I think it’s pretty much safe to say that baseball’s All Star game creates more excitement than the other three sports combined. It’s more competitive than that of hockey’s main midseason showcase. Albeit, that Bud Selig’s edict of the winning league being given homefield advantage throughout the entire postseason , just merely adds that extra bit of spice to it all. But more so, over the three fun packed days of their extravaganza , the fans are more appreciated by the players and given every access to them. Not necessarily the case with the NBA , where for the players on hand it merely becomes one big party. As to the NFL’s Pro Bowl Game , well there’s about as much interest in that game, as there would be in the National Spelling Bee ! Hockey as such, basically brings up the rear , as it does with everything else nowadays, in terms of its overall relevancy on the sporting landscape. And the game’s hierarchy along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman are still struggling to bring it back to any semblance of decency. And that’s in spite of having two of the game’s biggest stars in, Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin create a much needed rivalry within the sport.
Former NBA star Alonzo Mourning is seen here alongside Lakers’ legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and his wife Cookie Johnson at a charity event (Zo and Magic’s 8 ball challenge) staged by both players at Centennial Hall at Fair Park in Dallas Texas. photo appears courtesy of NBAE/Getty Images/ Gary Dineen…….
Courtesy of NBA.com
Dallas, Feb. 11, 2010 — Dallas Mavericks guard Jason Kidd and New York Knicks forward David Lee have been named by NBA Commissioner David Stern to replace injured West All-Star guard Kobe Bryant (ankle) of the Los Angeles Lakers and East All-Star guard Allen Iverson (personal reasons) of the Philadelphia 76ers, respectively, in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas.
Kidd, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time All-NBA First Team selection, will be making his 10th NBA All-Star Game appearance. Lee, in his fifth NBA season, has recorded 30 double-doubles on the season for the Knicks and will be making his first NBA All-Star appearance.
West All-Star head coach George Karl and East All-Star head coach Stan Van Gundy will determine which players will replace Bryant and Iverson in the starting lineup.
The NBA All-Star Game will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages worldwide at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 14.
The festivities surrounding this NBA All Star Game will no doubt be very lavish and ostentatious , given the fact of the venue and the league’s and Jerry Jones’ willingness to publicize the event and make it like no other. And that includes its predecessors and no doubt future All Star events. Such has been the hype behind this all. That it’s easy to forget that a number of the game’s biggest stars won’t be competing at all due to injury. As alluded to earlier , Kobe Bryant will not be participating in the game itself. And neither will Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers . To my mind , even placing Iverson on the Eastern Conference ballot and the actual idiocy of having him voted in, on the starting roster , goes to show the lack of integrity and knowledge behind the NBA’s system. Iverson hasn’t played or contributed much to his team this season. And one has to now wonder why it is, that he’s still playing ? If he were a race horse, he’d have been euthanized long ago, such has been the extent of his prolonged rehabilitation from recurring injuries.
The game itself won’t be the only event taking place throughout the weekend’s festivities . There’ll also be the ‘Slam Dunk Contest’ with all the athleticism and excitement one would come to expect that specific competition to elicit. There’s also the ‘Rookies vs Sophomores’ of the NBA in a pre-highlight game , the 3 point shooting competition, as well as the H.O.R.S.E Skills’ Competition. And with the NBA having taken an almighty ‘PR hit’ with the ” Gilbert Arenas, Javaris Crittenton fiasco”. The NBA hierarchy are hoping that all of the weekend’s events go off without any perception of trouble or with any of the game’s stars being involved in anything untoward. With faltering attendance at the majority of NBA games throughout much of the season so far. It has to be said NBA Commissioner David Stern needs all the publicity that can be had from the event to be seen in a positive light. Anything short of that and they might as well hold next year’s event in outer Mongolia , for all that it’d be worth.
As for the piece-de-resistance the game itself will be replete many of today’s biggest stars in the NBA. Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the three day weekend will be the none appearance of LeBron James in the ‘Slam Dunk Contest’. All of the posturing to be had and that took place with him last season, at the event. Wherein , front and center he initiated and intimated that he would be a willing participant in the 2010 event. Suffice to say , that there’s about as much chance of him competing in the event, as there is of Brett Favre emphatically announcing his immediate retirement from the NFL. Much like Favre is eager to seek the empathy of the fans, so too is LeBron James. He says and does all the right things as merely a PR image gimmick. But when it simply boils down to it , he’s no different from any self absorbed athlete looking to make sure that his image remains pristine in the public eye. As to whether or not he’ll come up with an excuse as to his none appearance in the event. It remains to be seen what stance he will take.
With both conference starting rosters affixed , the respective coaches will be George Karl for the Western Conference and Stan Van Gundy for the Eastern Conference. No doubt a great deal of fun will be had between the players of the respective conferences as they look to usurp each others’ bragging rights as the outcome of the game ? And with the likes of Jason Kidd , Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash , Tim Duncan and Amar’e Stoudemire on the West’s roster , looking ‘stare down’ and ‘beat’ LeBron James, Dwight Howard , Chris Bosh , Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo from the East. In all likelihood this game will be more about fun than that of one having a competitive edge and feel to it. After-all the league and its hierarchy uses this event more as a publicity image expose’ , it’s than meant to be meaningful, in terms of being a competitive match-up. As it’s merely affording the fans a chance to get to see the stars that they’ve become aligned to , up close and personal. The trouble is, as what expense to their own personal pockets ? Prices for many of the ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ NBA events being staged, aren’t exactly cheap. And even though there are said to be a number of ‘free events’ that allows full access to the fans in order to meet and greet the NBA stars as well as a number of ‘Hollywood stars’ and entertainers on hand. The chances are, admission prices for a number of the premiere events will be beyond the affordability of ‘most’ of the NBA fans in attendance.
Though for myself , it may well prove to be a last minute decision as to whether or not I’ll be watching the game. I for one just hope that it’ll be a meaningful and entertaining event for the fans watching on television as well as for those in attendance at the game. This may well prove to be a one off staging of the event at such a venue. But if it should to be an outright success then it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the decision were made to stage the event in other domed NFL stages across the country over the next few years. As we’re told …..change is good but in reality how much change is really for the better ? The NBA continuously looks for ways to re-invent itself and its image , in order to remain fan friendly but even more so , to appease their corporate partners. Without them, Stern and the NBA hierarchy knows that they wouldn’t be able survive or make the sort of money that they’ve now been making and will continue to make , ever since he took over the reins as the NBA Commissioner. The NBA’s profitability, much like the commissioner’s authority over the last 25 years (length of Stern’s tenure to date) has never come into question under David Stern and it never will !
NBA All Star Game starting rosters click here to view the participants for both the Eastern and Western Conference.
Alan Parkins aka tophatal
Snap gives it to you straight up ‘outta the box’ with…………. ‘ I Got The Power ‘