NBA All-Star Weekend Wrap-Up: Blame LeBron Edition

The NBA’s 61st installment of it’s annual all-star game has now come and gone. The weekend in the Orlando was full of its fair share of highlights for each evening. Friday night, Kevin Hart dominated the celebrity game taking home MVP honors. One of the evenings’ highlights came when Hart threw up an alley-opp to rapper J. Cole. Hart also managed to become the first ever player to be ejected from the game. See the video after the jump.

Saturday night is supposed to be the night of nights for the NBA. In a really good all-star weekend, Saturday’s festivities become defining moments that overshadow what occurs during the game Sunday. This year did not feature many Monday morning discussions of “Did you see (insert spectacular play from Saturday night).” In fact, the water cooler probably dispensed a better product than the NBA did. There is nothing wrong, nor fixable about the undercard portions of All-Star Saturday Night.

The Three-Point Shootout brought excitement with it’s tie-breakers, and with the added bonus that the competition came down to the last rack of basketballs (Hats off to Kevin Love for winning). The Skills Challenge saw Deron Williams hand Tony Parker the crown missing four 15-foot jump shots in the final round. The Shooting Stars competition saw New York’s finest in Landry Fields, Cappie Pondexter, and Allan Houston bring back the first piece of hardware that Madison Square Garden has seen since the Knicks made it to the Finals in the ’99 Lockout Season.

In the much unanticipated dunk competition, there were some pleasant surprises. Chase Budinger channelling his inner Woody Harrelson definitely kicked off a night of originality. Eventual champion, Utah’s last minute entry, Jeremy Evans was cleared for takeoff when he skied over teammate Gordon Hayward, while managing to jam home two basketballs in one swift motion. It is up for debate, but one can argue that Indiana’s Paul George had the dunk of the evening when he was able to successfully execute a 360-degree windmill dunk…in the dark!

Overall, while this year’s dunk contest did bring theatrics and originality, it lacked star power. And in a case like this, there is only person to blame…LeBron James! Reggie Miller said it best at the end of Saturday’s dunk contested when he stated, “All the greats at one time in their career participated in the dunk contest.” Fans have been asking for LeBron to participate in the dunk contest ever since 2009 when he said that he would do it the following All-Star Weekend in Dallas, Texas. Expectedly, he backed out of his unofficial agreement.

In case it’s not already known to the casual NBA fan, superstars only do these competitions when there is significant monetary incentive. So let’s just gather a large purse for this event then. Surely, the NBA can arrange to put up the necessary amount to make the dunk contest a truly star-studded event as it was in the early 2000’s. The perfect foursome for next year’s contest in Houston should be Andre Igoudala, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Jeremy Evans. It’s only fair to give the previous years’ champion the ability to defend his crown. If you pay them, they will participate. That’s the motto. LeBron needs to finally deliver and give the people what they want.

Fast forward to the waning minutes of Sunday night’s All-Star Game, and LeBron can be blamed for the East losing. At least that is what the realm of social media would lead a person to believe. LeBron made an ill-advised pass down the stretch but he is one of the two reasons that the East made a late rally to begin with; Deron WIlliams was the other East member responsible. But LeBron did what he does best, and that is carry a team back into a game single-handedly. Had his great pass to Dywane Wade not been dropped, he would not have been labeled as the scapegoat for this game.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the NBA to showcase its best and brightest superstars. Thankfully, the weekend was not overshadowed entirely by the latest rumors of the Dwightmare.

Jimmy Lips

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