If you’re a fan of the NBA, surely you watched at least one event over the weekend during the 2013 NBA All Star weekend in Houston, Texas. Starting on Friday Feb. 15 and ending on Feb. 17, the events took place in Houston, which was the location for all the biggest stars in the game to come together, take a break from the regular season, and have some fun. Unlike the NFL’s Pro Bowl, there has never been an issue with the level of competitiveness and effort brought by the players in the All Star game.
However, if there was one issue in the All Star weekend that has been ongoing for quite some time, it would have to be the dunk contest. Ever since the early 2000s, with dunkers like Vince Carter, the level of star power in the dunk contest began to decline. People have called for the NBA to get rid of the dunk contest completely if no stars will participate. In the last few years, the dunk contests have gotten less and less exciting. Maybe it’s the lack of creativity or the lack of star power in the event, but this year’s NBA All Star Weekend was particularly one of the most boring ones that I can remember. Here’s a recap of the events:
Friday, Feb. 15 – Friday night kicked off the start of the All Star weekend with the annual Celebrity game, which started back in 2004. The celebrity game is just a fun exhibition game between celebrities who are coached by current NBA players. This year’s game featured a mix of actors, musicians, rappers and other NBA legends and celebrities. Stars like Usain Bolt, Trey Songz, Dikembe Mutombo and Maya Moore all played a ten-minute four-quarter game with the West (captained by James Harden), winning it 58-38. Kevin Hart, the actor/comedian, took home the game’s MVP for the second year in a row.
Following the celebrity game, the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge took place, which featured the best rookie and sophomores from the 1st half of the NBA season competing with and against each other. The format has changed over the years going from the “Rookie Game” in 1995-1999, to the “Rookie Challenge” in 2000-2011 and now the “Rising Stars Challenge.” The first few years featured strictly rookies only, but has since incorporated rookies and sophomores in the league. This year’s winner of the Rising Stars Challenge was the Team Chuck (Charles Barkley’s team he drafted), whose team featured stars such Anthony Davis, Ricky Rubio and Kenneth Faried, who won the game’s MVP award. Final score was Team Chuck 163 Team Shaq 135.
Saturday, Feb. 16 – Saturday night of the All Star weekend was filled with tons of fun events to spectate. First we have the shooting stars competition, which puts a current NBA player, WNBA player and former NBA player together on one team as they try and set the fastest time in the event that requires shooting from various spots on the floor which eventually ends with a half court shot. This year’s teams featured Team Bosh (Chris Bosh, Swin Cash and Dominique Wilkins) and Team Westbrook (Russell Westbrook, Robert Horry and Maya Moore) in the finals with Team Bosh eventually winning.
Next event was the Skills Competition with various point guards showing off their dribbling, passing and shooting skills to see who can complete the course the fastest. Some of the competitors were competing for the first time like Jeremy Lin, Damian Lillard and Jeff Teague and some were returning, like Tony Parker. Damian Lillard came out on top with a near flawless final round.
The third event of Saturday night was the three-point shootout event. The sharpshooters in this event were Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Matt Bonner, Steve Novak and Ryan Anderson. These shooters compete to see who can make the most three point shots from around the arc in the allotted time and the final round came down between Irving and Bonner with Kyrie Irving claiming the title.
The last event and the most over hyped event of all-star weekend in recent years was the dunk contest. The favorite to win the contest was James White, a player on the New York Knicks but his two hands, free throw line dunk was under appreciated and so the final round was between Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans. Ross won the event while also paying homage to Vince Carter, as one of his dunks was a replica of one of Carter’s from the 2000-dunk contest. Ross also wore a vintage Carter jersey from his Raptor days.
Sunday, Feb. 17 – The last event of the weekend was the All Star game and while it seemed like it took a little while before the players got serious, in the end the West came out on top again. Winning the game for the third consecutive year, West’s final score was 143 and East 138 with Chris Paul winning the game’s MVP. He tallied up 20 points and 15 assists.
So with the end of All Star weekend, we finally get back to the regular season and look for teams to start making a push for securing a final spot for the NBA playoffs.