There’s a false, almost inauthentic version of “fun” that surrounds the NBA All-Star Weekend that reminds me of a work Christmas party.
They are both celebrations where casual colleagues exchange counterfeit chuckles at conveniently recorded moments, with a sort of hysterical affability from the emcees so desperate it elicits an uncomfortable pity from the spectators.
The weekend’s activities aren’t mandatory, per se, but it looks bad if you miss it to nurse a hangover in the hotel room with overpriced water and fried corn chips from the vending machine. Therefore, everyone attends, half-bleary-eyed, half-resentful and predominately eager for its conclusion so they can pop bottles of $1,200 champagne at a nightclub’s featured table (or in the case of Andrew Bynum, just make it rain).
I know all this and the parallel annoys me. The cheesiness oozes greasy waves across my television screen, yet, it’s the basketball event I most look forward to. After watching my favorite team (Boston Celtics) eat shit all year , to such a terrifying degree I’ve begun to suspect opponents have been crushing and mixing Gravol into Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett’s Gatorade bottles, a light-hearted game where I can watch my favorite and most reviled players pretend to laugh at one another’s post-whistle jokes, is the most welcome thing in the world.
So in the spirit of the most recent lax weekend, I’m going to share some random thoughts I jotted down on the back of my liquor and fast food receipts while these festivities took place.
All Star Game Highlights
- I assume winning the All Star MVP is the sports equivalent of winning Employee of the Month at a Taco Bell. You’re happy you won but you don’t like what trying so hard to get it says about you as a person.
- Kevin Durant is simultaneously the person I’d want most on my NBA team but the last one I’d pick for Rec-Plus one. He seems like the type that would freeze out the girls just to see if he could score 100.
- Just by looking at the box score, you can tell who was trying to sweat out the previous night’s bottle service (hope that Grey Goose and OJ was worth it, Chris Bosh)
- Derrick Rose listed Dancing with the Stars as his least favorite TV show on his Match.com profile.
- As exciting and historical the broadcast crew tried to make it, Kobe passing Jordan for most points scored in a 5-on-5 scrimmage didn’t strike me as anything special.
- LeBron James dominating the last several minutes before inexplicably passing up the final shot is exactly why he is the most frustrating player I’ve ever watched.
Kobe Bryant vs. Dwayne Wade
- I don’t know what happened between Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant during that 2nd quarter but I do know that having two scowling, miserly athletes dashing the fun out of every play so they can pad their point totals/prove a nebulous point in a glorified scrimmage will make next year’s game that much more enjoyable.
- Wade’s overeager defense reminded me of the guy at every house party who slams back too much Jagermeister and ends up taking a swing at some girl for scuffing his Converse.
- I don’t know whether it comes from living in a dominant market, the unhinged devotion of his fans or an amazing PR team, but doesn’t it seem like every scrape Kobe picks up is blown way out of proportion? Was he hit that hard? He got a broken nose AND a concussion from a swipe across the face? Really?
- The bright side, of course, is if Kobe continues to play poorly, the media will blame it on the concussion. If he plays well, we can look forward to two months of vignettes and talking heads discussing his warrior spirit for persevering through this “heinous attack” (not to mention his legendary pain threshold).
- Next week’s ESPN front-page story: Kobe Accidentally Bites Side of Cheek While Eating Waffles. Vows to Play Through Pain.
- Every year, someone, somewhere will toss out some ideas on how we can improve the weekend. I expect next year Bill Simmons will suggest Durant, Kobe, LeBron and Kevin Love compete to see who can best re-enact the final game in Teen Wolf. With Mark Price and Bill Wennington playing the before and after Michael J. Fox role.
- I’m disappointed with the Dunk Contest’s slow transformation into an absurd game of “Who Can Jump Over the Most Random Object or Celebrity”.
- We can stop with the insincere, public relations insistence on throwbacks and paying homage to the past. I don’t believe a 19-year-old kid from an Alabamian crop farm really cut his basketball teeth watching Michael Ray Richardson highlights.
- A halftime show featuring Pitbull aimlessly wandering in circles wearing OJ Simpson Isotoners while Chris Brown launches air kicks and groin thrusts in the camera’s general direction, is a halftime show I won’t turn off. Although for the wrong reasons.
Prediction for next year’s All-star weekend: Sundiata Gaines beats Demar DeRozan in the dunk finals by jumping over an ironing board. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.