The State of the NBA and All Star Weekend
First off, the NBA needs to do something about its “All Star Weekend”. It seems like the NBA is going in the right direction. I may have a jaded opinion of the NBA because I grew up in the 80′s and 90′s when the NBA was at its peak with Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and many many more. For a while, after the “Jordan era”, the NBA was just plain garbage. Sure, there were fantastic talents but the competition just wasn’t there.
Over the past few years with the emergence of LeBron James and Kobe Bryant still playing as if he’s right in the middle of his prime, the NBA is starting to get back to those classic matchups that occurred in the 80′s and 90′s. People complain that all the talent is going to just a few teams and it’s making smaller teams irrelevant. Sorry Milwaukee Bucks, but you ARE irrelevant and whether Dwight Howard plays for the Magic or the Lakers, you will continue to be irrelevant. But you look at the NBA now and there are numerous teams that can make serious playoff runs. You’ve got the Heat, the Bulls, the Magic and now thanks to LIN-SANITY, the Knicks all looking good in the East. And in the West you’ve got the Lakers, the Spurs, the Mavericks, the Thunder and the Clippers all capable of walking away with the Western Conference hardware.
There are so many teams that are contenders now that just weren’t a few years ago. With Blake Griffin and Chris Paul the Clippers are HOT right now, the Knicks are on the rise and if Jeremy Lin continues on the meteoric rise that he’s on the sky’s the limit. I haven’t even mentioned Kevin Durant yet but holy shit, that kid could leave Kobe AND LeBron in the dust when all is said and done. So I have to say, for the first time in a long time, I’m actually excited about the NBA.
All of that being said, the events leading up to the NBA All Star Game were un-fucking-watchable. The “Skills” competition where players go through the lamest obstacle course I’ve ever seen needs an immediate makeover. Nobody cares whose got more accurate bounce passes, or who can dribble through cones the fastest. Not to mention these players just don’t give a fuck about being there so they’re just half-assing through the course with their only goal being to not trip.
Then you’ve got the 3 point competition. Snooze. Cool, we get to watch a bunch of people shoot a bunch of 3 pointers. This event is only as good as the competition competing in it. We want to see the best shooters in the NBA competing in this type of event but right now it just doesn’t exist. You’ve got players like Ray Allen who are great shooters but you just don’t have what you used to, players like Larry Bird or Reggie Miller who are known for their stroke. That’s what we need to make the 3 point competition relevant again, and until we get those types of players it’s not going to matter.
Slam Dunk Contest – Holy fucking shit this was so terrible I couldn’t even watch it. First of all, you’ve got 4 players I’ve never even heard of competing. This is the single biggest disappointment in “All Star Weekend”. The Slam Dunk Contest used to be HUGE!!! Remember Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins or Clyde the Glide back in the day? Jordan, who by all accounts is the greatest player to put on high-tops competed in the Slam Dunk Contest and now we can’t even get ONE All Star caliber player to show up? This has the potential to be an AMAZING event, but until we get LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, and all the other high flyers in the NBA to compete, we’re going to get what we got on Saturday. Nothing.
Onto the game itself. After a series of terrible events leading up to the game I just wasn’t that stoked about it. Through the first few quarters it was pretty cool, there were a lot of amazing dunks and ridiculous plays you don’t get to see on a nightly basis. But then, competitve mode kicks in. The final minutes of the game were truly fantastic. Watching the best players on Earth play the game with an intensity and a competitive fire was remarkable. Here you have first-ballot Hall of Famers who are doing everything they can do to win an EXHIBITION MATCH! Though the East fell flat, the game came down to the final seconds with both teams having a chance to win. I have to say, this was a GREAT fucking game and I found myself watching the final seconds as if it were a playoff game with all the excitement that was going on.
Shitty events aside, I’m impressed NBA. Your’e going in the right direction, now you just need to keep going and not look back.
What do you think about what’s going on in the NBA? Do you disagree with me? Tell us what you think in the comments below!