Dunking and singing and trying to jazz up a night
Well, that was entirely underwhelming, wasn’t it?
Maybe Saturday night’s better – and I can’t see how it can’t be – because a rookie-sophomore game and dunk-in is not the way to really create some buzz.
But it does create stuff like this:
You know that I’m not a real conspiracy theorist but at least this year when we’re sitting through the dunk contest there won’t be an over-riding sense that it’s, um, fixed like last year’s was.
Rudy Fernandez still got jobbed by judges a year ago who pined for – or were pointed in the direction of – a Nate Robinson-Dwight Howard final and there is no real foil for Wee Nate this year.
Which means it might be fun and it could sure use some jazzing up.
Can DeMar win?
I have no idea but he sure sounds like he wants to have some fun. Every time the thing comes up he talks about how he’s never lost a dunk contest, how he’s got some creativity in him and how he wants to entertain the crowd.
Was sort of hoping to see some of it Friday but after he made his first one and Eric Gordon pulled off a Chris Andersen imitation on his first, the thing was pretty much over.
DeMar went all boring and simple with his second, Gordon missed again and the yawns began.
Funny thing was, I was more impressed with Gordon’s attempts. They had some juice to them and at a bit higher degree of difficulty but DeMar put it pretty well after:
“You can’t miss. You just can’t.”
I have no idea what the kid’s got in mind for Saturday – he’ll enlist the aid of Sonny Weems on something he told me after Friday’s dunks – but hopefully it’s a step up from his debut.
I don’t know if it’s the Olympics or the snow or the economy or the malaise that’s sweeping our industry but it seems the numbers of chroniclers in Dallas this weekend is way down.
Take Friday’s media session with the all-stars.
It’s usually packed and you can’t get near a player you want to talk to for any length of time or for many real questions. But this time around, if to you waited with even a modicum of patience you could get what you want; I had time to chat with Chris Bosh, talked to Chauncey Billups for a while and had DeMar entirely alone at one stretch.
The thing that was most impressive? Not many people were there doing silly stuff like the year one of the representatives of the international media carried around a tiny horn he wanted to get everyone to play. Seriously.
We had one group delivering tiny Chinese New Year’s packages and asking the players to say Happy New Year in, I believe, Cantonese, but that was about it.
Was kind of refreshing, actually.
Look, I don’t know Kreesha Turner from Tina Turner and I hope young Kreesha goes on to have a long and illustrious hit-filled career as a crooner.
But, for the love all that is Canada, couldn’t someone have perhaps checked that she’d get the words to O Canada right before trotting her out at NBA all-star weekend.
It’s “in all thy sons command” and not “in all our sons command” and that’s a mistake that’s made about once in every five games I go to.
Oh, and it’s “the true north, strong and free” and not “our north strong and free.”
Sixteen months until the deadline and already I’m bored by NBA labour stuff.
Yes, it’s pretty serious; yes, there was legitimate news Friday when the two sides chatted.
Folks, it is right now posturing and simple negotiations. You throw out wild proposals knowing they’ll cause angst and you work toward some middie ground.
Friday, we had union boss Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher slamming the league’s first offer of a huge cutbacks in every imaginable economic facet from the value, length and guarantee of contracts to the share of income.
Saturday it’ll be David Stern’s turn to get on the podium for his annual state-of-the-league address and I’m pretty sure it’ll be all labour, all the time.
Nash, Gretzky, Le May Doan, Greene?
Yeah, I’m okay with that.
Shame about the cauldron malfunction, though.
I’m looking at my notes from Friday night and first page, first thing scribbled it says:
“No one’s here.”
Yeah, it was a rather underwhelming crowd – exuberant and kid-filled but underwhelming nonetheless – that greeted the start of the Rookie-Sophomore Silliness.
Place filled up pretty well through the night, although certainly not to capacity, and that’s part of the problem with this weekend: It’s one night too long.
Used to be just Saturday and Sunday and that seemed to be just fine with all concerned; crowds were big, the party atmosphere was just as good and we weren’t subjected to a night built entirely around a 40-minute game between kids who have no real desire to play.
If they insist on keeping Friday an integral part of this thing – and that genie’s not going back into the bottle – they need to jazz it up somehow.
I’m thinking something with a charity or fund-raising component and kids; maybe doing something with a local charity as part of the Day Of Service; something like the U.S. Open tennis does on its opening night.
No idea how that all comes together but something needs to change on the Friday night.
So I’m thinking, because I love ya so much (and because deadlines are such that we won’t get an awful lot of post-shenanigans stuff in Sunday’s paper) that we’ll do the regular mailbag Sunday morning and also provide this usual glut of information and entertainment.
Lucky, lucky readers.