It's all about the dunks ... or is it?
Some night, no?
Good? Or bad?
The debate rages.
Okay, the NBA dunk contest is a prop-filled, entertainment-oriented, WWE-style event that has little to do with, you know, athleticism.
And if that’s what it is, that’s what it is but some of us old grumpy codgers aren’t all that thrilled with it.
Yes, jumping over the hood of a small car is no mean feat and the choir was cool and the building was excited for one of the few times of the night.
But I’m going to say this with all due respect to Blake Griffin, who is an ascendant star and an exciting player and the flavour of the month.
I would surmise there are 20, maybe 25 guys in the NBA who can jump over the hood of small car and dunk; I don’t imagine there are five who can take off from the free throw line and dunk like Serge Ibaka did.
And I know DeMar missed a few attempts at the first dunk but taking the ball off the side/back of the board, going between the legs and dunking is hugely impressive and I think he was probably ripped off on his scores for his second dunk and should have made the final.
To me, the four most impressive dunks of the night were:
The two DeRozan did.
Ibaka’s flight from the free throw line.
Griffin hanging on the rim by the elbow after tossing himself a pass.
The other stuff was entertaining, no doubt about it, but was it really good? I wonder.
There is no doubt Griffin and McGee energized the night and created a buzz around the dunk contest that hasn’t been there for years with their use of a car, and a second basket and the little kid’s stuffed animal that Ibaka used was kind of cute.
But is it good long-term? What’s next? They joked about planes and trucks and some prop not thought of yet but, really, what could be next?
Yes, Saturday was in some ways a high-water mark in dunk contest history.
To some, it was a low-water mark just as much.
So, according to one of those tweety thingies, Reggie Evans is a dad again.
Guess the little fella finally got too bored.
I have a pretty good seat for the festivities at the Staples Center, first row on the baseline, and it affords a good view of the various big shots hanging around.
Saw lots of things Saturday like Spike Lee in a conversation with Kevin Love, Shaq wandering around talking to anyone he’d see, more unidentifiable hip hop and rap stars than I could possibly count and a whole bunch of Hollywood types I’d probably care about if I knew who they were.
But nothing was quite as interesting as a five-minute conversation that unfolded about 10 feet away.
That’d be the one between David Robinson and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, a former pro in Australia who played in Friday’s celebrity game.
Robinson built a school in San Antonio and kids’ education is one of his biggest causes and I can imagine, while a whole bunch of other people were hugging and shaking hands and making plans for the night, those two might have been getting some stuff done.
Know what I’d like to see?
Them turn the Punt, Pass and Kick contest – wait, the Skills Contest – into a race between big men and not point guards.
I’d love to see Shaq, or Duncan, or Dwight Howard or Tim Duncan or someone like that make layups, dribble around pylons and make passes.
That’d be cool.
Okay, say what you will about the car and the props and the rest of the dunk contest shenanigans but I will make this point:
Everything is better when there’s a gospel choir involved.
Well, the wireless worked just fine courtside on Saturday night so we’ll try an In-Game Blog Thingy tonight if you like.
Game’s at 8 – well, the show’s at 8, the game will start after 8:30 I understand – and it’s going to be a long one but if you want, we’ll be in our usual place.
One more thing on the dunk contest:
If they keep the same scoring system, and I’m not sure they should, they need to penalize guys who miss dunks. Or reward guys who get their stuff done on the first try.
After all, it’s supposed to be about making them, right?
Amir Johnson, walking out of the arena at the end of the night:
“We should have brought a giraffe or something.”
What to make of the labour stuff?
Well, I guess the good thing is that David Stern didn’t throw a stinkbomb into the issue when he met with us for 45 minutes or so before Saturday’s stuff.
He wasn’t exactly conciliatory but he wasn’t threatening or bombastic or defiant, which is good.
The feeling I get from people I talk to is that things actually will start now, nothing at all has been accomplished in the year or so they’ve been chattering and making doom and gloom pronouncements.
Stern didn’t exactly draw back from his contention that the teams lost a collective $300 million last year but he did say it’s not about the numbers now, it’s about the process of reaching an agreement.
Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher were really good talking about it Friday, giving rise to hopes that maybe saner heads will eventually prevail.
But know this: They are nowhere close to a deal and what I think happens is there might be a lockout in July, which is no big deal since nothing really goes on at that time of year, but they won’t lose any games next fall.
I have no idea what a new deal will look like – the big topic of the moment is having some kind of “franchise” tag applied to a player to assure he can’t leave – but it will be quite different from the system that’s currently in place.
If there was one interesting quote from Stern, it’s one that shows they actually do know the damage they might cause to innocent employees around the league if there is a work stoppage.
“What we have learned, and what the union has learned, is that we both have the capacity to shut down the league; that there’s no magic that’s going to keep this league operating if we don’t make a deal. That’s a very instructive lesson."
Just heard a guy on TV say he thought the deal would get done if the Knicks throw in Justin Bieber.
Makes as much sense as anything, I guess.
And, finally, take the East tonight if you’re looking for the winner.
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