NBA All Star Weekend Recap
The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend was certainly an interesting one. Perhaps not the best-timed, but still something for fans to get into on a cold, February weekend.
With this NBA season already shortened, it just feels like the weekend extravaganza was a bit rushed. Good things did come out of it though, with some rule changes, revamped activities, and some spectacular plays.
The winner of the slam dunk contest, for one, was decided entirely by fans, via text message, in a presumed effort by the NBA to make the contest more fan-friendly.
Now, all-star events for all the four major sports are designed to be for the fans, but I can honestly say that this feels like the sport where fans are appreciated the most. And the fans picked Utah Jazz forward Chris Evans as their winner, rightfully so.
His two-handed dunk was all over highlight reels of the weekend. When I watch the slam dunk contest now, I always think, “what else can they possibly do?” I can admit that that particular showing was a pleasant surprise; it certainly was better than when Blake Griffin “jumped the shark” last year and actually jumped over a car. Actually, jumping over a shark tank might not be a bad idea for next year’s competition…
The other big change was the rookie/sophomore competition getting a completely new twist. Newly dubbed the “Rising Stars Challenge,” it was truly refreshing seeing both first and second year players playing on the same teams, which were drafted by none other than Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley.
It was actually very fitting to have these two former stars lead the teams, especially Shaq, as I remember his rise to fame from the Orlando Magic back in the 90’s. And here we are again, seeing new players from a new era give the nation a glimpse of what the future holds.
The actual All-Star Game itself was more like a second run-through of the slam dunk contest. The game was directly preceded by Dwight Howard going to center court and addressing the hometown fans in Orlando. It all felt kind of staged, however.
Though Howard has been quiet this past weekend about trade rumors and where he wants to go, addressing the fans just seemed too forced for someone who has made it clear he no longer wants to be in Orlando. Luckily, Howard couldn’t put a damper on the night’s event, and the game turned out to be pretty entertaining.
Seeing Blake Griffin shoot three-pointers from the corner was pretty hilarious, and it was great seeing Derrick Rose and Luol Deng on the floor representing Chicago. It was a shame the two didn’t get as much playing time, but that much was to be expected for Rose. Deng should’ve seen more action though, as he is truly one of the league’s sleepers and someone the average NBA fan needs to be exposed to.
The West dominated most of the show, with Kobe Bryant breaking Michael Jordan’s record of most career All Star Game points. However, the East made things interesting and came back to within one after trailing by more than 20 points earlier in the second half, but still ended up losing 152-149.
With the events coming to an end, the Bulls return to action Tuesday against the New Orleans Hornets. But of course, a lot of us fans are just wishing the playoffs would get underway already. Thankfully, with this sort of “halfway” point of the season finished, the second half of the season will most assuredly go by quickly.
This is a guest post by Nick LaBanca from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Nick LaBanca is a Columbia College graduate who grew up in Chicago and is an avid Chicago Bulls and White Sox fan. Wanna read more from Nick? Click here.
Photo Source NBA.com