NBA All-Star Saturday: Not Easy Dunking Green

It’s something of a cliche: the All-Star weekend is a celebration of sport (laced heavily with a good ol’ dose of American capitalism).  However, moreso than any other sport, the NBA can lay claim to creating an atmosphere of joy around roundball during its All-Star days.

The Pro Bowl exists as a requirement and a paid vacation to Honolulu (which makes Miami next year an interesting experiment).  For the NFL, the Super Bowl acts as the party, though the nasty business of a championship at the end of the fortnight has the feeling of cramming for a final exam, something an All-Star weekend can avoid.

Dwight Howard at the NBA All-Star weekend

Baseball’s turned their All-Star Game into a vocation, demanding that this time it counts.  Why on Mantle’s green Earth would you make it count?  Not everything has to succumb to the gravity of the moment.  For example, turning the home run competition into the Battin’ Death March by ladeling the commercials on thick.

Dikembe Mutombo at the NBA All-Star weekend

(The NHL? Still a rumor, sadly.  Give it time, though.)

Saturday night at the NBA All-Star Game distills all of the fun into one structure for one night only.  Friday’s for the kids; Sunday’s the formality.  Saturday night is where people come to be seen, especially in their green power suits, and no one seems to be affected by gravity’s weak force.

And now a little photo essay about Marv Albert, Wolf Blitzer, Dikembe Mutombo, and a certain phone booth…

First, apologies: our camera blew up after we got to the arena. The cell phone had to do, so we concentrated on celebrities moreso than game action.

Wolf Blitzer at the NBA All-Star weekend

Wolf Blitzer got there early and left late. Most people couldn’t lay claim to that honor.

Rod Thorn at the NBA All-Star weekend

Rod Thorn couldn’t find his seat. Shouldn’t he have all the arenas memorized by now?

Steve Kerr at the NBA All-Star weekend

Steve Kerr’s last weekend of bliss.

The NBA All-Star weekend

Marv Albert at the NBA All-Star weekend

Marv Albert’s got his summery piece on, which totally works for Phoenix.

VIP line at the NBA All-Star weekend

The VIP line after the contest.

Notes from the night:

  • The fans wanted Rudy Fernandez.  We got Nate and Dwight.  Very strange feeling; the fans knew the judges were lousy, but they were Phoenix guys.  That’s one way to  guard against lynch mobs.
  • Spurs hatred is strong in the desert.
  • Dwight Howard’s next planned prop: dunking on the Moon using the space shuttle.

Back tomorrow with All-Star Game coverage, hopefully with a duct-taped camera to assist…