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.
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.
(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…