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Running diary of the 2006 NBA All-Star Game
I’m taking a page from Bill Simmons’ ESPN.com page 2 column and bringing to you a diary of my thoughts from the 2006 NBA All-Star Game. It’s the most activity I’ve seen in several days, as I’ve been stuck in bed sick.
- We’re off to a slow start as I can’t find a pencil that works. When I do these running diaries, I like to take notes on paper and transfer them to the living Interweb later. But so far, the first two mechnical pencils I’ve found are broken and the regular pencil is also broken (and I don’t own a pencil sharpener). I’m always tripping over pencils when I don’t need one. Just so you know, all the pregame notes are going to be from memory, while I watch and look for a pencil. So the accuracy of my comments might be a bit off.
- They’ve introduced a touch of class to the pregame introductions. The Houston Symphony is on the court, and before the East was introduced, they played Also Spracht Zarathustra (aka the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey). Then, the East players (lead by Shaq) did a bit of a choreographed dance before the Houston Symphony broke into some Eminem. I wonder if these musicians, having spent most of their lives practicing, toiling ove their craft to become the best classical musicians in the world, ever envisioned performing Eminem while scantily clad dancers shook in the background.
- The West got Bethoven’s 5th and Crazy Train. Yao looked really uncomfortable during the choreographed ditty. Kobe said later he was trying to get Yao to do the robot.
- Avery Johnson, one of the nicest guys I’ve met so far as a Hoop Troop member, looked really pleased to be coaching the All-Star game. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
- I’m not sure who just performed Oh, Canada, but I wasn’t impressed.
- And now for a real treat — Destiny’s Child, from Houston, reuinted to perform the national anthem. This could be the start of the biggest superstar comeback since Michael Jordan, who is probably in the building.
- (7:42) Before tipoff, Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, starters for the West and starters for the hometown Houston Rockets, gave extremely perfunctory speeches. Why are clubs having players do this? The Mavericks have done it a few times, with the lowlight being Darrell Armstrong leaving to a chorus of boos after he proclaimed, on court in Dallas, “How bout them Redskins!” Sacriledge. Neither McGrady nor Yao looked comfortable speaking. Why have them do it? They’re basketbal players, not orators.
- Just saw the Mavericks Drum Line, who were invited to perform at the All-Star gala, while the far more handsome Hoop Troop was not. I’m just saying.
- (7:50) It’s officially an All-Star Game — Shaq is showing off his fancy dribbling skills while trying to run the point. I will give this to Shaq — he’s worth a giggle in All-Star games.
- (7:51) Speaking of Shaq, he just performed his signature move — catch the ball, travel twice in the lane, and dunk it home.
- (7:52) Shaq makes a nice pass to Dwayne Wade for a bucket. Doug Collins alertly announces Shaq to Kobe. Hate to break it to you, Doug, but…
- (7:53) It’s becoming the Shaq show. He just passed the ball through Yao’s legs to Wade, who flipped it over his shoulder back to Shaq, a little high. It would have been pretty neat if he had been able to catch and dunk cleanly.
- (7:55) There is just some awful alley-oop passes going on in this game. It’s making my eyes hurt.
- This Sprite “Show Your Dunk Face” commercial is pretty funny, except that it encourages to watch the dunk contest. Hey TNT, that was yesterday.
- (8:02) Kobe tries to throw some fancy moves at Shaq, who just bear hugs him and takes a foul. They both had a smile and laughed, but you know Shaq had to really restrain himself from body-slamming Kobe into the hardwood in WWF-style. It would have made for compelling TV, if it had happened.
- All four Pistons just checked in. There’s a sight you don’t see at every All-Star game.
- (8:05) Shaq makes me laugh. He just missed a free throw intentionally off the backboard and went in for the dunk. Someone forgot to explain the rule that says you have to hit the rim on a free throw. Hmm. Maybe he didn’t miss intentionally.
- (8:06) Dirk Nowitzki is into the game! Incidentally, he won the three-point shootout the day before. Props to the big German.
- They had Tim Duncan miked up. Good stuff. First, they showed some pregame footage and audio of Duncan and Tony Parker playing one-on-one, with Duncan trash-talking after winning on a three-pointer. The look of disappointment on Parker’s face as the big man beats him on an outside jumper is priceless. They also have audio of Kevin Garnett checking into the game, Duncan walking over to him and telling him, “Hey, you’ve got Shaq. Good luck with that.” I wish players were always miked up during games, and broadcast separately on radiowaves — one of the best innovations NASCAR has going for it.
- (8:19) Collins, Kerr, and Albert give Dirk props. Unique 7-footer, first ever 7-footer to win three-point shootout, good job to Don Nelson in developing his skills. I love hearing props going to the big German.
- (8:21) Steve Nash throws a long outlet to Dirk breaking away for the reverse dunk. I love Jason Terry / Devin Harris, but boy do I ever miss you, Steve Nash.
- (8:22) Replays show Dirk’s left hand slipped on the rim awkwardly after the dunk. OK, time to bench him. No Dirk getting hurt, please.
- (8:41) Craig Sager is wearing fairly normal clothes tonight, incidentally, outside of the pink paisley tie (which I need to get one of for myself). I actually had a chance to talk to him briefly when TNT was in town for the Mavericks game, and he was very nice. I complimented his clothes, told him we should go shopping sometime. In a purely platonic, basketball-loving-guys way.
- I bet Sager is a blast at parties. He’s probably that wild guy that’s way fun and keeps the party rocking. “Hey, guys, Sager is doing a kegstand again!”
- The halftime entertainment has bored me to the point that I’m going to stop a running diary for the night. I will note that the game was a nailbiter, with Kobe and T-Mac not coming through in the clutch at the end. I hope for a repeat in the playoffs.
Mon February 20th, 2006 6:31 pm