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Westsider Rider

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The weekend that was NBA All Star

A lot of people complain about NBA's All-Star Weekend, how the game is boring and how everything is played out now. I am not one of them. I love the NBA All-Star Weekend although I would like to see some changes but I will always watch the game. Starting on Saturday, sure there are all the other skills competitions and 3 point contests and the shooting contest with the current, former and WNBA player but the main event is still the dunk contest. It was definitely disappointing to hear that Dwight Howard requested the league to raise the rim to 11.5 and 12 feet for some of his dunks but the league denied him. Supposedly he was ready to do a 360 dunk at 12 feet and then between the legs at 11.5 but we will never know.

My favorite dunks were Gerald Green's first one where Paul Pierce threw it off the side of the backboard and then Green dunked it. The other was the Dwight Howard sticker dunk at 12 foot 6 inches that was not given enough credit by the judges. It's much more difficult to win as a big man because the judges don't give you enough credit while giving the smaller guys more credit for the same dunks.

The Nate Robinson rule for two minutes max plus two dunks afterwards was of course only used by Nate Robinson, who took 10 or 12 tries to finish his last dunk, similar to last years where he threw it off the backboard but this time did it with 360. Robinson shouldn't have won last year and he definitely didn't deserve it this year although his first dunk throw the ball up and cock back with one hand was impressive.

My ideas for the NBA dunk contest, which many others have proposed as well are as follows. Allow dunkers to raise rim if they want to, which would allow more big men opportunities to showcase their leaping ability as well. Also start upping the prize money considerably but say it will be donated to charity. Imagine if the league and sponsors say they will put up 250 or 500 thousand for the winner to donate to charity then don't you think the league's great dunkers, Vince, Kobe, T-Mac wouldn't want to take part? The dunk contest lacks the star power it used to and it needs to be brought back. Say 3 veterans like the ones I just named and then 3 rising stars as the league likes to market them and have them go at it. That would bring plenty of excitement back to the dunk contest.

Then came Sunday and the game itself. It was great to see Kobe get the MVP and his array of dunks which we do not see as often in real game situations. Vince Carter definitely threw down his share as well. I guess my friends and I are in the minority but we love watching the All-Star Game, with every dunk and almost dunks it got all of us fired up. LeBron trying to throw it off the backboard and over Amare was funny and then a couple of almost alley-oops that would've brought the house down. It's fun to watch these athletes play in this exhibition style where they can try new things and not worry about the outcome as much as a real game. For me the NBA All-Star game is still one of the must watch sporting events of the year and it will continue to do so for many years to come.

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