Archive for the ‘2012 All-Star Weekend’ Category

Skeets and Tas rank the best five dunks from this year’s NBA Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. (Yes, it was as difficult as you’d imagine.) But, hey, let us know your top five dunks from Saturday Night below, and we’ll pretend to argue.

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As a point guard Jeremy Lin has proven he’s more than capable of sharing the rock. Guy’s averaging eight assists per game in February. But when it comes to distributing snacks? Good luck. He’s Kobe Bryant in the pretzel game.

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You had to know somebody was going to claim this one. As the resident Raptors fan up in here, I figured it might as well be me.

Canadian sports fans are unlikely to admit it, but I think that many of us have an inferiority complex in terms of how their favorite teams and players are perceived by American sports fans and media. We don’t just want you to notice our stars, we want you to praise them. Nay, we want you to covet them. Long-suffering Raptors fans have mostly been unable to swell our chests with pride over a Toronto player who Americans universally acknowledged as a star — except for the two-year period from 2000 to 2002 when Vince Carter was the most popular player in the NBA.

While there are many ways to define NBA player popularity among fans, I’m sure we can agree that All-Star Game voting is a pretty good metric. For three straight All-Star Games from 2000 to 2002, Vince garnered more votes than any other player. For Canadian fans who, in some cases, suspected that most Americans thought we lived in igloos — I choose to believe that most Americans are better-educated about us now, thanks to the Internet, Avril Lavigne and Justin Bieber — this was a massively important message of validation. We matter, damn it! Nevermind that Vince was from Florida and went to school in North Carolina. He belonged to us!

If any Raptors fans thought that Vince’s popularity was entirely based on his prodigious skill as a basketball player, they were mistaken. Vince Carter was the king of the NBA over that period because he could dunk like a motherfucker, and this fact was confirmed with great conviction in the 2000 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

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One of the funnier parts of Jeremy’s Lin rise to sudden NBA stardom was that, during the start of “Linsanity,” he was actually sleeping on Landry Field’s couch. So, with that in mind, Skeets and Tas hit up Media Day to ask some NBA All-Stars if THEY had to crash on a teammate’s sofa, whose would it be and why?

LINKS: TBJ Facebook | TBJ Store | TBJ F.A.Q. | 2012 All-Star Weekend

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Live from a picturesque hotel balcony at the Orlando World Center Marriott, Skeets and Tas recap a busy NBA All-Star Friday, which includes: thoughts from Media Day, the infamous return of “Box Out Kid,” Kyrie Irving’s Rising Stars three-point shooting, Greg Monroe’s “YOINK!” moment, a live appearance on NBATV’s “The Jump” at Jam Session, miniature Ken Griffey Jr., and much, much more. Enjoy.

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This right here is my personal funniest moment in the history of All-Star Weekend. You can keep Chris Andersen’s botched dunk contest attempts, the Michael Jordan’s wide-open missed dunk and the time Darrell Armstrong shot a layup in the dunk contest. I’ll take Jerry Stackhouse, in the midst of his best season, confidently throwing down a 360 immediately after Vince Carter’s legendary 360. Whoops.

Could there be worst timing for anything? This would be like releasing “Dick Tracy” the weekend after “The Godfather” came out or Lil Wayne following up his biggest record, “Tha Carter III,” with an album full of terrible rock songs. Literally any other dunk would be better than another 360, especially when the past three minutes have seen a hundred replays of Vince’s dunk followed by Cheryl Miller talking to Vince about what it’s like to add to the pantheon of dunk contest dunks.

The best part, however, is Jerry’s strut after throwing down his jam. He grabs the ball and walks towards the scoring table confidently, surely thinking to himself, “I nailed it. Nice one, Jer-Bear.” Meanwhile, unbeknownst to him, he’s getting killed by the TNT guys and seeing the honorary title of next best UNC shooting guard be given to Vince Carter. Michael Keaton’s face at the 12-second mark says it all, but Jerry’s face when he gets a 41 — seemingly shocked that a two-handed 360 wouldn’t be an obvious 50 — is a really nice postscript.

I don’t think anyone ever really bought in to the idea that Jerry Stackhouse was the next Michael Jordan, even though he was a bald shooting guard from the University of North Carolina. But even if you did, when he made up his mind to go with this 360, that probably ended. It’s hard to take seriously a guy who is so clueless to what’s going on that he’d do a bad remix of one of the best dunks ever, immediately after said dunk.

Jerry Stackhouse is back at All-Star Weekend this year, somehow sneaking his way in to the festivities as Joe Johnson’s injury replacement for the Shooting Stars competition, which is literally the smallest honor one can receive this weekend. I imagine he’ll sink a three-pointer a second after Steve Smith drains a game-winner from half court, because Jerry’s a pro at doing less impressive things at inopportune times.

Arguably the most underrated of All-Star Weekend Saturday night competitions, the 3-point contest demands from its participants both the skill of a marksman and the steady, rhythmic effort of a lumberjack. A metronomic elegance emerges as you watch every other ball clank off the rim and into the sea of pre-pubescent rebounders crowding the paint. The cadence of the clanking has lulled me into a peaceful slumber on more than one occasion.

But in 2003, when Pat Garrity, Peja Strojakovic, Brent Barry, Wesley Person, David Wesley’s ears and Antoine Walker took part in the economically titled 17th Annual NBA All-Star Weekend Foot Locker 3-point Shootout, there was not a drowsy eye in the house. The cameras, the lights, the sound equipment — it was all electric. The scene was so festive, so invigorating that one joyous man was moved to dance.

The contest was moving along steadily. After Pat Garrity and David Wesley’s ears posted middling scores of 13 and 12, respectively, Peja Stojakovic, the eventual champion, posted a score of 19, setting a furious new pace for the competition. Next up was Brent Barry, a 40 percent 3-point shooter best known for dunking from the free throw line that one time and being white. Barry would go on to star in numerous commercials for H.E.B., a beloved Central Texas grocery chain, and win a couple of NBA titles.

Barry’s round began like any other: a few makes, a few misses, a few more makes. But as he made his way around the racks, the anticipation built. He was closing in on Peja’s lead. As he headed for the final rack, he already had 14 points — enough to surpass Garrity and Wesley’s ears. But in order to equal Peja’s lead he needed to have his best rack of the round.

Make. Make. Miss. Make.

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