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A Good All-Star Weekend

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As an NBA fan, I watched most of the past weekend’s All-Star activities. I always look forward to that break in the season. It’s a fun time. I know plenty of people who feel the need to criticize the events that take place. I don’t really understand that. Perhaps it’s because it’s the only major league sport that has an All-Star event even worth watching, and people expect to see Jordan-esque performances each year. Maybe they just like to whine about something, who knows.

Some highlights of the weekend I noticed are:

  • Chris Paul’s 9 steals and 17 assists in the rookie challenge, with at least 8 of his assists playing part in alley oops. I think 5 or 6 of those alley oops were to Monte Ellis, that dude can jump. I look forward to Chris Paul in the All-Star game for the rest of his career. His game reminds me a lot of the way Isiah Thomas played.
  • A trip down memory lane watching Bill Laimbeer complain to the refs once again. Gotta love the guy’s spirit.
  • Charles Barkley’s victory over 67 year old Dick Bavetta in a foot race. Great dive by Bavetta in the end. His knee was bleeding after the effort.
  • A good dunk contest. Dwight Howard showed just how high up he can get, even though he’s 7 feet tall. I know some kids who are 6’4″ and move much more awkwardly than him. He can maneuver like a small guard, ridiculous. That sticker dunk was pretty incredible.
  • Gerald Green’s dunks may not have appeared too spectacular, but that’s because the kid jumps incredibly high. That final dunk was off of two feet, and his plant foot was within a foot of the free throw line. He dunked it with ease, he may be the only person on earth who can do that.
  • A dominant performance by the West in the All-Star game. Even though it was a blowout through most of the game, I enjoyed it. The West put on a shooting clinic that totally killed any chances of a comeback by the East. They really played well as a team; maybe because a handful of them are All-Star veterans.

I’m glad the NBA keeps the All-Star weekend the way it is. They make enough subtle changes each year to keep it fun, while sticking to the basic format that is proven. It is by far the most entertaining All-Star even of any sport. Good work Mr. Stern.

All-Star Weekend Fun

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Woohoo, NBA All-Star weekend is almost here! I enjoy the action on this weekend in the NBA. There are criticisms about different things out there, like if the dunk contest should exist, but I think people are taking things too seriously. The dunk contest is just a fun little thing that is pretty entertaining if you ask me. How else are we gonna see somebody only a couple inches taller than Spud Webb jump over him and throw down?

To show the spirit of the All-Star weekend, TNT has included an awesome event. Charles Barkley will take on Dick Bavetta in a footrace up and down the court 1 3/4 times. Dick is a 67 year old referee in the league. I think it’s awesome that he is willing to do this, as well as Charles, and that TNT even thought of doing it in the first place. It’s a great way to show the seriousness of All-Star weekend. I’ll be watching.

Update: Bavetta vs. Barkley: Tale of the Tape

Allen Iverson

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Everybody else is talking about AI now that he’s finally talking trade. I’ve found it annoying how a lot of media has tried to make him look like a quitter and like he’s betraying a team who has been good to him for a decade. His “possible trade” each summer has been making reporters all kinds of money for the past five years or so, even though all of them are based on the team themselves trying to get rid of him, all the while he was insisting on never leaving Philly. Most players would have demanded to be traded long long ago, probably the year after they made the finals and looked to be going downhill. Even then Iverson had class and asked to not be traded.

I could go on for a while, but I found a great article that finally pays him the respect he deserves. Allen Iverson is possibly the most loyal player in all of sports, aside from being the league’s most talented scorer. He’s under six feet tall (listed at 6′) and nobody can stop him from putting the ball in the hoop.

Anyway, here’s that article: Neither side will like The Answer

Nate Robinson Plays Bigger than Yao

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Nate Robinson made one of the greatest defensive plays I’ve seen, and helped show how weak Yao Ming is. Nate is five feet nine inches tall. Yao is seven feet five inches tall. So Yao is twenty inches taller than Nate. Well, watch the video below.

Sure, Yao would probably claim he got fouled (a trait he picked up from the NBA I believe, I saw his fellow country men play over the summer and none of them complained about a thing while Yao almost got kicked out for whining so much), but I know deep down that he hunched over after the play because any pride he had left got completely obliterated.

Yao already has more poster shots featuring him as the victim than anybody has accumulated in their entire career I believe. The dude is a giant. He gets a few blocked shots a game, sure, but anybody could do that who is a foot taller than most the other players. The dude is a horrible defender. Now we know how strong he is in the post.

A Great Night of Hoops

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Tonight I played ball with the normal crew of guys that meet on Thursday nights. We usually play at a nice full sized court in a church here. That church was occupied tonight by tables and chairs, so we had to resort to a church with a smaller gym. The three point line met the sideline at about the free throw line extended, and the half court line was about 23 feet from either hoop (roughly an NBA three pointer).

We played for a while, good stuff. It was 4 on 4, which was just right. We learned a valuable lesson after playing man defense for a while. We switched up to zone and we skunked the other team the first game. Since you kill a zone by rotating the ball and bombing threes, when about half of the three point line doesn’t exist, zone works incredibly well.

So we were winding down, and just before the last game, I got back in the gym before anyone had got back from the water fountain. I picked up the ball and tried a running lefty (I’m right handed) from “half court” and it went straight through the hoop, all net. I always try to hit two in a row when I hit a random shot like that, so I tried it going the other way, same result. One more try for three in a row, got it! By the fourth attempt, others had come in and saw me end the streak by missing the fourth.

Anyway, time for another game. As soon as it started, my teammates holler “go back to half court” (which was only a few feet behind me). I did, they tossed me the ball, I tried the same shot and drilled it again! We were all laughing and I tried it next time down the floor and missed. The game went on, and when we were two points from ending the game, I pulled up for a right handed shot behind the half court line and ended it. That was the night.

March Chaos

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Every year I have some friends who get a pool going on ESPN.com for the NCAA tourney. Now, I rarely watch any college games during the season, so usually my picks are pretty random, and based heavily on seed. This year I’ve done pretty bad, but still have some good hope. Of my elite 8 teams, seven remain. Only 10 of the Sweet 16 are teams I picked to win, so hopefully I picked the winners of this round.

Even though it’s only for a few weeks, I enjoy filling out a bracket online so I can easily keep track of points, and how my friends have done at picking winners. This year’s tourney has been pretty wild with an 11 and 13 seed making the Sweet 16.

For the record, I have Texas, UCLA, Connecticut, and Villanova in the Final Four. My Championship game has UConn beating UCLA with a score of 68-61. We’ll see how this works out.

This is Amazing

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Just watch this video of an autistic high school basketball team manager. It’s quite possibly the most awesome thing to ever happen in high school basketball.

Update: Link fixed.

Link: Autistic basketball player creates mayhem at game.

Another Update:

Now ESPN has put an even more touching video together of the whole ordeal. Here’s the link:

ESPN: Meaningful Minutes for Autism