Back from Houston with some thoughts on NBA All-Star Weekend:
*The NBA handles the All-Star festivities correctly. They know that the game is an exhibition for entertainment. The whole atmosphere is “hey this is supposed to be fun so let’s not take it too seriously.” Everyone buys into this philosophy. That’s why you have the concerts and the celebrities showing up. It’ really an excuse for a big party, not a build up to a game that actually means something, and the league treats it as such.
*Something has to be done about the slam dunk contest. It features no name guys missing too many dunks and doing too many things we’ve seen before. The NBA should require that two All-Stars from the East and West be picked to participate in the game. I know the players don’t want to do it, but too bad. It is a showcase for the fans after all. They want to see LeBron and Blake Griffin, not Terrence Ross and Jeremy Evans. Also, put a limited on the number of dunk attempts. I don’t want to watch someone miss six times, before finally converting one. You get two chances and that’s it. If you miss on the second one you’re done for that round.
*If the league will absolutely not force some of the top tier guys to compete in the dunk contest, then it should be replaced by a 1 on 1 competition. Have eight of the All-Stars compete in a tournament. Play each game to five, by ones. Having Kobe matched up with LeBron, or Chris Paul going at it with Tony Parker would be must see TV.
*For what it is, this year’s game had a decent amount of intensity down the stretch. Teams are never going to play much D in a game like that, but at least both teams had fun and seemed to put at least a little effort in down the stretch when the game was close. Kobe’s aggressive guarding of LeBron in the fourth quarter was one of the highlights. It seemed like Bryant may have been a little upset about getting left out of all the Jordan-LeBron comparisons this week.
*I don’t want to bash Houston, because I don’t dislike the city overall, but it is not the best location site for an All-Star game. It has ample infrastructure from a hotel standpoint, and the convention center being located right next to the Toyota Center is convenient for the NBA, but my issue is the lack of entertainment options in the downtown area around the arena. There just aren’t many bars/restaurants within walking distance. A downtown arena is a nice idea, but it’s even better if you have some development around it.