Oscars. Grammy’s. New York Fashion Week. The Superbowl. Even February 14th for all you Valentines. In the six strong second month of the year not a single thing has any one thing on what came out of the 6 this lovers weekend.
The 2016 NBA All-Star Game from Toronto. The first in Canadian and NBA history.
Take that Vancouver! Sorry to get grizzly.
Forget movies, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted this show better. Forget music, Drake was here for his night in promoting ball in his T-Dot city of the 6. Even the catwalks of Manhattan had to take a back step to the awesome attire rocked by your East and West All-Stars, from King James to Chef Curry and Ontario’s very own Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptor pack in the Dinosaurs park. Superbowl? What Superbowl? You just have to love this game.
For a deeper analysis of this weekend and what it meant to the court culture of Hockey country Canada, check out BasketballBuzz’s Ronny’s own outstanding article. But with B.B. in the T.D., back in the Naismith home of Basketball, here’s 6 things we took from the half dozen city.
1. Skills Competition Growing. Literally!
Sure the Skills comp won’t challenge the other marquee events for popularity, but fundamentally you just have to love how this all sounds. Especially when top pick Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves clawed his way past fellow Kentucky big man alumni, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. Who’s wild?
2. Rising Stars Elevate Game Globally
Two. Fellow Timberwolves cub Zach Lavine and his game MVP 30 points helped lead Team U.S.A. over the rest of the World, 157-154 in the Rookie/Sophomore challenge which let all sorts of young guns draw their six shooters. Like the Los Angeles Lakers back-court brotherhood of Jordan Clarkson and number 2 pick D’Angelo Russell. Not to mention homecountry boy Andrew Wiggins’ 29 points and nine dunk-a-thon.
3. Zach Lavine + Aaron Gordon + Flip Saunders Tribute
Lavine and his beautiful jersey tribute to late coach Flip Saunders that flipped his digits, doubled up in more ways than one as he defended his Slam Dunk Contest crown with a free throw line, take off J. Still as great as he was he robbed the hardware from the Air Gordon of Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, who assisted by the Disney reject Magic Kingdom mascot performed feats of aerial gymnastics that would make the Harlem Globetrotters look like Mike in his last A.S.G. Lavine may have won the fight but Gordon’s creed and legs up cradle won the night! Now how is that jam for your toast?
4. Klay Day! Thompson Beats Steph Curry in shootout
One clear winner this weekend in the Pacific Splash clash between Golden State Warrior money-ball brothers Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Steph Curry may have the shot, but it was Klay’s day as his 27 beat his teammates 23 in the final rack of the final round. The Chef may have came in second place to Thompson’s Larry Bird but it was all smiles and high fives just like the day that would follow these league leaders.
5. (West) Brook Dominates Back-To-Back MVP’s
The actual All-Star game itself took it higher than Toronto’s CN Tower which made for quite possibly the greatest mid-court logo design in A.S. history. Above the rim and down the hole to the tune of a 196-173 West (Brook) win this was 2K at its video game finest. You couldn’t green screen match beautiful Basketball and perfect plays like this. And thunderous OKC “second star” Russell Westbrook became the first All-Star in history since Atlanta Hawk legend Bob Petit to double up as game MVP. The dunking, slam stick of dynamite exploded for an incendiary 31 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
6. Kobe Bryant + Canada + Toronto + Forever in NBA history
But it was all about number 24. Even if Kobe Bryant had a nice 10 points it was all about the 20 year veteran’s 18th and last All-Star classic. He won the Dunk Contest as a Rookie in his warm-ups and scored a trilogy of MVP’S, including one in his born and raised home of Philadelphia and one co-sign share with former dynamic duo teammates and Hall of Famer Shaq. From Magic’s introduction to his tip-off with new King LeBron James, the greatest since and save Jordan gave us the sweetest swan song stat sheet of his league wide retirement tour in a city he one dropped 81 on. The only name that owned this weekend more than Bean was that of the city of Toronto, making National Basketball Association history in the closing chapter of this mans career. One that started with a draft from the city that will fittingly hold the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
Next stop Charlotte!
Watch THIS Work! The WNBA Bets On Women
Ten years ago the motto of the Women’s National Basketball Association was to, ‘Expect Great’. Now a decade later and into the roaring 20’s of a whole new one and world, the league that tells you to watch them work truly has for all it’s worth.
The WNBA and CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) has reached a monumental moment in the leagues history and its time to read all about it on Los Angeles Sparks twin superstar Chiney Ogwumike’s Twitter thread.
It tells us the CBA means…
When it comes to players salary and compensation there will be a 30% increase to the salary cap as the higher max pay player salary jumps like Lisa Leslie’s first dunk from $117,500 to $215,000. Whilst there will be an additional compensation for those top tier Candace Parker players around $300,000. Moving millions this is thee first time the league has moved units like this in six figures. And like Russell Westbrook why not? Because for every player like him there’s an Ogwumike. For every Candace a LeBron. Every Luka Doncic a Breanna Stewart. Every Larry Bird a Sue. Kobe Bryant, Diana Taurasi. For every Michael Jordan a Lisa Leslie.
Every insufferable, couch potato chip, sexist fans who unlike a Suffragette doesn’t believe women deserves equal pay needs to check their pockets…yep like Rakim said that’s nothing but lint. Now paid in full these women deserve this and more like diversity at the Oscars. Just as good as the men like Michelle Wie (she’s not the logos sons wife people) golfing with the guys of you claim you’re “woke” on social media but can’t wake up to this then you’re about as woke as still in bed gone half 12 in the afternoon. It feels like all those trumped up people who had a problem with a female ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. Or those old men who would rather bully a 17 year old girl with Aspergers online than believe in the actual happenings of climate change.
Sure there’s an argument that sportspeople shouldn’t be paid these ridiculous amounts of money. But the point is if the men get paid this much then why shouldn’t the women?
This should have happened a long time ago. But at least it’s happening now.
It’s about time.
Working mothers are also finally getting their due in a groundbreaking deal on this date. Players will receive a salary whilst on maternity leave with an additional new childcare stipend. Whilst up to $60,000 of progressive family planning benefits for veteran players for costs for adoption, surrogacy, oocyte cryopreservation, fertility and more. No longer will go hard greats like Skylar Diggins-Smith have to play whilst pregnant and hide it to protect herself whilst the CBA lists it as a “condition”.
Perks of the game that the men have had for years and the world class women deserve just as such also include individual hotel rooms for players, more mandatory leg room on flights (how important is this for basketball players? The NBA would cry personal foul if the King and them would be forced to fly economy), and further for the finances, off-season job opportunities with league partners that along with the salary rise will mean that WNBA players won’t, overplayed and underpaid have to go overseas in the off-season to earn more money to make ends meet in foreign leagues. Something which has been a conditioning condition and pay for play issue since the leagues inaugural inception.
And let’s not forget about the players mental health too in major improvements across the board and world to an issue still surrounded with stigma despite the lengths taken and measures made. More resources will be offered in addition to the adoption of a Nutrition Council that will aid peak performance by offering players a commitment to this optimization.
But it’s probably the stand made by the WNBA and the CBA against violence to women which is the most important. Ending domestic and all sorts of violence to women which has happened to players around the league and still happens everyday, effecting everyone needs to end NOW like it should have never happened. It seems like such a ridiculously obvious thing to say…but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said.
Again and again until we don’t have to.
The wide world has finally met the standards of the women’s game and league on the way to leveling the playing field. More of the same…do we really need to add the please now?
Betting on sporting events is a losers game. But betting on women-like the ones in this league-is a sure thing.
The game changed for real today.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 20 Pts, 20 Rebs, 10 Asts first Canadian NBA triple-double since 2006
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Hamilton, ON) became only the second Canadian basketball player in NBA history to record a triple-double — and the first in nearly 14 years, since Steve Nash in 2006.
Gilgeous-Alexander racked-up 20 points, career-high 20 rebounds and 10 assists in the 117-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. The former one-and-done Kentucky Wildcat continued his efficient campaign shooting 8-of-12 field goals, connecting 2-of-3 triples and 2-of-2 from the foul-line.
Steve Nash recorded three triple-doubles in his illustrious 18-year career, the last one on April 19, 2006 — Nash finished with 16 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
The 20 rebounds is also a record-high by a Canadian guard and only the second 20/20 double-double by a Canadian — Jamaal Magloire notched a 22 point, 21 rebound game against the Toronto Raptors’ on March 21, 2004.
Most rebounds by a Canadian in the NBA
Samuel Dalembert (Montreal, QC) holds the record for the most rebounds in a NBA game with 23 against the Golden State Warriors on March 20, 2009. Followed by Magloire 22 and Tristan Thompson with 21.
Gilgeous-Alexander becomes the youngest guard to record 20-20-10 stat-line and joins Russell Westbrook as the only guards with a 20-point, 20-rebound triple-double over the last 30 seasons. He is also the youngest player in NBA history with a 20-rebound triple-double, passing Shaquille O’Neal.
RJ Barrett became the first Canadian basketball player to record a triple-double at the NCAA level in nearly 35 years during his lone freshman season with the Duke Blue Devils.
The OKC Thunder continue their playoff push with their 18 victory in the last 25 games and currently sit in 7th place in the western conference.
The Canadian guard is currently averaging 20 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists — shooting 46.4% from the floor, 33.6% from three-pointers and 81.6% from the foul-line while turning the ball over just 1.9 per game.
Canada NBA All-Star Drought
The 2020 NBA All-star game in Chicago is less than month away and as it currently stands, Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t currently rank as one the top fan vote earners in a guard heavy western conference. Nevertheless, the Canadian stud could end Canada’s eight year NBA all-star game drought by earning a coach’s selection.