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6 From The 6…A Half Dozen Memories From The NBA All-Star Weekend In Toronto

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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.

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Big men central! 6-11 Karl Anthony-Towns poses with Trophy after winning Skills Competition

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?

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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.

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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?

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4. Klay Day! Thompson Beats Steph Curry in shootout

One clear winner this weekend in the Pacific Splash clash between Golden State Warrior moneyball 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.

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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.

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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!

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Gary Vee & Nik Stauskas: The Truth About Success, Grinding & “Eating Dirt”

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Gary Vee & Nik Stauskas: The Truth About Success, Grinding & “Eating Dirt”

There is no doubt Nik Stauskas knows a thing or two about “eating dirt” and grinding your way to reaching your dream. An accomplished Canadian NBA Basketball player, Stauskas currently in his fourth season sits down for a great one-on-one chat with Gary Vaynerchuk aka GaryVee to discuss his craft and the rare opportunity to pick the brain of one of the fastest rising internet media personalities and business minds in the industry. Like Stauskas, Vaynerchuk grinded his way to where he is at today by focusing on outworking the competition, staying patience and over course dirt eating.

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La La Lakerland Played Host To A City Of All-Stars At The Weekend

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Verizon Slam Dunk Contest 2018
Like Father, Like Slam,

Los Angeles, it doesn’t get much more Hollywood than this. Even if Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and even the other Michael (B) Jordan were taking in all the lights, camera action court-side.

After the 2017 Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year and two calendar’s after our native Toronto held the All Star Weekend in Canada, the sixth A.S.G. in the Clipper and Lakerland of the downtown STAPLES of L.A. was the first of it’s kind. As two of the best players in the association and reigning finalists decided to draft their own pool of players against the wall for the ultimate black and white pick-up game between ‘Team Stephen’ and ‘Team LeBron’, for all the marbles of which of the last two champions would be King.

Well it certainly helps if James picks his rivals reigning MVP teammate Kevin Durant and his own former partner in pine championship crime Kyrie Irving for the big shots first.

But before all that it was down to regular festivities to begin the weekend of All-Star. Basketball’s equivalent of music’s Grammy’s or movies Oscars in Superbowl February. Opening these ceremonials Team World beat down Team USA 155-124 in the Rising Stars game that should really tell you something. Despite home court advantage rookie steal, Kyle Kuzma notching 20, fellow Californian franchise face Buddy Hield was king as the Sacramento star hit 29 as the two sides wore Clipper and Laker interloped Buffalo and MPLS throwbacks for the Hollywood script. And after Quavo of hit duo Migos took home the Celebrity Game MVP as Team Clippers beat Team Lakers 79-66, Spencer Dinwiddie paid the bills in a superior skills comp. Before scorching Sun in California Devin Booker showed his career high 70 was no one-hit wonder as he burnt down all the nets and the money-ball rack. Winning the three-point contest showdown from reigning winner and sixth man Eric Gordon. Grounding the Rocket as this Phoenix rose. Book it!

But after the most therapeutic competition of All-Star weekend it was time for the most exciting one just as compelling. And in honoring his father Larry Nance, the 1984 winner of the inaugural Slam-Dunk contest, Larry Nance Jr. rocked the baby cradle, like father, like dunk. As he even rocked the old-school Phoenix Suns jersey, short shorts and high-socks for an inspired imitation. But under the magicians cloak, those Los Angeles natives in attendance draped in gold wish he had turned into someone turning back the clock and wearing a Lakers jersey (those Lonzo assists with the ball would have helped). As what would have been a long awaited, eagerly anticipated home-team representation turned into an Akron homecoming for the Ohio hometown hero like LeBron in the Kings land once the trade deadline passed.

Pops Nance loved it though after he himself played the lions share of his career in Cleveland as a Cavalier. Even assisting his boy on his second slam, before he blew the house down with a windmill that even rocked Chris Rock and then double tapped an Instagram worthy picture perfect dunk that if your phone blinked, you’d have had to instant replay it to not miss it and believe it. But all this court creativity wasn’t enough like Maverick rookie Dennis Smith Jr.’s 360 reverse, through the legs 50. Or All-Star Victor Oladipo getting an assist off King T’Challa himself Chadwick Boseman, suiting up in the Black Panther mask and clawing a tomahawk. And if you think that was special, if only you were a fly on the wall for the moment entertainment megastar Jamie Foxx told Vic he loved his album and started singing ‘A Song For You’ with him in the parking lot (as told by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins). As Utah’s jazz man Donovan Mitchell won by jumping over Kevin Hart and his family (Come on! How hard is that? The comedian was even crouched down. Seriously?! He could have even been sat on his shoulders and Mitch would have been good), and then breaking out the classic Vince Carter Raptor jersey and doing you know what.

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The whole weekend turned out to be a testament to a throwback tribute despite Nike’s brand new Team LeBron and Steph duds. Last years All-Star representative, Pelican Anthony Davis paying tribute to his injury fallen teammate brother Cousins by wearing what would have been his numero zero jersey. Free agent suitors beware, DeMarcus is going nowhere now this summer after this. You see he saw on I.G. but look at the shot. How s### was his seat for a would be player?

But after Black Eyed Pea Fergie caught flack for her soulful and sultry rendition of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem (hey, you didn’t complain when Marvin did it) the game hit all the high-flying, dunking high-notes. So much so fans needed throat lozenges like Pink! Even if there wasn’t a single Clipper or Laker representative in the game itself. Despite the lobbying for 6 Man, Lou Will and new Laker Isaiah Thomas only recently being LeBron’s actual teammate.

The King took the MVP crown himself as his 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists helped turn a 15 point hole into a 148-145 victory. And from the look on his face as he leapt into Kevin Durant’s arms of all people, it looked like he just won the NBA Championship back. And from the look on Steph’s face on the receiving end reply it was hard to disagree.

You may be the champion, but I’m the best in the world those eyes said.

Well it’s up to you to decide when round 2 of the All Star draft is televised next year for all to see in M.J.’s land of the greatest.

Charlotte’s going to be good!

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Is Isaiah Thomas IT For The Lakers?

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IT Came On A Hollywood Night

It’s All-Star break this weekend in Los Angeles, but the Lakers already have a new one since the trade deadline to lead their young core in the heart of the city. Even if Team LeBron didn’t pick him for Sundays pick up.

But how long will IT last?

Right now in the NBA the amount of movers is really putting the shakers on teams. So much so that in regards to loyalty in this league it’s even colder than the Olympics in Pyeonchang, South Korea right now. But then again it is the Winter after all. Recently Cleveland cleaned house and LeBron’s land for some Cavalier moves. Jettisoning several All-Star points for their changing of the guard. Including former MVP Derrick Rose, ‘Bron brodie Dwyane Wade back to the Heat of Miami, South Beach and even the guy they traded Kyrie for.

Yep that’s right after summer swapping Irving for Isaiah, the Cavs sent Thomas along with versatile big-man vet Channing Frye to Lakerland. In return they got the buckets of ‘Sixth Man’ sure thing Jordan Clarkson and another Akron hometown hero in the form of Larry Nance Jr.

And although the Lakers picked-up a certified All-Star with Iverson kill at will, little man syndrome scoring a lot of fans where left tweeting negative emojis and gifs following the deadline deal. And not because their new number seven seal was a former Boston Celtic great only a season ago. Or that the former tooth chipper is now a befallen superstar by way of injury. More that the Lake Show loved the young Ball, Ingram, Kuzma, Randle and Zubac core that has lost it’s first big time players of the future since the de-loading trade of D’Angelo Russell last summer.

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Clarkson was a class act and there from the luck of the late round steal start. Whereas when Nance Jr. ran the floor like his pops all the bleachers snapped shut, tilted up. Lakerland finally thought they would see their own slamming son represent them in the Slam Dunk Contest he should surely win now like father, like dunk today. But now he’ll be doing it all for one and one for all.

But with the fast tracked pace of the Lakers new speedy dynamite dynamo it could still be Showtime again for Magic’s men like when Earvin Johnson was kissing another Isiah Thomas hello in the golden era 80’s. But this Isaiah Thomas-so long as he can ball in the same backcourt as Ball once injury time gives way to the Lavar…excuse me the Lonzo Angeles Lakers-could attract even more free agents like the expected homecoming of Paul George from the Thunder to the purple reign this offseason. Even if rumour has a Black Panther/Killmonger like relationship between this point prince and the King of the Ohio land.

But if it’s between LeBron as a Laker or another one of James’ sidekicks than who do you think will hold the headlines for tomorrows Los Angeles Times? Especially as Isaiah could aim higher than coming off the bench this summer as a free agent without restriction himself. His big contract coming off the books with Channing’s (Frye not Hollywood’s Tatum), another big three big in Brook Lopez and another former All-Star in Luol Deng (yep…he’s still here).

All these multiples of millions would surely make for a kings ransom.

This could be it, so lets enjoy I.T. whilst he lasts.

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