Oh Carolina what a weekend it was up North in the beautiful city of Charlotte for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend. The redemption of a year removed after Silver refused to play like Springsteen standing up for LGBT rights. Only for this mid-season clash in the mid-February weekend after Valentine’s to in a warm embrace show a welcoming love of all colors like the hometown Hornets’ Buzz City hive of purple and teal, keeping it as real as it gets.
And we were buzzing like bees (or should we say Hornets? Shout out to the NBA On TNT’s swarm of ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp’ like insect characters…a real Marvel) towards the traditional hexagon honeycomb in the Jumpman jumping coliseum of the spectacular Spectrum Center as Charlotte had a lot going on this weekend for its on court celebration of this culture.
First up was the Rising Stars of Team U.S. versus the rest of the World. But even without Lonzo Ball by his side, no young star rose further than the MVP of that game, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma. Although the look on Luka Doncic’s dunking face said pure joy different. Kuz controlled the 161-144 win for All Star Kyrie Irving’s young men with 35 points. Although normally a Laker rival, the Boston Celtics Jayson Tatum also had 30 points in an aerial acrobatic affair that had more rim “brickers” than rockers. So much so that even the Celebrity Game featuring no Kevin Hart or Justin Bieber, but J.B. Smoove and Luke Cage himself Mike Colter (try running round that screen. Block or charge?) ran more smoothly and cohesive. Although they did have the jumper of Ray Allen suiting up with the 34 again.
It was one big weekend for Jayson Tatum who bagged the Skills Challenge like groceries, against the likes of Kuz a still smiling like he can’t believe his luck, Luka and a joking Jokic, who hilariously refused to shake Jayson’s hand playfully after their contest. Tatum made this X and O event much more than flogging a dead H.O.R.S.E one and done retired contest as he won against Hawk Trae Young on a knockout half-court heave that was a haymaker that made sure the rookie shooter as hot as Curry’s peach wouldn’t bear fruit.
When Saturday came, it was time for the big guns however. And we aren’t talking about the practice of the halfway line pissing contest that King James drew swords with. But the real long range contest featuring three point legends like Dirk Nowitzki was almost as good as the German gunner taking part in a legends version featuring the likes of Ray Allen once again and Dell Curry. But nothing was as sweet as watching the stroke of his two young, Carolina born sons duke it out in-front of pops for a bet. And the only thing purer than that was Steph Curry with the same tracksuit jacket he wore as a kid on the lap of his Dad Dell, dapping up TMC Rock, Mitch Richmond (of golden era Golden State legend) on the bench. Except for of course Brooklyn Nets Joe Harris who cooled off Curry like yogurt dip to take the moneyball rack and the trophy home.
So much for our prediction that home team hero Kemba Walker in a home-stand would take over this weekend from the three point line racks to the actual All Star Game MVP. Ah well it would have made a nice headline. But the kid K sure did represent.
And who of course could forget everyone’s (former?) favourite event the Slam Dunk Contest. After years of trying to be reinvented like the wheel it’s still the most innovative contest of the weekend. If not the purest (see above). Even though it now seems to be the ‘Lets See What I Can Jump Over Contest’ whilst trying to do my best Vince Carter impression. Who despite the social media campaigns wasn’t on hand to dunk at 40 like he does every night as a special legend consideration here like Nowitzki and the ‘One Last Dance’ of Wade in the actual jersey swapping game. Although it would have probably been much more fitting if Air Canada was in the contest two years ago in Toronto. Like when we only wish the trade deadline last year was a week after All Star and not before, so we could have seen Larry Nance Jr. dunk as a Laker in front of the Los Angeles crowd. Although all that was nought for all tens when junior brought out his fathers fire Phoenix jersey.
But what did they jump over this year? Quavo (I’m sorry I’m 33. Is he from Migos?), J. Cole (who even attempted a dunk himself, which was as cool as his Hornets shell suit throwback during his halftime show that put on for his state), the first ever airplane (although I’m sure despite Hawk flying John Collins from Atlanta with the Spirit of St. Louis, the Wright Brothers would be pissed off he clipped two of their wings) and SHAQUILLE O’NEAL!?! Who whilst his son Shareef was getting some mentorship from Kareem courtside that might one day see him as the next big man great in post purple and gold, Laker legendary history (we can Hollywood dream), let Thunder dunker Hamidou Diallo jump all over him before elbowing a honey dip dunk that Winnie the Pooh reached further into the jar than the half human, half amazing number 15 from the 6.
And as Diallo came down from earth like “Is it a bird? Is it a plane?” he ripped his shirt (trust those Nike jerseys) to reveal an S on his chest Superman logo like Dwight Howard or the original Man Of Steel before him underneath the basket with the best ‘Shaqtin A Fool’ reaction. A jersey that fell around him like a cape as he flew away from new Knick high-flyer Dennis Smith Jr. with the 50 and trophy.
And then of course it was the main event itself. But before all that another Charlotte native made this weekend is home. As So So Def soulman Anthony Hamilton coming where he’s from gave us the acoustic southern comfort of the most soulful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner of the U.S. National Anthem since the greatest of Marvin.
But in the East and West schoolboy pickup game draft of Team LeBron versus Team Giannis everyone came with those tampering jokes like the Greek Freak. One Photoshop recruitment saw Laker logos on all the switching All Star jerseys of all the King’s men. And did you see the touching photo of L.B.J. and Anthony Davis like The Creation Of Adam’ that should come with its own, “find someone who looks at you like” caption? But despite all these A.D., Kyrie and Kawhi jokes, James’ ‘Team LeBron’ won again for the second straight year. Complete with flashes of Wade to James behind the back passes that took it back to the talents of South Beach as these partners in this saved last dance didn’t miss a step. But Steph did. And as Curry went cold for his usual fire (but oh how he was streetball playing, bounce pass, alley-oop point (even to himself) like D’Angelo to Dirk for three) like Joe Harris was still shooting (ah made you look), his teammate on the other team took over.
As A.S.G. MVP Kevin Durant and his 31 points in this 178-164 crowning win (over four quarters. You have to love the defence) showed us that Golden State wasn’t the only super-team of stars he could lead basket to basket. Even if Giannis’ giants who almost broke a century at the half with 94 at onetime blow out lead by 20. This guy got buckets like the reign many hope he brings to a New Knick state of mind. But forget New York, New York. We don’t need to talk to Kevin about that. He’s already been asked twice. This weekend was all about Charlotte.
And what could be more fitting than the 68th NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina being played on the 56th birthday of Hornets team owner and UNC alumni, not to mention the G.O.A.T., Michael Jordan?
Well how about next year’s game taking it to his Bullpen of the Windy City of Chicago?
Lakers cut Cousins for Hollywood Morris vs Morris twin brothers story
Pelican and Wildcat pack connected with Laker superstar Anthony Davis and veteran legend point Rajon Rondo, when the Lakers copped Sacramento Kings great DeMarcus Cousins this off-season it was meant to be their strongest Summer signing. Reuniting D.C. with A.D. after their N.O. year this was just a campaign after Cousins related to a Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors superteam that only last season, after the arrival of the big-man — fans around the league were calling not playing fair.
Because Boogie down low was the best center in the league, reminded us of an explosive TNT hybrid of Shaq and Chuck. But his post power productions have been crippled by injury even if he ill-advised but all heart tried to redemption return for his former Warriors’ team in the losing finals against the Raptors.
Now out of California again, even though he is no longer a Warrior, like K.D. you can always dub DeMarcus as one.
Meanwhile, whilst Lakers fans were celebrating Cousins arrival with caution once they knew he still needed time to recover, the Lakers brought back to bewilderment the infamous name of Dwight Howard. It looked laughable and ludicrous to bring back the former Mickey Mouse superstar even on a non-guaranteed contract. Especially when there were other former All Stars and future Hall of Famers on the market (Carmelo Cough Anthony).
It looked like chemistry cancer. But it was as natural as biology. And then so many rebounds, blocks, dunks, one contest and guaranteed contract later and the redemption reunion was set for a season that took everyone by surprise. The epic, emphatic energy Hollywood needed way back when flipped the script, as changing his legacy number 39 dunked all over the legend of 12 with his signature smile.
Just when the Lakers thought their dynamic Wilt and West, Magic and Kareem, Shaq and Kobe following dynamic duo of the beard and the brow of LeBron James and Anthony Davis had a big-three like Miami in DeMarcus Cousins, it actually turned out that the Lakers had a big-three Ghidora like post blocking and dunking monster of Davis, Dwight and of course all-time fan favourite, JaVale McGee. But still fans thought that once D.C. came back to Cali’s capital, another head would grow. But now the Lakers have cut it off like a broken leg in the Wild West wilderness this Winter.
The Lakers have waived DeMarcus Cousins before he ever played a single game or before he got the chance to show that he’s still got it like that. But trust he still will as another team will pick him up (if only it was the Lakers next season as DeMarcus talked about how much he liked this brotherhood 1 through 15 before sharing on Instagram his “tough times don’t last. Tough people do” tattoo following the cut). Forget a Howard’s end in redemption, there’s about to be a revenge reunion. Especially if a rival picks him up in these mind games.
Because the Lakers have just played one whilst hopefully not playing themselves. Cousins could have been that Rasheed Wallace like Pistons’ signing after the trade deadline that could have guaranteed them a chip (and do we remember who that Detroit Bad Boys reboot team beat in the finals that season? I will give you a clue. Even adding the Mailman and Glove of Karl Malone and Gary Payton wasn’t enough). Although rumour has it with him rehabbing at the Lakers facility for the rest of the year (this isn’t the first time the Lakes have made a classy move like this. See, Xavier Henry), after this sacrifice he may re-sign with the Lakers this Summer anyway. But now however the Lakers’ have brought in another former Piston to hopefully fuel their assembly line.
After missing out on ‘Melo and Andre Iguodala the Lakers didn’t want to make the same mistake for one of the best on the buyout, even if they have just added the realest to the free agent pool to get him. The hustle and heart of Markieff Morris is exactly the true grit this Hollywood team needs for the playoffs that they have been missing since they didn’t re-up Tyson Chandler.
Bolstering the Caruso and cook-ed up bench and backing-up and giving more three space for Kyle Kuzma. But what’s more like the dreads and headband, Spider-Man pointing match-up of Harkless and Jae Crowder, the Lakers now have a Morris vs Morris brother Hollywood story perfect for their script ending that should see the Battle for Los Angeles Western Conference Finals closing chapter with the Clippers that much more compelling.
Now the L.A. King one-two punches of James and Davis versus Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have more in reserve for Markieff and Marcus matching-up with twin ambition. And it’s going to make for some epic entertainment come playoff time that we can preview at the start of April for the California clash rescheduled after the tragic death of Kobe and GiGi Bryant. And what’s more Marcus says the brothers after playing together for years are going to live in the same house in Los Angeles. That should make for some awkward dinners after we see who is eating come June.
The Lakers have just gained another brother. But in this Fast and Furious league when it’s all about family, don’t forget about your cousins.
Wade In The Rafters. The Heat Rises To 3
How’s this for a Flashpoint in NBA history?
Tonight the Miami Heat gave us ‘The Flashback’. DeLorean riding back to the future of last season. Were Dwyane Wade rocking a red Heat hot bomber jacket that was all “Great Scott” Marty McFly had his number three jersey under all that retired, as the Heat rose his 3 to the rafters in a flash.
After ‘One Last Dance’ for Dwyane last season were he swapped jerseys like trading cards, Wade and his former coach and President Pat Riley watched his last jersey go up past the nosebleeds to the ceilings he smashed, arm in arm like a proud father watching a home video of his sons wedding on the highlights of the jumbotron.
The relationship is exactly like that. Built on a fatherly foundation.
Miami has had a matrimony with Wade from the Chicago towns own All Star start, championship run on his own and then post Bulls and King reunion return to redemption.
Some may say Shaq. 90’s purists Zo Mourning and Timmy Hardaway. Others the greatest of all-time LeBron James forming like voltron with another Heatle that’s about to have his jersey retired, Chris Bosh. But let’s face it when it comes to Miami Heat players and franchise faces, D-Wade is the G.O.A.T.
Legacy. Legacy. L3gacy.
This is the way of Wade. How its been and how it will always been up in the air of those American Airlines. A father first and always part of the Miami family when the South Beach welcomed him like Will Smith, this guy is for life like Bad Boys and the number 3 that Martin Lawrence’s Marcus has framed in his own living room rafter raise for the latest sequel.
What you gonna do?
This was a Florida city union like pink or turquoise neon, or the ’till death do us part loyalty of ‘Bad Boys II’ and ‘LA Finest’ spin-off star Gabrielle Union. The port of Miami Rick Ross rocked the mic and even King James sent a video tribute from his Californian Lakerland as fellow retired club legends Chris Bosh and Ray Allen were in awe attendance.
“Life is good” Wade said like Nas for this two hour special that seemed ready made for an ESPN documentary. 30 for 30 or 3 for 3.
3 in ’03 to infinity for his sweet 16. The sun will never go down on the legendary legacy of Miami’s adopted son.
And in a tragic start to 2020, like Chi guy Wade embracing an emotional Allen Iverson in a Kobe number 8 tribute throwback this moment was the answer to the pain from our prayers.
Now all that is left is one last step to the Hall.