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.
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!
Is Howard’s End In Hollywood?
Kobe Bryant mouths this whilst shaking his head in dissing dismay from the baseline whilst staring down Dwight Howard on the other half of the court. Now a Houston Rocket the less than perfect pair have a problem…and it’s all getting flagrant.
Once upon a time in Hollywood with Mike D’Antoni running the show with an ageing Steve Nash, Hollywood’s Laker reality show was playing fantasy, legendary name Basketball again like the time they brought in late in their career legends like Karl Malone and Gary Payton to help raise banners like the point of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or logo of Jerry West. But when they picked up Magic man Dwight Howard who even took Orlando’s Mickey Mouse kingdom on his broad back all the way to the Finals against the Lakers, they expected D12 and KB24 to be the new generation Shaq and Kobe. After all Dwight Howard was a man of steel too.
And oh how they were Shaq and Kobe 2…but in completely all the wrong way. It turned out to be Batman vs Superman without the dawn of a justice league, or even their mothers having the same name. Kobe’s beef with Dwight made his repaired relationship with Shaq look like Japanese cows without the massage and feeding rituals that make their Mamba city namesakes cuts the best in the business…now served in Shaquille’s restaurant with more onion rings. And when they met the following season after the death of another dynasty to be, this time Dwight was the little red corvette and Kobe the brick wall unable to be felled or floored like the one in Berlin. Baptizing him like that time in Orlando with his most dynamic dunk.
Since going from the Orlando Magic to Magic smiles in Hollywood Howard has switched more teams than your 2K partner when you’ve already picked to play as the Lakers. He’s also received his fair share of off court and locker room problems including some chemistry cancer concerns. And even in this off-season, either looking to make some headlines or free agent publicity stunts he’s come out and said he’d be open to returning to the Lakers (…erm) and that Kobe was right (he already knows).
Now most in Lakerland laughed at the social media scoffed idea. Especially with a front-court force more formidable than anything the association has to offer, lead by new big man legend Anthony Davis. Following in the sneaker steps of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Pau to truly be the new Shaq and Kobe with King LeBron James. But when his old New Orleans Pelicans reunited Wildcat brother DeMarcus Cousins went down with another season threatening injury last week the Lakers were forced to look elsewhere already, like filling out their final roster spot with Andre Igudola was a ring of last week’s past, or Carmelo was one long rumored Anthony never meant to be. Bursting the banana boat like a CP3 nix.
And although the Lakers have been linked with the arc of Joakim Noah or the Zaza land of Pachulia and with plenty of other big assets still on the market like Marcin Gortat or Amir Johnson, will we see Dwight Howard eating tacos and yelling with LeBron on Twitter this Tuesday as we all unfollow like too many tweets (my bad)? Bringing Howard back to Hollywood seems sillier than bringing the LaVar Ball show back to this Kardashian town. Because besides they already have the all dunking and blocking JaVale McGee who is worthy of a start with James (42) clapping like throwing up chalk. All as this hair blown out center throws it down again and again, coast to coast in California. But apparently there’s a mutual interest…what is this Tinder? Will this just be the makings of another Michael Beasley or make ’em dance Lance Stephenson meme team? Still the Lakers need more in reserve and Dwight needs this for his revenge to the past years that have taken his career from the red caped sun to being newspaper fodder to each cities equivalent of the Daily Planet. Time to rewrite all those who wrote you off Jimmy Olsen.
Read all about it, at the end of press next week Dwight Howard could be a Los Angeles Laker yet again.
News just in…I can’t believe I’m writing this.
Who would of thought it?
Certainly not Kobe.
But it’s the King’s town now.
And after all in this LeBron ‘Space Jam’ scripted season for the Los Angeles Lakers you know Hollywood loves a redemption story too.
Boogie’s Productions Down Again
Cousins injured again…we can’t relate to that.
When former Sacramento star and New Orleans Pelican DeMarcus Cousins joined the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green Golden State Warriors to begin last season critics dubbed this superteam unfair.
What was unfair however was the ACL injury that kept Boogie sidelined for most of the season and then the quad injury on top of that in the playoffs that made sure the Warriors wouldn’t be dancing in their final chapter in Golden State.
But as D.C. made a Cali move too like the Dubs across the Golden Gate to San Francisco, heading to LeBron’s Lakerland with former frontcourt friend Anthony Davis, what was really unfair is what’s just come out of a practice run this week.
Cousins has tore his ACL again in a horrible twist of fate.
This games God’s people.
When DeMarcus reunited with the same former New Orleans big man that rocked his jersey in beautiful All Star tribute a couple of seasons back when they briefly flew together as Pelicans this Summer, the Lakers furthered their favourite status like tapping that heart on Twitter. Even if the Clippers ended up being the ones that got Kawhi Leonard…and Paul George too for the new battle of Los Angeles, raging against the Lakers Hollywood machine, the Lake Show have the ‘Space Jam 2’ of the King and the ‘brow. Not to mention the difference maker like rising star Kyle Kuzma in the veteran one of Cousins.
Either one of them will blow, or both, as the other will show he’s still got it. Giving the West’s best the biggest force of an interchangeable frontcourt. As the Lakers could either go with the more muscle version of a Tim Duncan and David Robinson twin towers in the Pelican reunited Kentucky Wildcats of Davis and Cousins and ‘Bron. Or the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe of James and A.D. and the one young core star who didn’t get switched for this franchise player in Kuz, who could form a big three if the injured Cousins isn’t already still a part of one. Despite the writing off medical report.
And we haven’t even got to his Kentucky alumni Rajon Rondo led backcourt, or last year’s all dunking and blocking big headband and hair spark JaVale McGee. A gym rat who re-upped after almost going for both the Defensive Player Of The Year and Most Improved Player award in the first month of last seasons 82 campaign.
The Lakers are going to need him and that first wind of last year now more than ever.
Or the California club have some decisions to make for who to put in purple and gold for their almost meant to be final roster spot (DON’T AMNESTY!). Do they still wait for another former Warrior in Sixth Man, defensive legend Andre Igudola? Or do they leave him and the long rumoured other Anthony in Carmelo and pick up another big? Guys like Nené, Amir Johnson, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried, Zaza Pachulia and Marcin Gortat are still on the market like fresh fruit stalls. And even Dwight Howard of all people have expressed (more like blatantly begged for publicity) for a return to Lakerland after his Hollywood divorce.
Because we have no idea when Boogie will be back. Or if he will even be the same player when he returns. Or if he even was before this injury happened. But despite history rewriting so many careers crippled by injury we still believe. We still believe he has superstar status and could be the X-factor difference maker when he returns late in the game to this Hollywood scripted rivalry like he almost was last season in the Finals against Toronto as he flips it. You saw him almost become a Splash Brother with that three, so just you wait until you see him downtown in STAPLES this season when it’s all said and buzzer beater done.
The bridge is far from over.
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