Waking up the city that never sleeps, last week Basketball uzz was in the Big Apple, taking a bite out of the core of NBA New York hoops.
Last Tuesday saw a hometown derby day between the struggling, but star studded Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. But the Sunday before all that saw a weekend worth of games starting at around 3 in the afternoon as the B.K. and N.Y.C. took on the East beasts Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat respectively.
Believe me with an epic double header and a subway system that saw enough minutes remaining to make it from one game to a half 7 tip-off other, the buzz on this scene was one forecasting a formidable day and date on the hardwood. It was more than just a preview of potentially half the Eastern Conference playoff, match-up scene. It was also a showtime showcase of some of the best players this great NBA league has to offer.
It was also a look at some of the associations most amazing arenas. This writer as a vacation veteran of N.Y. was used to following the Nets around the Meadowlands of New Jersey, but finally saying hello to Brooklyn saw where all that Russian and rap money went. In possibly the leagues strongest stadium, this place-or should I respell and add an ‘a’ to this anagram-palace has all the modern tools, from snack stops to bar tops. There’s even an awesome GQ barbershop where you can get your haircut like cover stars like Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey. The perfect place to have a postgame trash, talk. This place is so ahead of its time even the mannequins are Kim Cattrell real. If only the actual Brooklyn Nets weren’t standing still in those sleeved, cut above the rest, blue Brooklyn Knights jerseys. Big names like Deron, Kevin and Joe couldn’t get going. So it was up to Jack In The Box (that has to be his new nickname), Jarret Jack to make his 12 point, 4 rebound and 4 assist ‘Sixth Man Of The Year’ case. As Pau Gasol’s 25 and 13 made the former Laker’s championship changer certified, a new star continues to evolve under Rose’s Bulls in Jimmy Butler who was at Chicago’s service, scoring 26 as the Bulls stampeded the new Nets and showed them their own 102-84 door.
Still in this NBA there’s no arena like the Mecca, , especially with its lick of platinum white paint. There’s also no team in New York like the Knickerbockers. Especially with former championship player and Bulls and Lakers coach Phil Jackson up in the front office, running the triangle with his old Laker guard Derek Fisher as coach. Still even with a skillful and speedy point in Jose Calderon the triangle look like the Bermuda to a Knicks tape that is unraveling like old cassettes in your boombox deck. This is why even 31 from a spasm suffering Carmelo and a 19/12 double STAT from Stoudemire couldn’t sustain the Heat from an old rival Miami team. Without LeBron, Bosh shone to the box-score tune of 20, while Luol Deng went for 10 twice in points and boards. Still after missing 7 games, Dwyane Wade showed it was his world like 2007 as he scored 27 points, a lucky 13 of which came in the fourth that ended the game 86-79, in the Heats Knick cooled off favour.
From Brooklyn to Manhattan, New York basketball may not have won that night but every fan did in a city so hoops famous they had to play twice. Even if they’re playing like the New York lottery right now the ball fell the way for the best day in basketball this side of the Rucker. Heaven may be a playground, but in this day in the city it was blessed on the wood and grain.
Lets hear it for the concrete jungle!
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.
Chicago, All-Star 2020 blows in the Windy City for Kobe
Like Eliot Ness, that’s what Common’s city of Chicago is when it comes to this court. All greatest of all-time thanks to the statue outside the United Center that they have to bring in from the cold when ice gets in it’s cracks like the veins of new Minnesota Timberwolves cold front player, D’Angelo Russell (he should be here. These lost Lakers are just glad Brandon Ingram is). Forming a duo with Karl-Anthony Towns as dynamic as that one of Star Marbury and the uncut gem of Chi-towns own Kevin Garnett heading for the Hall.
And just like the Big Ticket, the Rose that grew from concrete and the way of Wade who was moved to tears, the rapper slash actor, author and Microsoft poet Common (who fittingly won MVP of the Celebrity Game in his city. Even after Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith said “c’mon Common you can’t even dunk donuts in coffee” after giving Dwight Howard’s athletically graceful, camera flash freeze, cheese smile, spin dunk an 8 (Kobe?)) put on for his city like Barack Obama and of course the statue of the G.O.A.T. M.J. with a poetic rap that waxed lyrical on hoops history and it’s nuanced nostalgia.
Shouting out the real King MLK and Kobe before Magic made a moving speech, all players behind him dressed in warm-up white and Jennifer Huston brought the not a dry eye in the arena, house down with her tribute that beat the hardwood like the commercial Dr. Dre one for this California love in Chicago, like the National Anthem of treasure Chaka Khan in a 23 jersey.
Common also had rhymes for each player introduction for all those who would take to the floor dribbling across the Chicago skyline, as he rocked the mic like fellow Chicagoland legend Chance The Rapper halftime and injured All-Star Dame Lillard, who still got to play this weekend as Dame D.O.L.L.A. The first player to perform on this stage of Basketball’s Grammy’s, bringing out ‘Tha Carter’ himself Lil’ Wayne and a Mamba Forever leather that we all want to cop for this year’s Winter jacket.
From saying “Sixteen-time all-star, three-time NBA champion/ We continue to witness his reign / One of the greatest to play the game/ From the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James”, to “A four-time all-star / He handles the rock like Gibraltar / From the Boston Celtics / Give it up for Kemba Walker”.
But hey, I’ve got one for you all, “like the Beard and the Brow he runs the show/so where the f### is Alex Caruso”.
But to the beat of his own raps and his milk carton brother Kanye, even if every event was set off by the “GO” vocal of guitar hero John Mayer on his Common collaboration with ‘Jesus Is King’ walking God, Mr. West (from the bam, bam Bam Adebayo BAM Skills Challenge bucket win. To the Buddy Hield buzzer beating on the last ball of the last rack, Devin booking, beating and winning the Three-Point Shootout (still one of the best and most underrated events of the weekend)), this night of all the All-Stars was all about the one who should have been in the crowd cheering with his daughter courtside.
From Superman, Dwight Howard returning and bringing back the red cape out of the phone booth, with 24 on the chest, to Man Of Steel and former Lex Luthor like enemy Shaq filming on that old camcorder again. In one of the best but most controversial dunk contests that saw an all 50 and 7-foot-5 Tacko leaping Aaron Gordon robbed again like when he cleared the mascot (seriously I don’t mean to leap to conclusions, but these guys need to get over jumping over things…literally. Only Leonardo DiCaprio gets over this many people).
This time by the South Beach, bringing the Heat in the Windy City, tornado storm of Derrick Jones Jr. Air Gordon won’t be back (thanks for that judges. Dwayne Wade said in the Skills Challenge his mind can be changed…ain’t that the truth), but let’s hope the backboard ball touching, Woody Harrelson Venice Beach wear honoring Pat Connaughton will be. Because white men can jump too in an epic exciting weekend of Chicago, 2020 that in the Olympic year of Tokyo, 2020 showed all the world’s a Basketball stage like the Rising Stars game (Konichiwa Hachimura).
For the main event of the biggest weekend on the schedule itself Team LeBron all wore number 2 on their blue jerseys for GiGi and Team Giannis 24 forever for Kobe (a bald Khris Middleton even sometimes from the nose bleeds making it look like Mamba was there…which spiritually he was like his mentality), to another LeBron like Kobe dunk running the floor like Bean and the 24 second shot clock that decided the fourth quarter of an entertaining All-Star Game that was more than the legendary lay-up line and was actually a competitive affair.
That’s just what happens when you win the game on a free throw (157-155, King over Freak) as Laker and hometown Chicago hero Anthony Davis did the honors after filling the stat sheet with the game on the line. But, the All-Star MVP now beautifully renamed the Kobe Bryant award went to another Los Angeles King in Clipper Kawhi and his 30 points. Who dedicated his award to the late legend it’s named after, as fans had their fill of their favourite weekend of the mid-season they love like the hearts of a mid-Feb Valentine.
Just don’t ask him what he had for dinner.
For Team LeBron. For Kobe. For GiGi.