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Take 5, Top 5 All-Star Games of the 2000’s

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Hey now, that’s an All-Star!

If you can’t wait for tomorrows big game, why not ‘Take 5’ and reminisce the five greatest All-Star games of the last decade? From self-assisted dunks to political statements, it’s been a great and important 10 years for the NBA’s favourite, weekend holiday. Now that’s entertainment. Let’s take a look back at the times when amazing really did happen.

DALLAS – 2010

5. NBA history was made last year to the tune of 108, 713 record breaking, screaming fans. It took a couple of Dallas Cowboys to usher these hoop dreamers into an NFL stadium. Dwyane Wade took his deserved MVP award with LeBron James standing right behind him (who would have thought back then?) and with a 141-139 thriller over four quarters it felt like M.J was back in the building. It was Team Jordan that showed the flashes of brilliance however as Wade’s performance looked as good as the half-time show featuring the beautiful Alicia Keys and Shakira. A big, big night all round. The NBA broke new ground with this sell-out as timeless basketball truly touched down. Forget the Superbowl, this was the sporting highlight of the first quarter of 2010.

PHILADELPHIA – 2002

4. Out in Philly where Kobe Bryant was born and raised, the MVP made this court his playground with most of his plays. Despite the boos, Kobe’s 31 point, 5 assist and 5 rebound performance could not be denied. As he took top honours the West cracked the East 135-120 at Philadelphia’s First Union Centre. Home-team hero Allen Iverson may not have turned home-court advantage to a game, set and match, but by donning number 6 in honour of Sixers legend, Julius Erving he served up another special moment in a game of many. This was the last game where the players wore their respective team jerseys, but more importantly Michael Jordan’s first All-Star game since coming out of retirement with his Washington Wizards. Mike played great, but on a break-away run to the basket, floor-Jordan clanged a dunk off the rim for a hilarious and unfortunate moment. Still, when Tracy McGrady passed the ball off the backboard to himself from just beyond half-court and slammed it home he gave the game it’s greatest moment and re-set the trend for dunks and All-Star spectacles to come.

PHOENIX – 2009

3. Nothing beats big-game side-stories and everyone likes a tale of redemption, even if you have to go through a desert to find it. Thanks to the Phoenix Suns, the ‘Big Cactus’, Shaquille O’Neal played on the same team as Kobe Bryant for the first time since their death of a dynasty out in Los Angeles. The last time these two played together in an All-Star game, the two Lakers combined for a Jerry West esque, 44 points, cementing the dynamics of their duo at their home-hosting Staples. Still, a lot had happened since then, but in Phoenix all those past problems dried up as the thought of foes showed they where really friends. Under the coaching of Phil Jackson it all felt like 2001 again as the West took a 19-0 run with Shaq and Kobe on the floor together. The pair combined for the West’s 146-119 drubbing and co-MVP honours, in a story that sounded as good as John Legend’s half-time show.

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NEW ORLEANS – 2008

2. It was a close 134-128 win for the East and LeBron James took the MVP honours with 27 points and was 1 assist and 2 rebounds away from a triple-double. New Boston Celtic player, Kevin Garnett was the top-vote getter while Dwight Howard put on a classic show, re-invigorating and revolutionising the dunk-contest. Yao Ming didn’t play and Kobe Bryant almost joined him on the bench. Still none of this mattered compared to the biggest story of the weekend, where the game was played. New Orleans held the 57th All-Star game in the New Orleans Arena in Louisiana. In a statement of solidarity that then President George Bush couldn’t muster, the NBA showed they really cared, proving it wasn’t just about basketball, or golf for that matter. Now watch their food drives. In return New Orleans as a city, just three years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina proved they where perfect hosts. This wasn’t just one of the best All-Star games it was also one of the NBA’s finest and most proud moments.

ATLANTA – 2003

1. Michael Jordan hit a fade-away jumper over Shawn Marion with 5 seconds to go in overtime putting the East up by a bucket, showing that even with the future of The Matrix, Jordan’s basketball creation was present and correct. In his last ever All-Star game, this signature move looked to score a storybook ending to the most legendary of careers. That was until the heir to the airs throne, Kobe Bryant re-wrote history. As Jermaine O’Neal sent Kobe to the line, Bryant’s killer instinct must have felt a little bit merciful for his hero’s last All-Star moment. Still, Kobe’s no coward and he sent the game into a second overtime, where MVP Kevin Garnett did the rest. Still everything about their thrilling, hard-fought, long 155-145 Western win was classic. From Vince Carter standing aside to let Mike start, to the resurrection of the classic, East and West All-Star jerseys. Even the way the court and the lighting looked gave the evening a vintage feel and as for the basketball itself, timeless.

Now enjoy tomorrow!

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CEBL

Ottawa BlackJacks select Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach

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ottawa blackjacks select osvaldo jeanty as first ever head coach
Ottawa BlackJacks introduce Head Coach Osvaldo Jeanty

The pieces of the puzzle are coming together for the Ottawa BlackJacks basketball team.

The start-up Ottawa basketball professional club named former five-time Canadian University champion Osvaldo Jeanty as the franchise first-ever head coach. General Manager Dave Smart made the announcement on Friday morning following a brief search that always included Jeanty’s name at the top of the list.

“Obviously, Osvaldo and I have had a long history together since he was probably 15 or 14, playing club basketball on the Ottawa Guardsmen to his time at Carleton (as player) and then he was my assistant coach at Carleton”, discussed Smart during the press conference.

“Os and I have worked together from a coach, assistant coach perspective, so I know what he’s about in terms of what his exceptions are, and we’re very much inline in terms of what our expectations are, and he knows how I operate and is comfortable working with me. So I think it’s an obvious fit, it’s and easy fit and we are really excited to start working together and put a team on the floor”, further elaborated the former Carleton Ravens on his selection process.

ottawa blackjacks hire osvaldo jeanty as first ever head coach
Ottawa BlackJacks hire Osvaldo Jeanty as first-ever Head Coach

“It’s the first time he’s called me Osvaldo so many times since I was 15, I’m not really used to it.” a smiling Jeanty opened-up about his longtime head coach and mentor during his introductory speech.

Jeanty + Smart winning combination since the late 1990’s

The duo go back to late 1990’s with Jeanty playing for Smart at the Midget and Ontario Basketball U-19 Provincial teams. Under Smart’s guidance, Jeanty flourished as player helping turn the Carleton Ravens’ basketball program into the powerhouse that it is today.

The Ravens’ won five (2002-2007) straight U Sports men’s basketball championships during their time together as a coach-player combo — with Jeanty earning the Final 8 Jack Donohue championship MVP trophy twice, during his freshman and junior campaigns. A proven winner at all levels, Jeanty turned an outstanding collegiate career into a six year pro career, earning a championship with the Giants Nördlingen of Germany’s ProA league.

Inducted into Carleton Ravens Hall of Fame in 2015 — Jeanty earned an additional two titles as a coaching duo during their three-year (2016-19) stretch.

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Both Jeanty and Smart were featured on the cover of the first-ever Canadian Basketball Magazine on March of 2005.

“I just wanted to say how thankful I am to Dave to Mike (Morreale) to the league for giving me this opportunity, also just for the Ottawa community. I’ve been here since I was six-years old and I appreciate what the community has given to me and the opportunity to be able give back to the community that has been so good to me is something that I’m very thankful for. So thank you and I look forward to really bringing a good product out there for the city, for the team and really representing the league the right way.”

osvaldo jeanty carleton ravens win first ever u sports mens basketball championship in 2003
Mike Smart, Jafeth Maseruka, Josh Porier, Osvaldo Jeanty, Rob Smart and Carleton Ravens win first-ever CIS/U Sports Men’s Basketball Championship In 2003

As for the type of style and brand of the basketball the BlackJacks expect to play — Jeanty offered a glimpse of the same championship formula that has led to many successful moments between the now general manager and head coach tandem.

“He’s put into my head since I was 15, in terms of the keys to winning championships and I tend to follow the same of idea. You defend, you rebound, you don’t turnover the ball over — but at the same time you have 24 seconds on the shot clock so you want to play as fast a possible while not turning over the basketball.”

The attention now turns to rounding out the remaining coaching staff positions and the complex process of putting together a championship calibre team — that will undoubtedly have it’s sights on establishing an early grip on the proudly Canadian made Canadian Elite Basketball League (CEBL) championship trophy.

With the addition of Jeanty to the head coaching ranks the CEBL now features two former Carleton Ravens’ players turned bench bosses. Niagara River Lions head coach Victor Raso also won two national championships as a member of the Ravens.

Coincidentally, Jeanty’s head coaching debut will be against Raso as the Ottawa BlackJacks will kick-off the inaugural 2020 season on the road on May 7th against the Niagara River Lions. The BlackJacks home opener is scheduled for May 14th against the Hamilton Honey Badgers.

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NBA

A Rose For Kuz?

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a rose for kuz
Rose Reunion?

The Rose that grew from the career incasing concrete of a plaster cast, potential legacy ending injury is still in bloom.

Now that’s legendary.

That’s inspiration.

As a matter of fact with the trade deadline nearer than your office one, right now nothing smells better than Pooh.

Currently more than motoring on with the Detroit Pistons in Motown, the rejuvenation of Derrick Rose has already had his redemption season. Howling back with the Minnesota Timberwolves the last 82. But in this one mirroring his prime time stats as a Bull and the next era after M.J. for the Chicago way, it’s still a story as good as a Dwight Howard Hollywood reunion or blazing Carmelo comeback out in Oregon.

And now like the former D12, D. Rose could be heading to the wild west like the one Anthony the Lakers didn’t get in the end (but should of). But like the young core, Ingram, Ball and Hart trade for A.D. is the prize worth the price?

Although Derrick is linked with the 76ers like every superstar over the past few seasons and a reunion with Chicagoland (which Basketball God’s would be the perfect closing chapter to this story that is albeit still being wrote by his own penmanship), the Benjamin Franklin’s are on Rose reuniting with King James although he called his Cleveland time with the classic Cavalier “super awkward”.

Awks.

The former number one, that draft pick and NBA MVP is still most valuable and at 31 is almost a half decade younger than the King. Plus with awesome averages of 18.3 points on 50.3 percent from the field in 25.8 minutes and 5.9 assists per contest this campaign, the guy wants more time and to get out of the elimination standings.

Clockwork and contention could certainly be on the cards for Rose who let’s face it at his age and stage and with the numbers he’s putting up is still a superstar, hate it or love it. He’s been put through the ringer for his career like Bill Simmons or Shea Serrano, but now he’s being called on like Phil Collins to be one of the games greats like the genesis of his association with National Basketball.

So he may just be worth a package deal like your next vacation. Even if the Lakers are offering Kyle Kuzma and Quinn Cook for his services. Can I make a counter offer of Cook, Troy Daniels (great…but underused) and DeMarcus Cousins (although I do want to see how big he can literally get coming back and grunting with former post Pelican powerhouse Anthony Davis)? Throw in Drummond and it’s a go. Like Jerry Seinfeld superimposed into ‘Deal Or No Deal’ by NBC’s ’30 Rock’, “I gotta take that deal!”

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Pair Rose with LeBron and the frontcourt force of Howard and of course Davis then these London Olympic teammates would make for what a couple of five ring contests ago on dry erase would look like a dream team. And it still wakes up notions of one to this date in the 2020 year of Tokyo thanks to Vogels vision. But would the show be giving up too much this time?

“This time”…yeah right!

Quinn Cook has California championship pedigree, splashing with the brothers in Golden State like shopping on Rodeo Drive. And this Warrior has been integral this season. His number 2 from downtown reminding me of the should be retired clutch king Fisher (we can always raise 0.4 to the STAPLES rafters) and making me feel happier about buying a Lonzo Ball statement jersey last year…hey if I wear it under a jacket it looks like I’m cooking up love and representation for Quinn.

And then there’s Kuz.

If the Lakers trade away Kyle Kuzma then they will be giving up the last piece of their incredibly curated young core that is flying with the Pelicans right now. Although how could I forgot about the untouchable, All Star Alex Carushow and the fact that Anthony Davis isn’t calendar far from Larry Nance Jr. and new Jazz 6 man Jordan Clarkson?

Although Rose solves the Lakers perimeter problems and feels in the same prime time as what could be his All Star teammates (how legendary would a Rose/Rondo backcourt be although it’s hard not to know whether to deal him or Cook?), Kuz seems too good to let cruise like Tom. This top gun may have struggled early this season, but he was coming back from injury Lakers Twitter. And recently he’s been that Worthy third option behind the Big Game Magic of James and his Kareem or Shaq to his Kobe number 3 partner, waiting on those Jordan digits next season when the King carries the 6.

30 for 30 putting up “trade this” exclamatory numbers in the dynamic duos absence, even Batman and Robin needed a Nightwing. And as much as Rose could help the new Lake Showtime bloom and grow like fine wine for all of LeBron’s merlot men, you could imagine Kyle making the Lakers pay play after play like a D’Angelo Russell or Julius Randle off the team that draft clever, but trade stupid.

Keep the player. Trade the barber.

Zero to 1. The legend or the future superstar? The choice for this deal is the Kings.

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