Coronavirus may have condensed the 2021 NBA All-star weekend to one night, but oh what a night it was.
Just like 1968.
In the A the Greek Freak of Giannis Antetokounmpo took home yet another deserving MVP. His 35 points on 16-for-16 from the field was the first perfect shooting night in an All-star game since Hal Greer went 8 for 8 in ’68.
Team LeBron were crowned again as all the Kings men bested Team Durant 170-150, for how the West won against the beasts of the East.
Next up for number 23 this summer is some Monstars.
Giannis may not have had his own team this year, but he still took home the best player of the game hardware. Durant’s debut team may not have managed to dethrone LeBron, but he’s building his own super-team of All-star’s with the Nets. Brooklyn wins again. Picking up Pistons bought out big Blake Griffin to go with their big-three of K.D., Kyrie and James Harden.
We all know what team they were on in the ATL. Durant even managed to nab Anthony Davis in the All-star Draft from the King. To be fair however AD was on the injured list whilst ‘Bron was playing mind games with the Clippers. Picking his rival Paul George like the purple and gold wish they could have done a few summers ago.
Injuries kept many All-stars out this weekend. Even the snubbed ones who finally got their due like Devin Booker, who was eventually replaced for a deserving Mike Conley of the league leading best record Utah Jazz. It’s been a long time coming.
Sadly after coming into contact with a barber who contracted COVID-19 the cheese of Philly Ben Simmons and season MVP favourite Joel Embiid had to sit out like their injury plagued rookie campaigns with the Sixers. A fresh shave led them to being cut due to contract tracing.
The game and night was still so much fun though. Everything crammed into one tight schedule made for all killer, no filler viewing. Trailblazing Portland slammer Anfernee Simons kissed the competition goodbye like he almost did the rim in the Dunk Contest. Although nothing was topping Obi Toppin tomahawking over both his teammate (first time and richly earned All-star Julius Randle) and his own pops, streetball legend Dunkers Delight. Even if Simon said, “it’s over” in a throwback T-Mac Raptors jersey. These days fans may care about the Dunk Contest as much as they do new Kings Of Leon albums (check out ‘When You See Yourself’ out now), but that doesn’t mean they don’t still rock.
Handling the “rock well like Van Exel”, Pacer Domantas Sabonis won the Skills Challenge in his very own All-star jersey which looked a lot like his very own franchises Pacer one. Then making his grand return after five years, Steph Curry with THE shot asked everyone in the Three-Point Contest who was coming in second place as he let it fly like the Bird he’s now soared above for greatest of all-time from behind the perimeter line.
The Chef cooked up all sorts of recipes from downtown during the actual game itself. The only one who looked like he was having more fun was The Joker of Nikola Jokic himself. Curry turning to look at the bench before his shot twined it’s way through the net like only Nick Young wish he could was turnt all the way up. Just like when people wrote him off earlier this season in The Bay and he splashed back with 62. As an aside, you just have to love the votes for his injured brother Klay, even though he couldn’t play.
Stephen and a blazing hot Damian Lillard looked like they were bringing H.O.R.S.E. back to the All-star weekend from the logo, as no stranger to that range, Captain King James kept coaxing them with daring passes.
In the end it was Dame-Time who called game with a pneumatic deep-three that felt automatic (for him…it is) to ice the game at the buzzer. Hitting the target score of 24 more than their total over three quarters in honour of Kobe Bryant. Dame Dolla pulling up before waving goodbye with a winning shot for the King dynasty racked them up. His 32 points to go with Curry’s 28 helped raise $300,000 for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Team Durant, led by breakout year Bradley Beal’s 26 in a balanced counterattack played for the United Negro College Fund. Both organisations represented on the blue and yellow jerseys received a $500,000 contribution from the NBA.
Atlanta like it’s Club 112, Jermaine Dupri and Ludacris music scene may have been a city of hoop stars as bright as Hollywood ones tonight, but decked out in an iconic HBCU court designed by it’s alumni the NBA showed us once again Black Lives STILL Matter like they always have and always will.
Marching forward, black excellence took the biggest stage of the year on a court canvas that did its history proud in a month that celebrates it like we always should.
Next stop for the four in a row victorious Team LeBron going forth is King James’ old Ohio land of Cleveland. Expect the 2022 All-star weekend to be a royal flush of a homecoming.
Get ready to witness history in the next chapter of his story.