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Volume 72, Issue 97, Wednesday, February 21, 2007


All-Star weekend highlighted by gimmicks, not game

The Hustler 

Eli Jabbe

This year's NBA All-Star Weekend featured what everyone has become accustomed to: inventive dunks at the Dunk Contest, non-stop hot shooting at the Three-Point Shoot-Out and, of course, the Western Conference defeating the Eastern Conference almost effortlessly. 

Saturday night had more of the exciting action fans have come to expect, and it is actually beginning to surpass the popularity of the main event on Sunday.

Houston's own Gerald Green of the Boston Celtics was able to win the dunk contest with several inventive dunks, such as dunking over high-flying little man Nate Robinson, who won the contest last year in Houston, and dunking over a table. 

Green, who was drafted out of high school, paid homage to legendary Celtic dunker Dee Brown. 

Green re-enacted Brown's famous no-look dunk while wearing his jersey, all while leaping over Robinson. Dwight Howard was also creative, dunking while slamming a sticker on the backboard at a reported 12 feet and 6 inches. It's good to see that players have been able to maintain the creativity of the dunk contest's prime years in '80's and '90's. 

The judges for the event were retired dunking elites Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, and Dominique Wilkins, who sat with Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter. All five have won the contest previously. The judges were so impressed with Green's over-the-table dunk that he was awarded with a perfect 50 score.

Meanwhile, the three-point contest features Houstons' nemesis' Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks, as well Gilbert Arenas who is having an MVP season. But it was shooting specialist Jason Kapono that came out victorious. 

Kapono, known for his excellent shooting at UCLA, has struggled to find his place in the pros until this year, where he leads the league in three-point shooting percentage and is averaging 11 points for the Miami Heat. 

After the contests, there was of course, a game to be played. The West cruised to a comfortable lead, building a 20-point cushion in the second quarter. The game really illustrated the gap in the skill level between the conferences. 

The West set a record with 69 field goals and 52 assists en route to a 153-132 win in front of the Las Vegas crowd. It remains to be seen if a team will play in Sin City, but the Kings franchise is rumored to be moving there. 

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