Trew 2 the Game #34: Our-Star Weekend
Thanks to high ticket prices, the Smoothie King Center likely won’t be filled with New Orleans Pelicans fans during much of All-Star Saturday night. That doesn’t take away from this column’s thesis statement: the host team should be more intimately involved with the activities held during All-Star Saturday Night by getting dibs on supplying talent to the events. Let’s go to work.
Karl Malone is the closest thing we got to some sort of home town pride in this one. Ruston is far away from New Orleans, though – both geographically and metaphorically. Unless the Mailman performs in a La Tech jersey, Louisiana will go un-represented.
Why not book former WNBA MVP and LSU Tiger Seimone Augustus? For the “Legend” spot, why not color analyst David Wesley? Or why not go in a different direction entirely and have Austin Rivers and Doc Rivers? Yeah, he’s currently coaching, but he’s more connected to the NBA right now than Tim Hardaway Sr. Speaking of which, any coach should be able to opt into any All-Star Saturday Night event that they want. I’d rather watch Greg Popovich do some gnarly lay-ups than Blake Griffin jump over a commercial.
Jrue Holiday is the most logical person to throw in here, but his injury should just pass his spot on to another Pelican. Tyreke Evans, Austin Rivers or Brian Roberts would all suffice. They’d at least be more of a connection to the city that’s throwing the party than Antetokounmpo, right?
Most importantly, New Orleans demands a chance to make up for this nonsense:
I still love you, Chris Paul. But you added to the list of embarrassing New Orleans Players Participating in All-Star Weekend list which, luckily for you, will forever be topped by Chris Anderson’s Slam Dunk effort no matter what. Even if Jrue Holiday is all “the Sixers welcome you to All-Star Weekend in New Orleans” during the intro. Even if Anthony Davis scores 0 points and has all of his shots blocked by John Wall. Even if Monty Williams shows up to the game on Sunday in only his underwear and Pierre’s old beak. It’s Birdman at the top for life.
Ryan Anderson can’t do the three point contest – or can he? The Pelicans glue guy may not be able to play a full-on basketball game quite yet, but what if his doctor approved his participation in this showcase? What if Ryan Anderson shocked the world by doing the Three-Point Contest while still being injured? Wouldn’t that be the most incredible thing to ever happen in this event? Thank you all for joining me on my never-gonna-happen-in-a-million-years fantasy.
With Anderson out, there’s an easy selection in Anthony Morrow who owns the second best three-point shooting percentage in the NBA. It’s a little too late for this but we should have started a letter writing campaign to get A.M. in. We should have protested. We should have at least hashtag’d something! What were we thinking, Pelicans Nation?! One big demerit for us all.
Slam Dunk Contest
There is nothing wrong with any of the contestants this year. Paul George is doing his “you can be an elite player and still do this” routine. Ben McLemore wants to make a name for himself. John Wall is gonna do his “remember me” thing. Harrison Barnes wants to break the rim off the backboard. Terrance Ross is doing the admirable title defense thing. Damian Lillard is somehow making time to do the dunk contest in between his shift carving meat in the Capitol One Club and DJ’ing at the Howlin’ Wolf.
All that being said, we can’t get one Benson Baller up in here? Al-Farouq Aminu could win some fans over with sort of lengthy-arms based dunk. Why can’t he be involved? Eric Gordon did a dunk contest in his previous life as a Clipper, why not invite him? If Dwight Howard can do the dunk contest, why not Anthony Davis?
I’m excited for the new format – even more excited that it’s debuting in New Orleans. But this contest would be so much more memorable for us if a home town player were given a chance to #TakeFlight. That’s something every host city should be given the chance to do.
New Orleans, this is our time to shine as a host city. Hit the streets and take in as many of the events as you can. A lot of basketball-loving people are going to be visiting a city that most deemed unfit for an NBA franchise for the first time. Give tourists some food and beverage advice. Be proud to live in New Orleans.
We’ve all been a part of one of the most amazing franchise turnarounds. We deserve a weekend to celebrate the NBA. Let’s go all out.