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Five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway guards comedian Kevin Hart at the 2012 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Jack Arent/NBAE/Getty Iamges

Harvard hoops, comedy highlight annual celebrity funfest

Posted Jan 31 2012 1:35PM - Updated Feb 25 2012 9:13AM

2012 Celebrity Game Photo Gallery

By John Schuhmann, NBA.com

ORLANDO -- February has been quite a month for Harvard hoops.

In Cambridge, the Crimson have compiled a 24-3 record and look to be on their way to their first NCAA tournament berth in a long time. While in New York, former Harvard point guard Jeremy Lin has taken the NBA by storm, leading the Knicks back to relevance in the Eastern Conference.

And in the 2012 Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday, former Harvard forward Arne Duncan took Center Court at Jam Session and led the East to an easy 86-54 victory over the West.

Duncan-sanity was in full force, as the U.S. Secretary of Education who played at Harvard from 1987 to 1991, scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the East. His performance overshadowed MVP Kevin Hart's comedy, Vinny Guadagnino's hair, and the reunion of Run TMC.

After a slow start from both teams (with the lockout clearly to blame), the East seized control with a 12-0 run spanning the first and second quarters, sparked by a Duncan assist to WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings.

That run was a harbinger of what was to come for the West. It was a game of runs ... but only for the team in blue, which led by as many as 36 points.

After the first half, Duncan looked like he could be on his way to a quadruple-double. He went into the break with 15 points, five rebounds, four assists and five steals. But East coach Dwight Howard took it easy on his opponent, playing Duncan only 10 minutes after halftime.

In direct contrast to his point guard Hart, Duncan took the game as seriously as he takes standardized test scores (not really). Even with his team up 26 points in the third quarter, Duncan was directing his teammates on where to line up for a free throw.

"I just wanted to win out there," he said. "All I cared about was winning."

Of course, when you have such a one-sided game, there has to be some blame on the other side. West coach Kevin Durant will clearly be taking some heat in the national media in the coming days, but West forward JB Smoove wouldn't throw his coach under the bus after the game.

"He had a nice outfit on tonight," Smoove said. "It was a beautiful suit, beautiful shoes.

"But we went down in flames. A lot of people go down in flames, but we went down in big-time flames. I almost called the fire department myself."

Durant's stock as celebrity coach may be in the decline, but the status of Harvard basketball in clearly on the rise. And Arne Duncan can absolutely take a lot of credit for that.

-- Official event news release

event-history.jpg

2011
MVP Bieber shows off his pro-style game in defeat

Teen superstar Justin Bieber stole the show (and the crowd) by showing off some credible basketball moves with eight points in a losing effort as the East beat the West 54-49 in the 2011 BBVA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Bieber took home MVP honors as voted no by the fans.

2010
Actor Rapaport shines

Michael Rapaport has made a career out of portraying other people in movies and on TV. On Friday night, he pulled off a fair facsimile of a basketball player during the 2010 All-Star Celebrity Game.

Rapaport managed only four points for the West team, but his stifling defense on football star Terrell Owens -- the game's MVP the past two years -- enabled him to steal the MVP from T.O. and get the West a 41-37 win over the East. Owens scored 10 points, leading his team, but had only two after the half.

2009
T.O. does it again

In his day job, Terrell Owens plays wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. When he moonlights as a celebrity basketball player, he's pretty good at receiving, too. Things like alley oops. And MVP trophies.

Thanks to a game-high 17 points (but only one assist -- he's a receiver, not a passer, you know), Owens nabbed the Most Valuable Player trophy by leading the East Sunrisers to a 60-57 win over West Sunsetters at the McDonald's All-Star Celebrity Game at Jam Session on Friday.

2008
Owens, Master P lead team to victory

An NFL star and a hip-hop standout were the driving force behind the win at the 2008 McDonald's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Terrell Owens, star wideout for the Dallas Cowboys, and Master P, a hip-hop impresario, combined for 35 points as New Orleans managed a 51-50 win over the Hornets. Owens scored 18 points -- including a slam dunk -- and received MVP honors while Master P chipped in with 17 points, including a pair of go-ahead free throws with 19 seconds left.

More All-Star History >>

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