NBA.com is going Hollywood for All-Star 2004, and throughout the weekend we'll be keeping you abreast of the developments around town with our running blog. Updated several times daily -- and more frequently during the events -- the NBA.com All-Star Blog
will keep you informed of the latest happenings on and off the court, photos, video, fresh content, Q&As with players and celebs and much more.
"Can You Dig It?"
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 12:08 p.m. ET
This man is your 2004 NBA All-Star MVP.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
We knew this before we arrived this week, but Sunday confirmed what we were thinking: This is Shaq's town and we're just visiting.
From his parties to his charity work, Shaquille O'Neal has been the consummate basketball celebrity this week. And he topped off his near perfect week with an MVP performance in the 2004 All-Star Game.
Not bad for a "scrub" off the bench.
Shaq not only had 24 points and 11 boards to help the West to a 136-132 win over the East in the 53rd All-Star Game, but most of those points came on eight ferocious dunks, including his final slam -- one so vicious that he bent the front of the rim.
(As of this posting, we claim it's STILL bent. It is, we checked. Honest!)
Yes, he left his mark on this game in more ways than one.
Some other quick All-Star thoughts.
More Shaq here. After one play, Shaq, himself an American Idol, fell into Ruben Studdard's arms. What did one big fella say to another?
"Ruben is a great guy," Shaq said. "It was just one of those things that I do to make people remember me. He was there and I just jumped on him. I was having a good time."
The dunking throughout the game was simply incredible. Alley-oops of all flavors, no-look, off-the-glass, off-the-glass-to-yourself. I know some people don't like the emphasis on dunking, but when done in the context of the game like it was in this game, it can be thrilling.
I think Michael Redd has arrived. Not only did he play well, but when the East was down three with 24 seconds left in the game, he got the East's last good look at the basket. He missed, but he wasn't shy. Next year, Michael.
I feel a little bit bad that L.A. natives Paul Pierce and Baron Davis were on the bench for the stretch run.
Tracy McGrady may have had the most highlight-filled game of the night. That two he hit in KG's grille to put the East up 129-127 was just cold-blooded. Chlling.
The STAPLES Center is not a bad place to watch a game. People have called it soulless and cavernous, but it's not a barn and the people don't get enough credit for how well they know their hoops. (I credit my boss Mark Haubner with the last observation. Who the heck am I to argue?)
Jamaal Magloire, nice work by you. You did well with 19 points and eight boards. Hell yes, you are an All-Star.
Kobe, you too. You had 20 on 9-for-12 shooting, but you were overshadowed by Shaq again. Now, will you stay in L.A.?
Kudos, also to Brad Miller. He played the fewest minutes of all the All-Stars (10) but was 4-for-5 with eight points. Tough to get burn behind Shaq and Yao, though. Way to make the most of your time, sir.
LeBron, 'Melo, see you next year on Sunday. In the meantime, thanks for that show on Friday. That was a great way to start off the weekend.
A tip of the hat to NBA Entertainment for, well, the entertainment. Beyonce, OutKast, Christina Aguilera, heck even the Chicago Bulls Bucket Boys. It was all good, very good.
We noticed that Paris Hilton is polite. As she and Nick Carter were leaving the arena just before the end of the game (how very L.A.), she walked past Bill Russell and said: "Hope you have a happy birthday." Paris, we'll save you some cake.
And Shaq, in answer to your question: Yes, yes we dug it very, very much. Thanks for being such a good host. It was our privilege. See you next year in Denver.
Heading for a Close Finish
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 11:14 p.m. ET
Michael Redd sails past Kevin Garnett for two.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
Well, it looked as if Jamaal Magloire may have been headed to an MVP performance. But wait, look up in the sky, it's a bird! It's a plane! It's...
Two Lakers. Shaq has scored 20 to lead the West, while Kobe has added 18 to help out.
More soon, we have 5 minutes left on the clock.
Jay Williams and Victor Williams
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 10:50 p.m. ET
Jay Williams joined the NBA All-Star Blog at halftime.
Bryan Williams/NBAE/Getty Images
(We interrupt this blog to let you know someone asked Star Jones to marry him. She said yes. And the size of the rock she just received ... yikes!)
King of Queens star Victor Williams (quite possibly the nicest person, ever) stopped by to chat with the NBA.com All-Star Blog.
Who do you think should be MVP so far?
"Right now, if the East wins, Jamaal Magloire is putting up some points. So, I think maybe him. Surprisingly, yes. But if it's the West, it's definitely has to be Yao Ming.
"See what I'm saying (after a Magloire dunk)."
Any thoughts on who's going to win the game?
"I think the West is going to start pulling away now. The East has been making it interesting, but the West is too lodaded. I think we'll see them pour it on toward the end."
Who's the best dunker in the game?
"At first, I thought it was Vince Carter, he had a couple of sick dunks in the first half.
T-Mac has had a couple good dunks in the second half."
How do you think this compares to Friday's Rookie Challenge?
"That's a good question. I think this is because the All-Star Game is the best of the best, so it's better. But there's something to be said for youthful exuberance. I liked the way it was so loose and laid back on Ffriday. It was fun to watch."
What's been the best musical performance?
"It's gotta be Beyonce. I think OutKast from top to bottom was better, but Beyonce finshed it off pretty strong. I love the finale with the giant TV screen."
Did you get a piece of Bill Russell's birthday cake?
"No, it's funny it's a great-looking cake. I don't what's in it -- chocolate, vanilla -- it looks so good you don't want to cut it."
Who's your favorite old-school player?
"For my money, I gotta go with Bill Russell, cake or no cake. There are players who you like because you wish you could do what they do, and then there are players that you love, that if I were a great player, I would pattern my game after that guy. And that would have to be Bill Russell. I would have been a great defender and rebounder. I could easliy hold Shaq to 10 points."
Do you ball? If so, how good are you?
"You can't ask me that. (Laughing). Let's put it this way, there's a reason I'm an actor and not a ballplayer. I had aspirations to play for the University of North Carolina. I got to college and was riding the bench for a Division III school -- Binghamton University. When you ride the bench at a D-III school, you know you gotta give up the dream.
Any celebrity sightings?
More than one, Jigga-Man, Jay-Z. Alicia Keys. Will Smith. And Kenny "The Jet" Smith. I went to the party the other night and that was huge for me because, because he was a big-time NYC ballplayer when I was growing up.
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 10:25 p.m. ET
Jay Williams stopped by at halftime, see what he had to say about All-Star Weekend.
What have you enjoyed the most about this weekend?
Williams: "The best thing about this weekend is the inspiration it's given me to get back to where I've dreamed about being all my life."
Who do you think is going to win the All-Star Game?
Williams: "It's weird, everyone figured the West would dominate, but I personally think the East is going to win. Their style of play is a lot faster, and even though the West has a lot of bigger people who can dominate down low, the All-Star Game is a faster-paced game, so I think that's why they'll pull it off."
Any thoughts on All-Star MVP?
Williams: "I really haven't seen anyone that's dominated the game yet. I think that'll be shown in the second half. I love the fact that Kobe doesn't want to be embarrassed in this game, and he's going to step up to the plate no matter what."
How is your rehab coming along?
Williams: "It's going well. It's kind of like a 9-to-5 job; it's something I do every day. I'm doing everything from learning to walk again to learning to run and push off of one leg. It's rough, but that's what I need to do to get back to where I was before, and where I ultimately need to be."
Who do you think is going to make the Final Four this year?
Williams: "Of course I'm biased, but Duke is going to get to the Final Four this year. There's so much parity in college basketball this year, though. A lot of sleepers, not only in the ACC, but around the country. UNC-Charlotte has beaten some good teams; even St. Joseph's being ranked No. 3 in the country. It's going to be an amazing tournament."
What do you think of your Blue Devils this season?
Williams: "I think they're good, but like I said before, even though they're very well-coached, on any given night anybody can beat anybody. Not just this year, but every year. Look at the team I played on three years ago, two guys, me and Mike Dunleavy, went in the top five of the Draft and another guy (Carlos Boozer) was taken as well, but we still didn't win it."
Have you hung out or talked to Carlos Boozer this weekend?
Williams: "I hung out with him the first and second nights, but he went back early to relax before the season started up again."
Who would be your pick for Rookie of the Year so far?
Williams: "As I slowly grit my teeth ... I think it has to be split. Look at Carmelo Anthony and all he's done to lift Denver to a winning season so far. But at the same time, look at LeBron and his numbers. I think it has to be split this year."
Who's your favorite basketball announcer?
Williams: "Of course everyone would say Dickie V., and he is one of my favorite announcers. But as far as the best announcer I think I've ever heard, I'd have to say Jay Bilas.
And there's no Duke bias there?
Williams: "No Duke bias at all."
Who's your MVP for this season?
Williams: "I personally will have to say the jersey on my back right now. The Big Ticket (Kevin Garnett). I love him. I also love what Kobe does out on the floor -- I love the way those two play -- but I'll have to say the Big Ticket. Just look at his numbers. If only I was 6-11!"
He's Jamaal That!
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 10:15 p.m. ET
West All-Stars Kevin Garnett, Steve Francis and Tim Duncan line up before the 2004 NBA All-Star Game.
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images
OK, halftime was hot. You can't go wrong with Beyonce, though as my colleague Jen Nelson pointed out that: "I hope there were rubber soles at the bottom of all those silver heels dancing on the court."
Good point, sneakers only from the second half on.
But, we'll let Beyonce slide just this once.
Anyway, nice half by the "smaller" East. Jamaal Magloire led the way with 12 and Vince Carter had nine for the guys East of the Mississippi. For the West, Shaq and KG had eight apiece and Kobe added seven.
We'll see if someone else emerges as an MVP candidate.
By the way, we had three favorite dunks in the first half: AI to Vince (the first one), Kidd to K-Martin (no look, no less) and T-Mac to himself off the glass on an angle (my pick for No. 1). It could have been better than the one he pulled off in Philly.
Things seen at halftime: Bill Russell talking to Kobe and Jermaine O'Neal coming over to Russell to say, "Hi."
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 9:35 p.m. ET
(Note: Everyone has now played in the game.)
Send your questions to Bulls guard Jay Williams. We'll be talking to him at halftime.
The MVP of the game so far? Jamaal Magloire. He has 10 points, a couple of rebounds and a block. Nice work for a guy some people said shouldn't be here. Magloire's play is doing the talking.
Referee Blaine Riechelt took part in the timeout action, throwing T-shirts into the stands.
Whenever they play music to go with the court action, Big Boi grooves to it. And no one got a bigger ovation than the Chicago Bulls Bucket Boys. They were simply incredible.
Interesting trash talk on the court, Kobe to Michael Redd, who crossed over on Kobe: "I'm going to take that the next time."
Hey, Ya! The All-Stars Are Ready
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 9:05 p.m. ET
Joumana Kidd, Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin on the red carpet.
Matt Brown/NBAE/Getty Images
Happy Birthday, Bill Russell. Kelly Clarkson serenaded him and the Lakers girls presented him with a cake between quarters.
The East, thanks to Jamaal Magloire -- JAMAAL MAGLOIRE! -- lead at the end of one. His block of Shaq's running one-hander and bucket at the end of the first quarter gave the East a 33-31 lead. Way to represent Canada, Jamaal.
My colleague Jen Nelson has it right when she wrote this -- "I think Jason Kidd is enjoying having a teammate in the All-Star Game for the first time." -- right after he threw a no-look alley-oop to Kenyon Martin, which is in the running (next to two AI to Vinsanity) for the best duo dunk in the game.
Kidd is playing really well early.
At the start of the second quarter, Michael Redd, Baron Davis, Brad Miller and Andrei Kirilenko have not gotten any burn.
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 9:05 p.m. ET
(We interrupt this blog to mention that Andre 3000 just sat right in front of us.)
All right, here are the highlights so far.
The game has some nice pace and isn't as sloppy as most All-Star Games at the beginning. Yao Ming has had the best game so far through the first seven minutes with six points, including a couple of nice dunks.
(We interrupt this blog to mention that Big Boi just sat next to Andre 3000 who had just sat right in front of us.)
But the best flush so far, AI off the glass to Vinsanity. That had everyone up out of their seats.
We'll see if we can get more of those.
And as I wrote that, Kobe picked off a pass and went the lenght of the floor for a nice flush.
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 8:42p.m. ET
OK, so the All-Stars got the red carpet treatment, as is the wont out here in Los Angeles.
And then they received the OutKast treatment as Andre 3000 belted out "Hey Ya!" before Eastern Conference introductions. Definitely the entertainment highlight so far. Paris Hilton and Nick Carter, who are sitting courtside in front of us, bobbed along with the song.
(And by the way, the strangest seating arrangement has NBA great Bill Russell sitting next to Carter, not Vince, but Nick.)
Then, we liked the way OutKast moved as Big Boi belted out the "The Way You Move." And, yes, Big Boi, we can feel that B-A-S-S bass!
We also liked the way Ron Artest and Allen Iverson moved as they boogied along with "Move."
As for the Western Conference intros, Shaq and Kobe received the loudest and warmest ovations, while Sacramento's Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic got the boo birds.
Fans, don't forget, we're here at STAPLES Center for the 2004 NBA All-Star Game. Follow with us all game!
Sue, Swin and the All-Stars
Posted by Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 8:15 p.m. ET
Sue Bird and Swin Cash made their way into the All-Star Weekend blog.
Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Before the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, WNBA All-Stars and college teammates Swin Cash and Sue Bird took some time to chat with us, which we greatly appreciated. Here's what they had to say.
What have been the best moments of the weekend so far, on the court and off?
Sue: "For me the best moments were the celebrity game, playing for P. Diddy and Paris Hilton and watching the dunk contest, even though I felt like it could have ended a lot better. Off the court, the Players Association party was the best. They had good performers, it was just tough to get in, that was the only downside."
Swin: Off the court for me, it was getting an opportunity to interview all the players as I was working for Mad Sports on BET. On the court, I'd have to say the three-point contest was exciting."
Who's the best celebrity you've seen?
Sue: "Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore."
Any celebrity you are looking forward to seeing today?
Sue: "I hope Justin Timberlake shows up."
What NBA player gets your best-dressed award for the weekend?
Swin: "Cuttino Mobley."
Sue: "Yeah, me too."
What musical acts are you looking forward to and who has been the best so far?
Sue: "I want to see Outkast and Beyonce."
Swin: "Me too, and also R. Kelly last night [at the party] was awesome."
How does this compare to last year's NBA All-Star in Atlanta?
Sue: "I think this year's All-Star is much better just because the traffic, if you can believe it, is much better in L.A. than
Swin: "It's more spread out than Atlanta was, but the traffic's definitely not that great."
What are your predictions for today -- winner, score and MVP?
Sue: "Winner is going to be the West, 120-115. MVP Shaq."
Swin: "Winner is going to be the East, 115-110. MVP Kevin Garnett."
Sue: "Didn't that happen last year? We're talking this year."
Swin: "Repeat, repeat."
Sue: "Live in the now."
Swin: "Don't hate."
Sue: "Don't make me blow up your spot here on NBA.com."
If you could add one player to the team, who else would you want to see out there today?
Sue, you're from New York, which is better east coast or west coast basketball?
Sue: "New York has the best basketball in the country, hands down."
Swin: "We're talking about coasts, not New York vs. the rest of the country, but New York does have great basketball."
What have been the other highlights of this weekend?
Swin: "Getting the opportunity to meet some of the players I hadn't met before, and I was amazed by how much they knew about the WNBA and women's basketball."
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 15 2004 6:09 p.m. ET
Nona and the late Marvin Gaye performed the National Anthem as a duet on Saturday night.
Vince Bucci/Getty Images/NBAE
Hey, fans, we're here early at STAPLES Center and oh, the things we've seen already. Nelly Furtado, who is singing "O! Canada", performed a soundcheck.
Then, Christina Aguilera, who's performing the National Anthem, arrived for her soundcheck. The P.A. announcer asked everyone to clear the floor for the rehersal. Out strutted Christina in a white robe, black baseball cap and stylish white sneakers, kind of like she was just called out of the shower.
Her rendition of the anthem will be interesting, like the anthem with Nona and Marvin Gaye last night. I won't tell you how Aguilera's is different, but make sure you catch it tonight at 8 ET on TNT.
Catching up with the Winners
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 12:09 p.m. ET
Magic Johnson, Baron Davis and Voshon Lenard, winners on Saturday night.
The first words Fred Jones, who was wearing a Michael Jordan McDonald's All-American jersey, heard when he came into the empty STAPLES Center after his win in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest: "Yo, bro! You might be the most famous man in America," said one friend.
"Hello, this is Jay Leno," said another.
Jones' family and friends waited for him to emerge from the locker room and greeted warmly.
That may have been the coolest thing, next to actor Mark Curry collecting discarded slam dunk scorecards.
In addition to Jones, we also caught up with the winners of the various competitions on Saturday. First, L.A. native Baron Davis who won the 989 Sports Skills competition.
Another guy who knows something about stardom, Magic Johnson, who helped the Lakers win the inaugural Radio Shack Shooting Stars competition.
And finally, Jones and his partner in flight time, Brandon Brooks talked to us.
Out of the Crowd
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 11:13 p.m. ET
Jason Richardson just missed his third consecutive Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk win.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
Who was that guy that helped Fred Jones on his second dunk of the second round?
That was Brandon Brooks from Portland, who played high school and summer ball with Jones.
Q: How did you guys come up with that plan?
Brooks: "We were just talking about it yesterday. I was supposed to stand up here (on the second tier), but they didn't want to let me by. So, I went up around and got closer. He was supposed to make it, but we're just happy he got the 'W.'
As for Jones, this is what he said after: "He put it on the money, I just couldn't get a handle on it. We've never done it before, it was something we just came up with today in practice."
Brooks: "In our old gym we would throw it off the back wall, but we're not able to do that because this is an arena. That's where we the thought of it the pass from the stand from the All-Star Game."
Jones reached wayyyyy back for his first of the second round.
Richardson, uh, got a lot of chances. If the ... What's this? Someone from the crowd wearing a No. 20 Pacers jersey participating? Excellent! Too bad he couldn't get it down. People were not pleased.
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 10:45 p.m. ET
Ah, a good dunk, it brings people out of their seats and makes them make the "stink face." You know, the one where you wrinkle the nose, throw your hands up and say, "Oooh!"
RIchardson's second dunk -- off the glass, between the legs gave everyone the stink face.
Off the board 360 for Ricky Davis? Not bad, too bad he missed it. That replacement, the 360 windmill was nice though -- 45. Not bad.
The fans gave the judges the bidness after Andersen only received a 42.
A 50 for Fred Jones? Well, that's impressive. The crowd thought that was a bit high.
Jason Richardson's out-of-bounds went over well, but I have a feeling that's just a warmup.
We've had more NBA (and WNBA stars) join celebrity row: Michael Redd, Jamaal Magloire, Carmelo Anthony, Brad Miller, Kyle Korever, Nikki Teasley and Cheryl Ford.
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 10:20 p.m. ET
Uh, Chris Andersen
's hair. You'll see.
I don't know about you, but Ricky Davis looks a little bit like OutKast's Andre 3000.
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 10:04 p.m. ET
The three-point King is dead. Long live Voshon Lenard
Congrats to Peja, who had a great run as champ.
Send your questions for the Saturday Night winners -- Voshon Lenard for the three-point shootout -- now!
AI let out a little scream after Korver finished with 13 in the second round. Gotta say this about AI, he's a great teammate.
Allen and AI have been talking a little trash about Rashard Lewis and Korver.
Sam Cassell has picked up the cause for Peja Stojakovic. After the two-time defending champ hit the last rack -- all five shots -- Cassell shouted at Allen: "And that's a bad round for him!"
Cuttino Mobley, not a bad first round -- 13 points. But then came Kyle Korver, who nailed 10 -- 10! -- in a row and had Allen Iverson out of his seat from the first rack.
Poor Chauncey Billups.
Some things overhead near NBA celebrity row.
Billups to AI in his Doug Williams throwback: "Man, that is hot."
Ray Allen discussing the finer points of the three-point shootout to Usher.
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 10:25 p.m. ET
Derek Fisher, Lisa Leslie and Magic Johnson, winners of the inaugural Radio Shack Shooting Stars competition, celebrate.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
Rob here. "American Idol" Ruben Studdard turned the STAPLES Center into the quiet storm us between the 989 Sports Skills Challenge and the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout. Something smooth for Valentine's Day.
The row in front of us is filling with NBA stars. AI, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Usher (not an NBA star, but a musical one) have taken their places.
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 9:25 p.m. ET
here. OK, OK, I know I'm not supposed to say this, but we were kind of rooting for Earl Boykins. He told us in our Saturday Night preview
that he had a surprise in store if he had enough time and big lead, but we'll have to wait to see if Boykins can dunk. He lost in the first round.
Next year, Earl.
Ray Allen just walked in wearing quite possibly the nicest suit ever -- a black, five-button number with white pinstripes and a white and silver tie. Very nice. Probably cost more than I make in a year.
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 9:12 p.m. ET
Allen Iverson, "AI" to those in the know, is sporting a Doug Williams Tampa Bay Buccaneers throwback jersey. Sweet. Check out the photo later in our "10 Cool Things" feature.
And the Chicago Bulls Bucket Boys, drummers on buckets, did as well as anything in the movie "Drumline." They received a rousing ovation.
Posted by Rob Peterson & Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 9:09 p.m. ET
Rob says: Adding the halfcourt shot, always a favorite at All-Star practices, was a stroke of genius. Whomever thought of that should get a raise. (I wish I could take credit.)
Jen says: "John Salley: Best Damn Three-Point Shooter? I don't think so." Jen, of course, went you to know she said this with a wink. ;-) She doesn't hate John Salley.
Rob says: And the Lakers win everything, even the exhibitions. "Ain't no pressure in my own building," said Derek Fisher, the man who sank the halfcourt shot to win it for the Lakers team.
Who sank the halfcourt shots? For the Clippers, it was Marko Jaric. For the Pistons it was John Salley, who did so only after he built a brick mansion. And for San Antonio it was Jennifer Azzi, who according to NBA Blog Squad member Rebecca Lobo: "Jen Azzi is tied with Ray Allen for best calf muscles in pro sports."
Can't argue with that.
As for TNT's sartorially splendid Craig Sager, Jen says: "As usual, Craig Sager's jacket is a sight to see. Not as bad as that purple/silver, what was that one he wore at All-Star in D.C.?"
Posted by Rob Peterson and Jen Nelson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 8:35 p.m. ET
How's the NBA doing this year? You can tell by the smile on Commissioner David Stern's face.
Scott Quintard/NBAE/Getty Images
NBA Commissioner David Stern (our boss) and Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik presented their annual State of the NBA address to a packed media room around 4 PT on Saturday.
And in case you don't know how well things are going, well, if you saw the got milk? Rookie Challenge last night, then you know the future is in good hands.
Commissioner Stern: "We have had, for us, a terrific All-Star Week thus far. I think together with our Players Association and our players, there has been more community activity going on than I can remember. The participation has been terrific, and it's not just the NBA and it's players; it's the entire NBA family. We've had events with our referees, involving the coaches, the retired players, the moms, the wives association, you name it, the entire NBA family has pitched in to demonstrate what can be done with the power of sport, and that's pretty important to us."
But, just some quick observations. Jack Nicholson is wearing red socks. Not just any red socks, but baseball style stirrups, you know, like the Red Sox.
Dr. Phil is sitting two rows behind us and is sitting two seats away from Inside Stuff's Ahmad Rashad.
Jen Nelson, who will also be blogging with us tonight, noticed this during the Beach Boys medley the: "The players for the shootout are standing on the court listening to the performance --- perhaps a bonus round for best dance routine could have been incorporated into the event format."
Hmmm... I think that would go over well. I liked his crossover, his pull up and his mashed potato. I give him a nine.
More a little later after the Radio Shack Shooting Stars competition.
Saturday Click and Roll
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 2:35 p.m. ET
L.A. native and NBA All-Star Baron Davis, Will Smith and Nick Cannon take a break from the Read to Achieve Celebration at All-Star Jam Session.
Ray Amati/NBAE/Getty Images
Check back on Saturday night for more All-Star blogging -- we'll be back at STAPLES, and you'll be able to e-mail questions to each of the Saturday night event winners!
Hey, it's Click and Roll at the All-Star Game. Welcome, we're glad you're here with us.
Before we blog, we'd like to ask you to send in your thoughts about All-Star Weekend, the game specifically. So, all you basketball fans around the globe, send your e-mail to the Click and Roll mailbox. We'll answer as many as we can on Tuesday. Now, on to to the blog.
L.A. is pretty hyped about this weekend. The bling is blazing, the limos stretch for miles and the stars are out even in the day time.
But all is not flash. We stopped by All-Star Jam Session on Thursday and had a blast in the short time we were there. One of the bigger thrills at Jam Session was meeting Ian Naismith, the grandson James Naismith, inventor of the game. Ian had the original rules of basketball with him. I'll write more about that in Tuesday's edition.
Still, Friday was media day and a lot was said and a lot was written. It was no surprise that Kobe and Shaq had reporters lined four-deep. Kobe said he wants to be a Laker for life.
-- New York Times (Registration required)
One L.A. writer says: "Prove it, pal."
-- Los Angeles Times (Registration required)
All of which causes consternation in Orlando. How? Well, Tracy McGrady has started to refer to Shaq as "Big Bro."
-- Orlando Sentinel (Registration required)
Another L.A. writer mentioned that the reporters swarming around Shaq and Kobe prove that the Lakers are the story in the NBA.
-- Los Angeles Times (Registration required)
Yes, yes, we get it. It's the Lakers' town and we and the Clippers are just visiting.
Anyway, some people are still not over the other big story of the weekend: No LeBron and 'Melo on Sunday.
-- New York Times (Registration required)
Pardon the interruption, but this columnist says we should all just get over it.
-- Washington Post (Registration required)
But let's move on to important things, shall we? Ben Wallace will go with the 'fro on Sunday.
-- Detroit Free Press
The Knicks said they almost drafted Michael Redd. Meanwhile, you can read Redd's All-Star diary at Bucks.com.
-- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Hit this shot, win $1,000.
-- Seattle Times
This headline of this article calls Sam Cassell a "geriatric." (What the...?) That being said, our money's on him to take the nursing home skills competition.
-- Memphis Commerical Appeal
To this idea, we say "No."
We've said it before and we'll say it again, we love Carlos Boozer.
-- Cleveland Plain Dealer
All right, that's it for now. We'll see you during America Online All-Star Saturday Night.
Their Own Private Dunk Contest
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 14 2004 12:05 a.m. ET
'Melo and his minions made the game their high-flying showcase.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
Saturday Night Stars!
Check back on Saturday for more All-Star blogging -- we'll be back at STAPLES, and you'll be able to e-mail questions to each of the Saturday night event winners!
Friday Night Flights
At first, the (underrated, at least according to my boss) L.A. fans booed. They wanted to see at least some cursory defense.
But near the end of the 2004 got milk? Rookie Challenge, all the pretense of defense departed. It was time for another type of departure as the Rookies and Sophomores cleared the runway and turned the last two minutes of the game into their personal dunk contest.
And it was kind of cool, to tell you the truth. The fans started to cheer. Then, they started to stand. Then they were high-fiving. It was a great show.
Some people grumbled about the lack of competition at the end of the game (I won't name names), but in a year when the league's best youngsters had their game moved from Saturday to Friday, who could blame them for taking advantage of having the stage to themselves?
"We came back out with about five minutes to go, and we all, like the rookies that were out there and the sophomores that were out there on the halfcourt, sophomores were up by 20 points," Cleveland Sophomore Carlos Boozer said. "Let's just go out and have a show and let the other fans enjoy. We stopped playing defense about five minutes to go, even though it seemed like the whole game there was though defense."
LeBron, 'Melo and the gang won't participate in the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk Contest, but the four guys that will, well, they'll have a hell of an act to follow.
So, let's go to the dunk-o-meter!
Beginning with Boozer's dunk at 18:38 in the first half and withCarmelo Anthony's reverse dunk with 1.7 seconds left in the second half, the Freshmen and the Sophomores threw down a ridiculous 51slams.
That's 51! And most all of them were worthy of the highlight reel, especially that little show the precocious James and Anthony put on.
But let us break it down like this. Here's the list who dunked and how many times they did it in Friday's game:
9 -- LeBron James
8 -- Boozer and Amare Stoudemire
4 -- Neneand Anthony
3 -- Chris Bosh, Tayshaun Prince, Dwyane Wade and Josh Howard
2 -- Yao Ming and Chris Kaman
1 -- Ronald Murray and Udonis Haslem
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 13 2004 11:40 p.m. ET
Amare Stoudemire, the got milk? Rookie Challenge MVP.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images
We caught up with Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire after he won the got milk? Rookie MVP for scoring a game-record 36 points. Here's what he had to say about the contest.
Q: Do your hands hurt (because of all the dunking)?
"No, I could dunk some more if I have to."
Q: How did it turn into a dunk contest?
"We laid the smackdown on 'em! They were trying to come back, but we were out there to have fun."
Q: Did it get to a point where you had to show each other up and impress the celebrities
"Not necessarily show each other up, but go out there and show your talent.
Q: Did you have a favorite dunk?
"I like the one that Flip pulled in the first half. He did a real nice crossover. LeBron had a couple nice dunks too."
Q: Is it fun to play like this instead of a serious game?
"Once during the season is good."
Q: Did you know you were getting close to the point record?
"No, I had no idea what it was."
Q: So after winning Rookie of the Year and the rookie game MVP, what's next?
"Elevate my game and hopefully get to the All-Star game next year."
Q: Anything else you're looking forward to this weekend?
"Meeting some more celebrities."
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 13 2004 10:33 p.m. ET
James, Boozer and Nene dazzle the crowd.
Noah Graham and Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images
As Randy mentioned in the previous post, we're close to the floor. Really close. We can hear every exclamation, every hammered dunk and ever piece of trash talk. We're also so close we can see how muy feo the shoes truly are. Patent leather is hot. Seattle's Flip Murray has Sonics green, Golden State's Mike Dunleavy has the electric Navy and Denver's Nenę has patent leather kicks that are so powder blue, that if he were to have a matching tux, it would have wide lapels, a ruffled shirt and a bow tie of which a circus clown could be proud.
But, you know, LeBron has a serious chance to be a trendsetter. (Yeah, Rob, newsflash!) On Friday, he sported khaki-colored kicks that looked like basketball versions of Timberlands.
As for the slammin', it's sick, sick, sick how easy, these guys make it look. Even Yao Ming got into the act, flaring out his legs on a one-handed slam. Melo, Bosh, Flip and Boozer, who threw down three times in half No. 1, have made a mark above the rim.
Melo had some nasty dunks and LeBron had four wonderous slams in the first half, two on alley-oops from 'Melo and a reverse so damn nasty that made everyone in celebrity row wrinkle their noses at the funky dunk.
By the way, Jay-Z's bodyguard is sitting in front of us (and half the lower bowl). He may be the biggest human being I have ever seen. His jacket is large enough to cover a king-sized bed.
Speaking of kings, King of Queens star Victor Williams stopped by at halftime. Check out what he had to say about the got milk? Rookie Challenge and read his blog about All-Star Weekend.
Q: What are your thoughts on the game so far?
"Spectacular dunk-fest. I'm really digging Josh Howard. Obviously LeBron is doing his things as well."
Q: Which All-Star games have you attended? What's it like in person vs. on T.V.?
"This is my first ever All-Star Game. It's weird because I was in New York, I lived in New York when it was in New York. And I wasn't far from Philly when it was in Philly, and I missed those, but it seems I don't remember there being as much buzz around town as there is here. I walk the streets and it's like all the restaurants are crowded, and traffic is like three times worse."
Q: Could either the rookie or sophomore team challenge the East or West All-Stars?
"The sophomores have some bona fide All-Stars -- obviously with Yao Ming and Manu Ginobili played in the Finals last year, so you know. I think the sophomores would give at least the East a run for their money."
Q: Favorite move you've seen in the game so far?
"I think LeBron did the reverse jam -- I was digging that." (Sources say that was the third of his four dunks of the half.)
Q: It's Friday the 13th so let's play Freaky Friday for a minute -- If you could switch places with any player in this game, who
would you want to be?
"Probably Amare Stoudamire. He's just a monster, he's a man among boys. He's such a physical specimen that he's almost like a freak of nature, which goes with the theme of freaky friday."
Q: What other celebrities have you seen so far this weekend? As a T.V. star, are there stars you still get star-struck for?
"For some reason, I always loose my mind when I see Alicia Keyes. I saw her yesterday at the SkyBar. She's beautiful and her energy and her spirit are just so cool, it's unbelievable."
Q: What event would you add to All-Star Saturday night?
"I was at home watching the Celebrity Game, and I'm about to hate on them a bit because they take the game so seriously but they're not that good, so I think we should have an NBA squad play a celebrity squad and call it NBA Celebrity Smackdown."
Q: What's your prediction for the score?
Q: So this is the got milk? rookie challenge, what's your pick: chocolate milk, strawberry milk or straight up?
"Chocolate milk. Definitely. I never got the whole strawberry thing."
Q: Any final thoughts?
"From talking to a lot of people, this is a great first All-Star experience. People have been telling me that this is the most exciting city to have the game in, so I'm glad to be able to experience it."
Posted by Randy Kim (NBA.com) on Feb 13 2004 8:41 p.m. ET
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images
Unbelieveable. There's really no other way to describe what we're looking at right now. We're sitting maybe eight feet off the floor at L.A.'s STAPLES Center, watching the rookies and sophomores get warmed up for the 2004 got milk? Rookie Challenge. Fred Carter is chatting with Flip Murray. The ever-gracious Yao Ming is being interviewed by members of international media (come on, people, he needs time to loosen up). You couldn't ask for a better seat, to be honest.
We'll use our super-close perspective to give you detailed updates throughout the game, so keep checking back for the latest from La-La Land. Also, actor/blogger/hoops fan Victor Williams of "The King of Queens" will be stopping by midway through the first half to answer your questions pertaining to hoops and entertainment, so send in your questions now.
And prep yourselves for what should be a great game.
Posted by Bryan Williams (NBA.com) on Feb 13 2004 2:14 p.m. ET
On Thursday night, American Express presented The Rewarding Life of Magic Johnson, a red-carpet tribute at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The event will be broadcast as part of All-Star Saturday (6 p.m. ET, TNT), but here's an advance look at our picks for the evening's top five moments.
Gary Dineen/NBAE/Getty Images
Longtime Lakers announcer Lawrence Tanter introduced seven members of Magic's Showtime-era squads -- Michael Cooper, A.C. Green, Byron Scott, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Vlade Divac, Jamaal Wilkes and Norm Nixon. Each player shared some of his favorite Magic memories, most of which involved getting beaned in the head with a no-look pass. Divac, who remained with L.A. during Magic's brief coaching stint, declared, "When I played for him, he broke my pager. You owe me pager."
Following video clips of Magic singing (badly) in a recording studio session and of his ill-fated talk show, The Magic Hour, host Wayne Brady introduced a third piece -- a young Johnson shilling for radio in an ad for pop music station Magic 106 FM. In the commercial, Magic reflects, "I never knew how much I liked Neil Diamond!" and later concludes, "I'm just glad they didn't call it 'Dr. J. 106'."
Comedian Steve Harvey hypothesized that Magic had everyone fooled -- "Why would you look one way, then throw a pass the other way to someone who's not looking? Because you're a showoff!" And of the five championships the Lakers won under Johnson's guidance? That simply meant Magic was denying his friends around the NBA a shot at a title. "That's because he's selfish! That's the real Magic -- Mr. Selfish."
Blasts from the Past
Actress Penny Marshall, the rare holder of season tickets to both the Lakers and Clippers, introduced 10 people with unique insight on the young Magic, including three of his Michigan State teammates, his high-school basketball coach, his fifth-grade teacher and one Fred Stabley, formerly of Central Michigan University's sports information department, the man who coined the nickname "Magic" while covering 15-year-old Earvin Johnson's prep games.
The Man of Honor
Introduced by his wife, Cookie, and his three children, Magic himself took the stage to close the night, thanking everyone from his family to his teammates to American Express. "It's great to lay my head down every night and know that I've helped people," he said, "because I've had so many people help me."
Also see: NBA Buzz -- A Magical Tribute