NBA.com is operating in rare air for All-Star 2005, as we're spending the weekend in the Mile High City. As part of the festivities around town, we'll provide you with behind-the-scenes coverage with our running blog. From Q&A's with players and celebs to first-person accounts to cool photos, the NBA.com All-Star Blog will be your home for complete coverage from All-Star Weekend!
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Shaq in Black
Posted by Adam Bloom (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 8:13 p.m. ET
Shortly after Dwyane Wade left, his Miami teammates Shaquille O'Neal and Damon Jones stopped by the interview area here at the players' hotel. Shaq was decked out in all black with a sweet, old-fashioned black hat. After saying something private to Jones (also dressed in a black sweatsuit) that made the guard curl over with laughter, Shaq took a turn at a black grand piano and "tried" to play.

During his interview, Jones said: Vince Carter's 360 in L.A. was the best shot he's seen recently; the best rivalry of all-time is Magic vs. Isiah; his favorite musician is Jay-Z; and he talked about how LeBron dunked on him so hard recently that he had fellow players calling him afterwards ripping on him about getting posterized.


Wade In, Lewis Too
Posted by Adam Bloom (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 7:24 p.m. ET
We have a couple more arrivals here in Denver. Miami's Dwyane Wade and Seattle's Rashard Lewis have made the scene at the players' hotel. Wade sauntered into the hotel in a grey jumpsuit. He noted that it was a little cold, but he was happy to be in Denver for All-Star Weekend. "It's the place to be," Wade said. As for his favorite All-Star moment, he loved it when Magic hit all those 3-pointers in 1992. As for his other faves, Wade's true to his hometown, Chicago. MJ, of course, is his favorite player, while R-Kelly is his favorite singer.

As for Lewis, he was also happy to be here for All-Star Weekend. In the brief sitdown, he mentioned that Peja Stojakovic was his toughest matchup and that Eastern Conference starter LeBron James has lived up to the hype.

We'll get more for you soon.


Ba-Da-Bop-Ba-Ba: We're Loving It
Posted by John Hareas (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 6:30 p.m. ET


Bill Walton and Carmelo Anthony are loving it at the Aurora (Colo.) McDonald’s.
(John Hareas/NBAE Photos)

It was supposed to be a standard lunch visit at the local McDonald's for Jessica Leahy of Aurora, Colorado, before she had to race back to work. Little did she know on this day that she would be greeted by Hall of Famer Bill Walton and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets the moment she walked through the door.

"Ma'am, how about a delicious Chicken Select?" pleaded Walton. "Please, help yourself."

"Here you go, my man. Enjoy," said Anthony to another patron wearing a powder blue No. 15 Nuggets jersey.

"Oh, my gosh, I can't believe they're here," said Leahy.

Walton and Anthony were on hand at the Aurora McDonald's as part of the company's four-day national promotion of distributing free chicken samples. Both men, who desperately tried to raise customer service to another level, clearly satisfied the swelling crowd during the busy noon lunch hour.

"Thank you for visiting McDonald's and please drive safely," said Walton as he manned the drive-thru window. "Sir, don't forget your napkins!"

Walton, one of the best passing big men in the history of the game, impressed Anthony with his deft delivery of the Chicken Selects.

"Very crisp," said Anthony. "But I still think it would be a good idea if he stuck to broadcasting."

Walton couldn't have been more pleased or proud of Anthony's stellar performance.

"I've always been impressed with Carmelo Anthony as a ball player but to see him serve it up, to see him slice and dice and to see him with the creative ability to get everybody involved there, that was truly a special opportunity for me. But Carmelo, please --- a little more spice on the sauce!!


More Mr. Nice Guy
Posted by Adam Bloom (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 6:21 p.m. ET
Magic rookie Dwight Howard is a nice guy. How do we know this? Doing an interview today, his cell phone went off in the middle of the interview. Howard apologized and called the interviewer, "Ma'am." She said that he didn't need to call her ma'am. He apologized again saying that was how he was raised, and continued to call her ma'am throughout the interview.


Goody Bag
Posted by Adam Bloom (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 5:37 p.m. ET
Grant Hill and Dwight Howard arrived at the player's hotel. Some little known facts learned from Hill's interview with NBA TV: he remembers the first time he dunked, as a 13-year old in his intermediate school gym; and he thinks LeBron James is the most talented young player and thinks the King has re-energized the league.

Hill also received a VIP player gift bag. We couldn't resist, we had to find out what was inside: Sony PlayStation 2 (slim) with "The Getaway: Black Monday" game, a Nokia 7610 phone with three months service, a Headmaster NBA dress shirt, a New Era custom made cashmere and pebble grain hat, and a Homedics hand-held massager and more.


Ray Checks In
Posted by Adam Bloom (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 4:12 p.m. ET
The players are starting to arrive in Denver. Over at the players' hotel, Seattle's Ray Allen just got into town decked out in a red Michael Jordan-insignia sweater. He then did a photo shoot and sat down to do some interviews with NBA TV. Some Allen factoids from the sit-down: his favorite movie is Schindler's List; his favorite player of all time is (naturally) MJ; and his toughest current matchups are Kobe, Paul Pierce and the Answer.


Chewing the Fat
Posted by Rob Peterson (NBA.com) on Feb 17 2005 10:50 a.m. ET


Lafayette "Fat" Lever at the dedication of the new NikeGo Court at Boettcher Boys & Girls Club in Denver on Feb. 15.
(Michael Martin/NBAE/Getty Images)

Greetings from Denver! You may remember us from the All-Star 2004 Blog or the 2004 Finals Blog. Or, this may be your first NBA.com blog experience. Regardless -- whether you're on the level of an All-Star veteran blog reader or got milk? Rookie Challenge blog newbie -- we welcome you along for the ride this weekend.

So, what's this Blog about? It's about everything All-Star in Denver this upcoming All-Star Weekend, from The NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, presented by Sprite on Friday (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) to celebrities sitting courtside. It's about NBA All-Star Jam Session at the Colorado Convention Center to the Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night (8 p.m. ET, TNT). It's about All-Star arrivals and it's about cleaning up after the All-Star Game on Feb. 20 (8 p.m. ET, TNT).

It's about anything the NBA.com staff finds interesting while we're here in Denver.

To give you an example, right now I'm in New York, but one of our editors in Denver just saw Lafayette "Fat" Lever, a Denver Nugget for six seasons and two-time All-Star, at the Marriott Hotel. See, teamwork gets you to the All-Star Game, and teamwork helps write the All-Star Game Blog.

(And if you notice in the photo, Fat isn't, well, Fat. He looks to be in pretty decent shape. Fat, as you know, is a nickname for Lafayette. Also, Fat recently participated in a Q&A. One Q asked him to name his top three-point guards in the NBA. Alas, only one of the three guards from Fat's A will be here in Denver.)

That's just one example of what we'll be doing in Denver this weekend. You should also join us for chats (we'll have plenty), live blogging from events (I've already written down all the synonyms for dunks -- slam, jam, rim rocker, etc.) and to vote for the MVP of the All-Star Game.

Well, that's it for this post. We'll have more from Denver later tonight. Thanks for reading.