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Your one lasting impression from NBA All-Star 2017 in New Orleans?
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Steve Aschburner: The game itself, the basketball game on Sunday night, needs to be saved. Basketball is a two-way sport. There’s one ball, five guys on offense and allegedly five guys on defense. Without the defense, it’s just warm-ups. Without the defense, the spectacular looks merely self-indulgent. Without the defense, they might as well play the damn thing in Hawaii after the season. You don’t see baseball letting All-Star batters hit off a tee, with fielders who wave at the groundballs scooting past them. Shame on the culture that has taken hold in this All-Star Game, when an eager young guy like Giannis Antetokounmpo can be made to feel uncool for not being blasé enough about his craft to go at half speed. How ‘bout the NBA organize next year’s All-Star Game as Offensive All-Stars vs. Defensive All-Stars and see if the defensive-minded -- say, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, DeAndre Jordan, Draymond Green and Antetokounmpo -- could put more points on the board while actually holding down the other guys? Either that or offer bonus cash for holding the other guys under 130 points or 45 percent shooting. This has become unwatchable.
Fran Blinebury: The oysters, shrimp and crawfish were quite tasty, but another helping of what passes for the All-Star Game gave me indigestion.
Shaun Powell: The All-Star Game took place at the same time as Mardi Gras. How New Orleans pulled that off, I'll never know. So my lasting impression, slightly ahead of Stephen Curry laying down on the court and avoiding another poster from Giannis Antetokoumnpo, is dealing with all the beads and other charms strewn along Canal Street. Speaking of which, whomever invented the cleaning trucks that scrubbed Canal spotless after a night of parading and revelry is definitely a millionaire, right?
John Schuhmann: Unfortunately, the most memorable thing about the basketball stuff was the awful defense on Sunday. But I left with good feelings about the food, the spirit of the Mardi Gras parades, and The Roots' incredible pre-game intros.
Sekou Smith: I want to give New Orleans a standing ovation for taking over All-Star 2017 on short notice and doing what they always do,: throwing a monster party as only New Orleans can. All-Star weekend can gobble up most cities and leave the locals a little dazed and confused after its over. But not New Orleans. The city, the Pelicans and Anthony Davis (MVP and now teammate of DeMarcus Cousins) won the weekend. If the Cousins trade produces the desired results, I'll remember this as the weekend New Orleans rose from the lottery ashes.
Ian Thomsen:It bears repeating: A dozen years ago the NBA helped New Orleans post-Katrina, and now -- with the NBA needing a bailout from North Carolina -- New Orleans was able to return the favor. These stories don't happen very often.
Lang Whitaker: If the Kings had to trade DeMarcus Cousins, I’m glad he ended up on the New Orleans Pelicans. Because, from a cultural standpoint, it seems like such a perfect fit. This was my third All-Star weekend in New Orleans in the last decade, and while having All-Star during Mardi Gras isn’t ideal, I’m glad to have been able to experienced it once in my life. Like Cousins, New Orleans is so singular and complex, with such heart and feeling. Someone tweeted this video which really encapsulates everything I love about N’awlins -- you just never know when and where a dance party might break out. I mean, if there’s any NBA city where a guy named Boogie should fit right in, it’s gotta be New Orleans.
Scott Howard-Cooper: You mean my lasting impression from All-Star 2017 in Afghanistan. I was at Bagram Airbase attending the watch party with a 6 a.m. Monday tip. I couldn’t tell you much that happened in the game. (Wait. No defense. I’m pretty sure that happened.) What I can say is that the USO, the NBA and the WNBA bringing Sam Perkins, Caron Butler, Bob Delaney and Ivory Latta to a combat zone meant a great deal to the men and women who weren’t going to get within 7,000 miles of New Orleans. The national anthem meant something real and serious. The game meant the chance to feel like they were back home in the United States. Tremendous emotions. I’ll never forget it.