Celtics.com All-Star Blog
Celtics.com's Peter Stringer landed in Las Vegas Thursday and will be filing regular reports about the goings on in his All-Star Blog. The most recent post will appear at the top of the page.
Note: The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Boston Celtics.
Friday, 8:47 a.m. PST - Gearing Up
All-Star Weekend really gets going today, as the Rookie Challenge and Youth Jam is tonight, and participants in Saturday night's events will do their media obligations.
We'll have more this afternoon with Gerald. He's scheduled to meet the press at 12:30 PST with the rest of the All-Star Saturday Night participants. He's also doing a Reebok event later in the afternoon.
Then we'll be checking out the Rookie Challenge game tonight, mostly to see if Ryan Gomes really did get snubbed from the sophomore team... ;)
Thursday, 9:14 p.m. PST - NBA Legends Shootout
JoJo White waits for the horn before starting his turn in the Legends Shootout. Peter Stringer/Celtics.com
Well, JoJo got out of the first round by outscoring Randy Smith and "Iceman" George Gervin (it's true, all he can do is finger roll), but he lost to David Thompson in the finals.
In case you were worried, there were no hard feelings afterward, as he joined Thompson for a Read to Achieve event at Jam Session about 30 minutes after the shootout.
More NBA sightings: The Glove, Gary Payton, came down to check out the Legends shootout. G.P. enjoyed the shooting -- and a lollipop -- from his courtside location.
That's it for tonight. Tomorrow we'll be catching up with Gerald Green and hope to have more info on what exactly Courtney's been up to. Meanwhile, Lucky says he's got a flight and we'll be in Las Vegas Saturday.
Thursday, 6:48 p.m. PST - Jam Session
Well, I'll start with the bad news...it looks like Lucky did indeed miss his flight from the other side of the rainbow, er, I mean, Boston, and he won't get here until Saturday. Not sure if that means he'll miss the mascot slam dunk contest but we'll get an update on that for you.
But the good news is that Courtney is here and she is blogging for NBA.com. You can get her insights here...But from what she tells me, the All-Star Dance team has been working literally all day on their routines for this weekend. Sounds a lot like what Marina put the Celtics Dancers hopefuls through at Foxwoods last July when she was picking her squad.
Anyway, JoJo is playing in a Legends Shootout competition at Jam Session at 7:30, and I'll have a report on that for you later on. Given that somebody in Logan airport recognized him and said, "there's one of the greatest shooters the Celtics ever had," I'd say JoJo's got a good shot to win this thing.
NBA celebrities I've run into so far: Sir Charles Barkley (chatting up fans and posing for pictures outside the high stakes room at the Mandalay where Jam Session is being staged), Dominique Wilkins, "Iceman" George Gervin and Commissioner David Stern (I accidentally ended up in a closed-off NBA VIP area just as he entered the room and realized quickly that I was underdressed and unsanctioned for the premesis...).
Oh yeah, does the Denver Nuggets dance team count?
Thursday, 11:57 AM EST - Somewhere over the Midwest
I am please to report that JoJo managed to not only score standby seats on Flight 67, but first class digs to boot.
Well played, JoJo. Well played. Celtics.com wasn't as fortunate, but hey, we'll settle for a free ride to Vegas and 14-hour days of work in the desert. Somewhere along the line, I'll sneak in a few hours of craps if there's a $5 table to be found this weekend.
Anyway, while we were waiting for the flight to board, I asked JoJo for a few opinions on the current crop of Celtics youngsters. White says that Gerald Green is the most talented of the bunch, but he just has to learn more about the game. And count him as a big Rajon Rondo fan as well.
It's good to have Pierce back in the Celtics lineup, and this young Celtics fan got to imagine what he'd look like as The Truth as part of an interactive exhibit at Jam Session. Peter Stringer/Celtics.com
As you would imagine, I'm exhausted. It was great to finally get over the hump last night - you may have heard abouta little losing streak we finally put to rest thanks to Gerald Green's shooting display - but there wasn't much time between getting home from the game and heading out to Logan for All-Star Weekend. Courtney from the Celtics Dancers has been out here since Monday working with the first ever NBA All-Star Dance Team, and she reports that they've been basically working from about 7 am to 10 pm everyday nailing down some routines for the weekend. I hope to catch up with her tonight to see how that's going.
Now, the only question is, will Gerald make it out here tonight? He's scheduled to leave Boston this evening, but given the delays from this morning, that could be more complicated than anyone expected. I'm sure we'll get him out here, but it's amazing how one storm can re-arrange so many plans.
Thursday, 1:53 PM PST - Checked in, and hatching a plan
Well, at least JoJo White, Lenny Clarke (also on our flight) and I made it to Vegas. I wish I could recount Lenny's thoughts on the plane ride and the people sitting in his immediate vicinity, but to protect the innocent I'll just tease you with it instead.
Also, thanks to JoJo for letting me tag along in his car to the hotel. That's 1000 times better than standing in the taxi stand line at McCarren, which might be the worst line in the history of lines. You finally get to Vegas, touch down at the airport, get your bags, all you want to do is get to a casino, and then you stand in line for 45 minutes waiting for a taxi driver who definitely wants to take you the long way to the strip...
Anyway, I must say it's much more fun to fly in here at night, the visual is pretty spectacular. Either way, I'm here, and the enormous tented area that will house the NBA Jam Session at Mandalay Bay is impressive from the outside. Looks pretty massive. Look for pictures from the inside later tonight. The opening ceremonies start just after 4 p.m.
As far as the city, everyone seems pretty giddy. And everyhwere you look, there's tall guys walking around who may or may not be NBA players. And there's plenty of people here who just want to see or be seen. That was obvious at baggage claim at McCarren, check in at the hotel, and just about everywhere you look. The NBA has taken over Sin City and it's not even the weekend yet.
Anyway, there's a laundry list of events going on here this weekend aside from the All-Star Game and Dunk Contest. The challenge will be seeing as much as possible while running around trying to capture the essence of the weekend.
Thursday, 8:36 a.m. EST - Gate 20B, Logan International Airport
With a sheet of ice covering Boston and a line of hundreds of people snaking around my ticketing counter this morning, it didn't look promising for Flight 67 to Las Vegas on Thursday morning when I arrived in Terminal B. But with a little investigative reporting, a backdoor cut or two on some kiosk lines (the fundamentals work at Logan, too!) and some OJ Simpson-style running through the terminal, Celtics.com made it to gate 20B mostly unscathed.
And when we finally got there, we were pleased to see none other than 1976 NBA Finals MVP and Celtics legend JoJo White trying to get a few standby tickets.
When I suggested he flash his 1976 NBA Championship ring and play the legend card to get onto the 6:45 AM departure, he laughed.
"I don't think that will help me. I was supposed to be on this flight yesterday!" White said.
JoJo played in eight All-Star games during his 12-year career, so I was pretty sure he wasn't going to miss the 56th Annual game, especially when its being staged in Vegas. I wish I could say the same for some of our front office staff (and Lucky, our mascot, I believe, but Courtney's already here), who would find out that their 7:45 flight had been cancelled, and rumors were flying that there were no more open flights to Nevada until Sunday. I'm sure they'll make it to the desert somehow, but it should prove interesting nonetheless.