GIT UP, GIT OUT...
... to Los Angeles that is, as later this week Click and Roll is making like Jed Clampett by loading up the truck and moving to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimming pools. NBA All-Stars.
Ah, Los Angeles, the City of Angels. La-La Land. Tinseltown. The center of the entertainment world with the Grammys on Sunday, the Oscars on Feb. 29. And this weekend, it will be the center of the basketball world as the NBA hosts the four-day basketball bacchanalia known as All-Star Weekend.
From NBA All-Star Jam Session throwing open its doors on Thursday, Feb. 12 to the final horn on Sunday night, Click and Roll will try to be in as many places as once on that weekend.
One of the great things about All-Star Weekend (besides that they let schleps like me cover it) is it brings out a higher-grade of entertainment. It's basketball and a concert rolled into one. And this year, the NBA has struck the mother lode. Click and Roll, for one, is almost excited about the entertainment as we are about the hoops.
On Saturday, Feb. 14 (8 p.m. ET, TNT), before the game Nona Gaye will sing the National Anthem with her late father Marvin Gaye, ala Natalie and Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable."
We say this in our best Simpsons' Comic Book Guy voice. Marvin Gaye's slow-jam rendition of the National Anthem at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game is the Best! Anthem! Ever! We know it, you know it, they know it. Need proof? We have it. Now don't bother me again, I have to go eat some nachos!
Then on Sunday, Beyoncé, recently bestowed with five Grammys, performs at halftime of the game.
(By the way, the small guy in the purple suit that opened the Grammys with Beyonce, that was Prince. He was the Michael Jordan of music in the 1980s.)
So, in honor of the ATLiens, every segment of this Click and Roll will be named after an OutKast jam.
Last week, coaches selected their All-Star reserves. And, of course, there were hurt feelings, especially among the youngsters.
-- New York Times (Registration required)
Or as NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik said: "I love the people who write or say this guy should've made it, but never tell you instead of who," Granik told the New York Times. "I think you could make a very good case for LeBron [James] or Carmelo [Anthony], but when you look at the positions they play, it makes it harder."
That it does. At first, James and Anthony said they wouldn't play on Sunday if someone went down with an injury. So you won't attend even if the Commish invites you? Nope.
Well, at least that was LeBron's initial reaction. Later, he wisely changed his tune.
-- Seattle Times
Or this one: The world doesn't revolve around you.
And, snubs don't just happen to rookies. Many a deserving player will be pressing their nose against the STAPLES Center windows to get a peek at the All-Star Game, including the Clippers' Elton Brand, who had his case made online by his team.
Still, some have become defacto press agents. This writer may be angrier than James and 'Melo themselves.
But as you know, rookies aren't always provided spots.
Anyway, it's a position thing, you wouldn't understand. -- Dallas Morning News (Registration required)
This guy thinks he does and he says voters aren't the problem, the system is. Blame "The Man."
Finally, someone gets it, and it bodes well for the NBA because the omission of James and Anthony is a nod to league's talent level
Don't worry, the weekend won't be LeBron- and 'Melo-free. They get to be teammates in the got milk? Rookie Challenge on Friday (9 p.m. ET, TNT).
THE WHOLE WORLD (INTERNATIONAL LINKS)
London calling for the NBA? Sure, but the Brits need a better arena first. They can work on the food later.
-- L.A. Daily News
Larry Brown vs. Mark Cuban over NBA players participating in international competitions? I'd buy tickets.
Note to announcers who say Shaquille O'Neal makes his free throws when they count: You should know better than that. EVERY free throw counts. It's not like you get more points down the stretch or that free throws are less important in the first quarter.
Gents, I'm lending you some suga', I am your neighbor. This goes for Shaq and everyone, if you make your free throws in the first half, maybe you wouldn't need to white-knuckle it in the fourth quarter.
SPOTTIEOTTIEDOPALICIOUS (TIP INS)
Congrats to Utah's Jerry Sloan, who won his 900th game on Saturday. Another congrats goes to Lenny Wilkens, who won his 1,300th game, also on Saturday. That's 2,200 wins between them.
Can you tell when the Rockets have won or lost by coach Jeff Van Gundy's face? This writer can't: "He simply has a mournful appearance, so after a Rockets loss he looks unhappy, and after a win he looks unhappy." One of our friends had an appropriate nickname for Van Gundy: Van Glumby.
SO FRESH, SO CLEAN (MAIL CALL)
We asked you which big man had the best hands in the league. You responded as to which big men catch the ball so fresh and so clean(ly). Here are three of the best.
"The best hands for a biggie in the L belongs to K.G. Eventhough he's a the the guy can hardly be lebelled 'small.' (Keep in mind that 'big' in ballspeak means how far your pate is from the ground.) Watch how the guy handles the ball. Smooth. Not Ray Allen smooth, but wild-intense-almost-out-of-control smooth.
"-- Watch him just vacuum those rebounds.
"But most of all, watch him bleed that sweet magic through those mitts and put the ball through the hoop. No question K.G has the goods.
"For worst hands... it's a though toss-up between that Beanpole [Shawn Bradley] over at Dallas and Jahidi White. These two guy's hands are so bad, they should just hand the rock over and save the ref's breath, and the rest of us from a needless tragedy."
Click and Roll responds: Nice use of the word "pate."
"In terms of passing prowess, Vlade Divac has got to have some of the best hands in the L. He gets more assists in a year than some other centers will get in a lifetime. As for the worst hands, I just have to say that, to me, it's the big fella, Shaq. It's not that he's all clumsy with it and that, but looking at pictures of him with a ball, it's hard not to think he is. You know how hard it is to dribble or handle a tennis ball, right? Imagine how Shaq feels holding one of those big orange balls, probably pretty close to how the non-7-1 public feels handling those little yellow ones. Thanks C&R."
Click and Roll responds: We think Shaq has great hands. He doesn't bobble passes and he rarely turns the ball over. But the big hands thing, I can empathize.
"I think Karl Malone has got to have the best hands for a power forward in this league. A man with arms that big, that can pass the ball so well. That's amazing! Guess Stockton rubbed off on him."
Click and Roll responds: Gotta agree about the Mailman. We also think Elton Brand, Chris Webber and Carlos Boozer have some of the greatest paws in the history of the game.
And with that, see you at All-Star!