Can't get enough hoops? Take a lighthearted look at the latest happenings from around the league and the hoops world at large with NBA.com's very own basket-blog, "Click and Roll."
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Monday, Feb. 9


Check out Gaye's performance at the 1983 All-Star Game:

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By Rob Peterson, NBA.com

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.
-- NBA.com/allstar2004

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!
-- ESPN.com/Page 3

Then on Sunday, Beyoncé, recently bestowed with five Grammys, performs at halftime of the game.
-- NBA.com/allstar2004

(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.)

Backcourt (the week that was)
Frontcourt (the week that will be)
Feb. 9: Tall (Duncan) vs. Taller (Yao), (9:30 ET, TNT)
Feb. 13: got milk? Rookie Challenge (9 p.m. ET, TNT)
Feb. 14: NBA All-Star Saturday Night (8 ET, TNT)
Feb. 15: NBA All-Star Game. (8 p.m. ET, TNT)
And if that weren't enough, the NBA snagged OutKast, winners of the Best Album Grammy on Sunday and owners of the two top singles in the U.S. to perform during introductions. (I'm not doing well hiding my excitement, am I?) We like the way the NBA moves, stank you very much.

So, in honor of the ATLiens, every segment of this Click and Roll will be named after an OutKast jam.

PLAYERS' BAWL

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.
-- New Orleans Times Picayune

Well, at least that was LeBron's initial reaction. Later, he wisely changed his tune.
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune

M E D I A W A T C H
Everything from Chucks to shell-toes to Air Force Ones are covered in Bobbito Garcia's book.
(Image courtesy Testify Books/powerHouse)

WE GOT SOLE
Because they are not mandated to wear a shoe that matches their uniform, players at All-Star Weekend break out some fancy kicks for the game.

You have shoes that light up, shoes that look like they've been packaged by Swanson for a TV dinner and other that look like they're covered in the plastic that with which your grandparents cover their furniture.

If you find yourself with some time, take a look at Bobbito Garcia's Where'd You Get Those? New York City's Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987. Garcia's book follows the footsteps of the hottest kicks that hit the streets in those years. It provides excellent context with which you can compare this year's outlandish shoes with yesteryear's.

Still, LeBron's retraction didn't come in time to avoide the inevitable shots some would take at him, such as this one: Boo-hoo, to you two!
-- Seattle Times

Or this one: The world doesn't revolve around you.
-- L.A. Times (Registration required)

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.
-- Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Clippers.com

Still, some have become defacto press agents. This writer may be angrier than James and 'Melo themselves.
-- L.A. Daily News

But as you know, rookies aren't always provided spots.
-- South Florida Sun Sentinel

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."
-- Hartford Courant (Registration required)

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
-- Kansas City Star (Registration required)

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).
-- NBA.com/allstar2004

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.
-- Dallas Morning News (Registration required)

HEY, YA!

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.

Another man's story about his favorite players who don't get the pub. Is it me, or does this seem like someone's in over his head?
-- Philadelphia Inquirer

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.
-- Houston Chronicle

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.
-- Watch him keep the rock outta harm's way.
-- Watch him use those hands to strip some pesky guard, and effortlessly flick the outlet pass.
-- Watch his hands transform into the intimidating fly swatter that'll return the message back it's sender -- with interest.

"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."
-- Justin in the Phililppines

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."
-- Jack in Wellington, Nova Scotia, Canada

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."
-- Soliman in Oceanside, Calif.

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!