By Rob Peterson, NBA.com
THE BEST WEEKEND OF THE YEAR
Whoops, almost forgot my shiny, plastic-covered, silver-colored, extremely ugly basketball shoes that can never, ever be worn in a regular season game. (We've come a long way since Spud Webb wore Ponys in 1986.)
Yep, I'm ready for the 2003 NBA All-Star Game.
And you should be too. If you're not, well, where the heck have you been? Because we're kindhearted by nature and not haters, we'll give you the scoop: it starts Thursday in Atlanta when NBA All-Star Jam Session opens at Georgia World Congress Center at 4 p.m. and it concludes with the 52nd All-Star Game on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
As for the weekend's festivities being broadcast on TNT, here's why. If you don't have cable, find a friend who does and go watch with that person. Bring some food and drink and make it a party, as it should be. (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
Here's a schedule of events to keep you up-to-date.
And for our fans across this great planet, we present an international TV schedule. Here's our excellent All-Star section and our schedule for live online coverage. Beginning today, you can vote for the Greatest All-Star Weekend ever.
Want to know who's who during All-Star Weekend? Well, here's your chance to see who's participating.
I'll make no predictions concerning the events, but I do think the Rookies have a good chance of taking the Sophomores in the got milk? Rookie Challenge. That, and I'm queued up to see the 989 Sports Skills Challenge because I'm a sucker for the game's fundamentals.
(And as an aside, I always liked 2Ball as well. Really!)
So, stay with us all week, because we'll take you there.
THE LAKERS ARE GOOD ... FOR NOW
In watching the coverage of the NBA this season (and many others), it's difficult not to notice how quickly things change.
Just an example: Before he played a game, Yao Ming was being discussed by some as a bust. Then, he scores 30 and grabs 16 rebounds, and all of a sudden, the guy's for real. Recently, he's hit a speed bump and there are those who are out there: "See, he isn't as good as we thought."
Sigh! While most remember a season is a marathon, some will sprint to new judgments weekly. So, in the spirit of the sprint, there are some that claim the Lakers are back? (Boston Globe)
The three-time defending champion Lakers looked impressive in an entertaining win over the Kings on Friday. (L.A. Times)
And as most seasoned observers of the Lakers know, every win is important and, while they may be out of the playoffs if the season ended today (one of our favorite sports phrases, along with "He's on pace to..."), all the Lakers need is a little tune-up. (L.A. Times)
Actually, what they really needed was a night out and some comedy. (L.A. Daily News)
We'll see if they're laughing this week as they have a short, yet tough trip East. On Tuesday, they meet the pugnacious Pacers (more on that next) and then play in Madison Square Garden at 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
If things don't go well in the next couple weeks, check back when we can ask (again): What's wrong with the Lakers?
GETTING IN YOUR PACE, EVERY NIGHT
The Pacers think they're getting a Bad Boy rap. (Seattle Times)
Then, again, nice guys finish last. (Miami Herald)
But then again, Ron Artest makes this columnist think of a certain Bad Boy who became badder as he went along. (CNNSI.com)
As the Magic are finding out when it comes to free agents: no refunds, no returns. If he's broken, you've bought him. (Orlando Sentinel)
Clearly, this is good news. The Rockets are getting new uniforms next year. (Houston Chronicle)
So, you want to coach in the NBA? Better get your nitro glycerin pills. (Detroit News)
To all you message board GMs, it's not as easy as it looks. (L.A. Times)
See, passing the ball instead of going one-on-one always helps a team win. Always. (Houston Chronicle)
Practice your free throws, kids! Eric Snow does. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
Can't we all just get along? (Indianapolis Star)
Feeling left off or left out? You're not alone. (Indianapolis Star)
One player thinks the All-Star voting process should be changed. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
Here's one review of Bill Walton's reality series. (Orlando Sentinel)
The David Robinson farewell tour continues. (Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel)
One Salt Lake City columnist suggests what Jerry Sloan can do on his "sabbatical." (Desert News)
WEREWOLF? THERE, WOLF!
A great talent deserves a banner headline. "That's Amare" is just one of many headlines to describe NBA players or teams that is just too obvious. We asked you for your least-favorite headlines. Here are, um, your favorites.
Erica, Orlando, Fla.
(Click and Roll: I guess "Grant's Over the Hill" is out too.)
Evan, Maitland, Fla.
(Click and Roll: OK, let's get this out of the way. I lived in Chicago at the time, and as much as I can respect the Bulls of the '90s, I can't say I was a fan. Why? Because I wasn't. So, yes, those headlines belong in the rafters not only because they're cliché, but also because they aren't so true any more.)
Fernando, Espirito Santo, Brazil
(Click and Roll: See also, above, response.)
Derrick, Spartanburg, S.C.
(Click and Roll: We can also talk about any "Any Team Cools off Heat," "Jazz Hit Sour Note Against Team," or "Any Team Drains the Lakers.")
Surane, Mississauga, Ontario
(Click and Roll: Uh, yeah. Purple Fever. We'll make a note of it.)
Then there's Adam, whose e-mail address suffix revealed that he matriculates at an esteemed university in New York City. We could tease him about misplaced apostrophes in team names but instead of criticizing, we'll thank him for the following headlines, all of which should be put out to pasture.
And Adam, when you get a 2.5 this semester, print out this edition of Click and Roll and show mom and dad what you were doing when you should have been STUDYING!