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Tuesday, Feb. 11


By Rob Peterson, NBA.com

LOVE IS IN THE AIR

M E D I A W A T C H
Even a guy as big as Yao Ming could go missing among a media crush. (David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

TAKE IT TO THE MAGAZINE RACK
Yao Ming? Heard of him?

Well, the guy is bigger than Bruce Springsteen, physically and figuratively .

When Springsteen released "Born to Run" in 1975, he graced the covers of Time and Newsweek in the same week.

Now, Yao has pulled off the sports version of that double-double by appearing on the covers of Sports Illustrated and ESPN the Magazine.

Anyway, ESPN spent a whole week with the Rockets center, while SI named him their mid-season Rookie of the Year

Chocolate, champagne, roses, candlelight dinners? Cliché.

Valentine's Day is Friday, and nothing says "I Love You" better than "I Love This Game."

So, this Valentine's Day, curl up on the couch, snuggle with your sweetie and catch the Sixers, from the City of Brotherly Love, and the Magic (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Fans in Philly, however, are a bit antsy about their beloved Sixers. They need to be fixed and one Philadelphia columnist, in the feeling of the season, reworked Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" into "50 Ways to Fix the Sixers." (Philadelphia Daily News)

No need to be coy, though, as we suggest you stay up late with your loved one to catch the Spurs and the Lakers (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). As Bill Walton would say: What's not to love about this matchup?

The Spurs won five in a row heading into the All-Star Weekend and should be well rested for the Lakers, as San Antonio has no games before Friday.

The Lakers also won five straight heading into the break to put themselves 1 1/2 games behind Houston for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The Lakers' recent run has everyone falling in love with them again.

It also has people wondering about whether or not the Lakers love their current roster or whether the Lakers want to find someone else to help them win their fourth title in a row. (L.A. Times)

Still, others are taking a wait and see attitude. (L.A. Times)

Yes, you guessed it, that's tough love.

2003 ALL-STAR MEMORIES

I would be remiss here at Click and Roll if I didn't share the memories of the 2003 All-Star Weekend.

My thoughts: one of the better weekends, in terms of competition, in quite some time. An interesting 989 Sports Skills Challenge, which highlighted the fundamentals of the game, a tightly contested 1 800 CALL ATT Shootout, despite the buzzer snafu, a classic Sprite Rising Stars Dunk contest and the first double-OT All-Star Game.

One thought from the dunk contest -- and everyone I talked to shared it -- Seattle's Desmond Mason, who is one of the best in-game dunkers, should have saved his first dunk of the finals for his last attempt. What was most amazing about D-Mase's first attempt of the final round was that he brought the ball up, showed the ball to the rim like a waiter shows a customer a bottle of wine -- Sir, do you approve? -- and then brought it back down between his legs and up again to the rim. Absolutely stellar.

As for the game, though the first quarter was sluggish, from the Brad Miller to Vince Carter alley-oop to final buzzer, the remaining 46 minutes were engaging and entertaining.

As for fairy tale endings, it looked as if this game might have it with Michael Jordan hitting the sick fadeaway over Shawn Marion with 3.0 seconds left in the first overtime. But alas, fate and a whistle intervened, and the West won going away in the second OT.

Still, it would have been a weekend worth talking about for the fact that it was Jordan's last All-Star Game. NBA.com asked you, the fans, for your most memorable MJ moment, so Click and Roll decided to ask the All-Stars themselves what their favorite MJ moments were.

Ben Wallace, Detroit Pistons:
"Well, actually, I was on my way to Cleveland to get ready to play junior college and that was right before they had that playoff game right before then. To see him hit that last second shot, when he jumped and spread his legs and pumped his fists. Actually, I thought he kicked Craig Ehlo. I was like: 'Man, y'all see that. He kicked him in the head.' And then I saw a different angle and saw that he didn't kick him."

Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana Pacers:
"The one that just came to my head, first the one against the L.A. Lakers, when he went up and came down like he was coming down, he switched hands and laid it up on the other side of the rim. That's my most favorite one. He has so many. The Cleveland Cavaliers. He had a couple on those guys. He hit that shot and Craig Ehlo fell out of bounds in disgust. Michael, he's just the greatest player to ever play the game."

Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics:
"He has so many. The moment that sticks out in my mind is against the Lakers in the Finals when he went down the middle with one hand, the scoop shot with the right hand and switched it over to his left hand. That's probably my biggest memory of him."

Tracy McGrady, Orlando Magic:
"Mike is Mike. Every time Mike stepped on the court, he made memories. There are so many. This guy did so much over his career, I just don't have a favorite. His whole career is my favorite moment."

Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets:
"I think just the clinching of the championships, the ultimate goal. When you talk about MJ, it's the championships, those six that he has. It's the ultimate moment, to think about the professional, winning six alone, I don't mean by himself, but as a team, that's the one thing that stands out the most is that he's a winner."

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers:
"The 1988 All-Star Game. The dunk competition and the whole weekend, and that's why I'm wearing 1988 Jordans."

Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves:
"I have twelve to fifteen hundred MJ moments. My favorite is probably when he hit [Charles] Oakley on the baseline and then dunked on Pat [Ewing]. It's just one of the many, really, really, really ... and I saw some on TV yesterday and they were voting, and the switch of the hands against the Lakers won, when he made Oakley 360-him and Starks and dunked on Pat, I liked that a lot."

What does it mean to play in his final All-Star Game?
"It means a lot, and I'm not gonna sit here and play like I'm not excited. I'm more appreciative and happy that I'm here to be a part of it."

Garnett, as you know, would go on to win the MVP of Jordan's final All-Star Game.

Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns:
"Most of the time, I loved it when he hit the game-winning shots in the Finals. Just that he won his six rings. It's unbelievable."

Steve Francis, Houston Rockets:
"I like the game when he was sick against Utah."

MORE ALL-STAR TIP-INS

Click and Roll's author poses (note the blue shirt sleeve on the far, far left) with P-Diddy and his family.
Jesse D. Garrabrant
NBAE/Getty Images
Here are more things Click and Roll saw and heard during the 2003 All-Star Weekend:

  • TNT's Total Motion, which captured the dunkers in a video time-lapse, was excellent. We want more
  • The All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online emcee called the Sonics' Brent Barry, Rick Barry
  • Speaking of Barry (Brent), he likes to keep his warmup top on during All-Star Saturday. When he won the dunk contest in 1996, he left his Clippers warmup on. This year in the 1 800 CALL ATT Shootout, he kept his Sonics' warmup on
  • NBA Commissioner David Stern nearly caught a T-shirt launched from a hand cannon (it fell two rows in front of him)
  • Sprite Rising Stars Dunk contest winner Jason Richardson needs his own Silhouette, kind of like Mike's. While MJ almost does the splits in his, Richardson does a little scissor kick. It could be on his own pair of shoes. (I should have been an agent)
  • Richardson's dunk to win the contest was one of the more impressive in any contest. What do you expect from a guy who has "NASTY" tattooed on his forearm?
  • I learned what the "NFZ" on Ben Wallace's wrist bands represented: No Fly Zone.
  • The bling-bling on celebrity row was blinding.

    As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said to Ernest Hemingway: "The very rich are different from you and me." Hemingway replied: "Yes, they have more money."