Posted Feb 15, 2013 10:26 PM
HOUSTON -- Not unlike the NBA's two blowout finales Thursday night that ushered in the fun and frivolity of All-Star Weekend, Friday's Sprint NBA Celebrity All-Star Game proved a one-sided affair with the James Harden-coached West squad running all over Russell Westbrook's East squad.
The 58-38 game was good fun, filled with laughter, a few antics and even a bit of decent, even intense at times, basketball action. But frankly it wasn't nearly as fascinating as the wardrobe choices of the two brave, young coaches that were once teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets before the season and now the two will reunite Sunday night as first-time All-Star teammates.
Westbrook, a fashion mogul in his own mind, dared to wear light-colored camouflage skinny pants held up by a bright yellow belt and at the ankles were tucked into yellow-and-grey high tops. A curiously tame grey tie hung from a white button-down and the outfit was completed by a skinny-fitting brownish-tan sport coat.
Harden might have outdone even himself with a blue skinny suit, a plaid bow tie that was mostly hidden by his immaculate beard, pink florescent socks and snake-skin loafers. Of course, both coaches wore the accustomed professorial eyewear.
But enough about fashion and back to the game. The West team had former Rockets Clyde Drexler and Dikembe Mutombo, plus WNBA star Maya Moore, while the East had the WNBA's Tamika Catchings and former Spurs Sean Elliott and Bruce Bowen, plus the fastest human in the world in Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
But the West's real weapon was the lone silver-haired participant, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former Harvard forward who certainly looks like he spends his lunch hour playing pickup at the Y. The fundamentally sound Duncan finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. E! News anchor Terrence Ross also had 11 points, while the rapper Common dropped 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Yet somehow, the diminutive Kevin Hart, star of "Real Husbands of Hollywood," was awarded his second consecutive MVP award despite scoring just five points. As he mocked tears holding the trophy while surrounded by the bright lights of the TV cameras, Duncan was off to the side, just happy to be there. He said he didn't feel robbed of the award, which he could have won last year, too.
"I just want to win, just want to win," Duncan said. "I can't win a popularity contest."
And Bolt couldn't win a race. The most intriguing of the competitors, the 6-foot-5 Bolt, who inspired the world with his performances at the London Games, took on Hart in a race in which they had to dribble the length of the floor, make a layup, dribble back and make another one. Hart took off way early, made his layups and was declared the winner. However, the game did provide Bolt's one highlight of the night, when he went up for a two-handed slam on his first leg of the race.
The East squad trailed 30-19 at the half and never got much going. Catchings led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds. Actor Josh Hutcherson of "The Hunger Games" was perhaps the most animated player on the floor and had 11 points, while sinking three 3-pointers. He was the only player to connect from downtown. He also managed two air balls from long range among his seven attempts.
-- Jeff Caplan
Secretary of Education shows he's got game too
Former Harvard forward Arne Duncan took Center Court at Jam Session and led the East to an easy 86-54 victory over the West.
Duncan-sanity was in full force, as the U.S. Secretary of Education who played at Harvard from 1987 to 1991, scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the East. His performance overshadowed MVP Kevin Hart's comedy, Vinny Guadagnino's hair, and the reunion of Run TMC.
MVP Bieber shows off his pro-style game in defeat
Teen superstar Justin Bieber stole the show (and the crowd) by showing off some credible basketball moves with eight points in a losing effort as the East beat the West 54-49 in the 2011 BBVA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Bieber took home MVP honors as voted no by the fans.
Actor Rapaport shines
Michael Rapaport has made a career out of portraying other people in movies and on TV. On Friday night, he pulled off a fair facsimile of a basketball player during the 2010 All-Star Celebrity Game.
Rapaport managed only four points for the West team, but his stifling defense on football star Terrell Owens -- the game's MVP the past two years -- enabled him to steal the MVP from T.O. and get the West a 41-37 win over the East. Owens scored 10 points, leading his team, but had only two after the half.
T.O. does it again
In his day job, Terrell Owens plays wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. When he moonlights as a celebrity basketball player, he's pretty good at receiving, too. Things like alley oops. And MVP trophies.
Thanks to a game-high 17 points (but only one assist -- he's a receiver, not a passer, you know), Owens nabbed the Most Valuable Player trophy by leading the East Sunrisers to a 60-57 win over West Sunsetters at the McDonald's All-Star Celebrity Game at Jam Session on Friday.
Owens, Master P lead team to victory
An NFL star and a hip-hop standout were the driving force behind the win at the 2008 McDonald's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.
Terrell Owens, star wideout for the Dallas Cowboys, and Master P, a hip-hop impresario, combined for 35 points as New Orleans managed a 51-50 win over the Hornets. Owens scored 18 points -- including a slam dunk -- and received MVP honors while Master P chipped in with 17 points, including a pair of go-ahead free throws with 19 seconds left.
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