Andrew Monaco's M-Blog February 2013

Andrew Monaco serves as studio host and sideline reporter, along with play-by-play on select games, on Fox Sports Southwest, KENS and KMYS. He is the TV and radio play-by-play announcer for the Silver Stars, continues to do TV for the Rampage, (where he served as radio voice until the 2007–08 season) and handles TV on Austin Toros' telecasts. Prior to joining the SS&E family spent more than a decade covering a variety of teams.
M-Blog Archive: Nov. 2012 | Dec. 2012 | Jan. 2013 | Feb. 2013

All-Star Memories
by Andrew Monaco | Feb. 15, 2013

(Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Not all All-Star games are about basketball.

After joining the Orlando Magic in their inaugural season, 1989-90, I had the good fortune of attending a string of NBA All-Star games. The highlight from those weekends wasn’t always basketball.

The four expansion teams (Miami, Charlotte, Orlando and Minnesota) would receive all-star weekends in their new buildings. I got to experience three of the four. My memories from those weekends are as follows: 1990 Miami

The first time I ever saw HDTV. It was on display “backstage” in Miami Arena, this new technology. I would see it again during the all-star game in Charlotte the next season. What stood out was the clarity; it looked like you were watching a film, not television.

Buster Douglas upsetting Mike Tyson. That boxing upset resonated throughout Miami Arena that evening, all the way from japan. It was unthinkable. The previously-thought-of-as-indestructible Mike Tyson was knocked out. By Buster Douglas, of all people.

1991 Charlotte
This was after the Gulf War and after Whitney Houston’s stirring National Anthem prior to the Super Bowl, played that year in Tampa.

Yet one of the top memories from Charlotte is one of the best National Anthem’s I have ever heard. Branford Marsalis and Bruce Hornsby collaborated on one of the most beautiful renditions of the anthem I have ever heard.

This from a guy who used to hear Grover Washington, Jr. belt out the anthem on the saxophone or the clarinet before 76ers home games at the old Spectrum.

Dee Brown’s winning dunk in the Slam Dunk Contest. A group of us from the Magic were there to cheer on Otis Smith, but it was Dee Brown who stole the show. There was so much to enjoy, from the Gumby-like flattop (as Dee called it), to pumping up his Reeboks, to the winning no-look dunk. So much to enjoy.

1992 Orlando
This was the “home” all-star game, and we with the Magic were proud to host. What I remember most from that was the run-up to the event itself. I am very proud to have worked alongside the great Bob Lanier on so many Stay In School programs throughout Orlando and Central Florida, leading up to all-star weekend.

It was also the all-star game when Magic Johnson returned to the court and he lived up to his nickname. His performance was magic. The world, not just the sports world, was stunned that day in November 1991 when Magic announced he had HIV and was retiring. Fans still voted him an all-star starter. His numbers? 25 points, nine assists and he had Orlando Arena in his sway the whole game. The unforgettable moment was the late three-pointer he hit and both teams ran onto the court to congratulate him.

The MVP that day? Who else? Magic Johnson.

I am fairly certain I still have stuff from this all-star game. I always loved the all-star logo from that game.

On this weekend as the all-stars descend on Houston, whether you are there in person, or watching, I hope you collect a ton of memories. It is what makes these events so special.