Remme's Top 5 Favorite All-Star Trip Moments
Editor’s Note: Timberwolves.com’s Mark Remme compiled his Top 5 favorite moments from covering the last two All-Star Weekends. He was in Orlando with Kevin Love, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams in 2012 and in Houston with Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved in 2013. This weekend, he’s in New Orleans with Kevin Love.
I’m not shy about telling people All-Star Weekend is my favorite work weekend of the year. It’s a chance to take part in arguably the most exclusive part of the sport: There is only one All-Star Game per year, and it includes the very best of the best across the league and involves fans from around the globe. I feel fortunate every day that I get to be part of it. So as we celebrate All-Star 2014, I put together a list of my favorite moments from the past two years.
5. Kevin Love’s Media Circuit 2012
All All-Stars, Rising Stars and All-Star Saturday Night participants are required to do a media circuit at one point during the weekend. It is when they talk with podcasts, satellite radio outlets, NBAE, ESPN, etc. The first year, we got off the plane and took a bus with Kevin straight to the players hotel where we got a chance to see him do a number of interviews. We were in the room during his taping of The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons, were right there when he chatted with Ahmad Rashad and got to see him roll through the halls with some of the biggest media names in the business. It was a great experience, especially since it was my first two hours of my first All-Star Weekend.
4. Rising Stars Challenge 2013—Ricky and Alexey Take Center Stage
Ricky Rubio and Alexey Shved both took part in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge last year and were incredibly fun to watch. All-Star Weekend obviously caters to Rubio’s style of play, and when you give him space on the court he’s going to dazzle you with his alley-oops and his sneaky plays. You’ll recall the play he had in the 2012 Rising Stars when he dribbled between DeMarcus Cousins’ legs and fed Blake Griffin with an alley-oop, and last year in Houston he drove to the hoop, had a tremendous between the legs, no-look pass behind him and left the bounce pass for Bradley Beal. Alexey Shved not only connected from 3 like he did in the first half of last season, but he also had a couple instances where he showed off his hops. He had an alley-oop jam, plus he attempted a windmill dunk all alone in transition. It didn’t fall, but it was an awesome attempt. The best part of this game was afterwards, Alexey Shved gave his nametag from his locker to a member of our PR department because they spelled his name “Alexy Shved,” not “Alexey Shved.” He was asked why he didn’t want to keep it, and Shved replied, “Because it’s not my name.”
3. Derrick Williams In The 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest/Love In The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
D-Will didn’t win the contest that year, but I do believe if he would’ve nailed his final attempt he would have. He tried several attempts at a very difficult dunk that just wouldn’t quite fall. But he hit his first dunk jumping over top of a motorcycle (he rode out on the back as Crunch drove him playing California Love), and he in his second dunk with the help of Ricky. Ricky jogged baseline toward the hoop and tossed the ball off the skinny side of the backboard. D-Will followed up, grabbed the ball in mid-air and hit a 360 jam. It was sweet. That last dunk would have iced it for him, but he couldn’t get his actual dunk to go so he had to use a vanilla dunk as time expired. Either way, it was fun to see the Wolves represented in the dunk contest in person. And D-Will wore some sick shoes during the event—they had this powder blue look that matched the theme of the Weekend in Orlando. He was obviously disappointed after the event, but you could tell he enjoyed it and would do it again if asked.
As for Love, he did win the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest in 2012. What I remember most about that event is while Love was having an incredible year and had really upped his 3-point shooting, I didn’t really expect him to win it all. I just figured with some of the sharpshooters in the field, including Kevin Durant, Love would put on a good show but likely wouldn’t top the field. But after weathering the first round, Love was fantastic. He held his own with the best of them, and sure enough he went head-to-head with Durant in the finals. Love came out on top and was so happy in his post-event press conference. It was a really cool moment.
2. The Entertainment Factor:
One things I’ve learned about the NBA All-Star Weekend is that they do entertainment right. The arena these days has a big stage behind one of the baselines that is used in two-fold. One, this is where the players are announced before the All-Star Game, which is a cool deal in itself. The reserves walk out on the sides and are introduced, and then the starters are generally raised up from below right in the middle of the stage. It’s all inclusive with music, smoke, spotlights and the works. Very cool to see. But the artists who are part of the weekend are just as fantastic, and in a lot of ways it adds worth well beyond the game itself. Over the last couple years, I’ve seen Alicia Keyes, Nicki Minaj, Fallout Boy, Pit Bull, Neyo, Chris Brown and others perform live. I personally developed much more of an appreciation for Fallout Boy and Pit Bull thanks to seeing them live—it’s weird how that works, but I’ve had it before when I go to concerts I’m not super excited about and end up loving the artists. Live performances really add a lot of entertainment value, and it’s definitely something that’s front and center at All-Star Weekend.
1. The Pregame Photo Shoot 2012
The moment that sticks out to me most was the pregame team photo shoots in Orlando before the 2012 All-Star Game. We’re in the Magic’s practice facility with a bunch of photographers and a select group of fans who were fortunate enough to be in the room. Then the players come in wearing their jerseys for the first time. I remember the Eastern Conference coming in with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade joking around and having a good time. Carmelo Anthony was part of that group, too. And then the West came in. Love was there hanging out with Blake Griffin for a bit. The guys began congregating before the team photo. But the thing I remember most about that was when Kobe Bryant came in. The players were roped off from the fans, but they could come right up, shake hands and talk to them as they went by. Kobe stopped and talked to this little girl—she couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. He asked her what her name was, she told him and I remember Kobe shaking her hand and telling her, “That’s a beautiful name.” When you’re in a room with these All-Star athletes and they show you a moment of humanity like that to a young fan and her family, it really puts things into perspective. This event, this league as a whole, is all about the fans. It’s important that the players don’t lose sight of that, and in those little moment it is where the foundation between the players and the fanbase is built. I remember looking around that room, watching everything that was taking place. I was standing next to my co-worker, and we both agreed this was the coolest part about what we do.