is operating in rare air for All-Star 2005, as we're spending the weekend in the Mile High City. As part of the festivities around town, we'll provide you with behind-the-scenes coverage with our running blog. From Q&A's with players and celebs to first-person accounts to cool photos, the All-Star Blog will be your home for complete coverage from All-Star Weekend!
Saturday: Hawks fly, Suns shine and we got skills
Friday: Getting Soph, overheard at Media Avail. and a pit stop with O'Malley
Thursday: The players arrive in Denver; Shaq plays piano?

I've Only Got Iverson for You
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 21 2005 2:24 a.m. ET

For MVP voters, AI was a crystal clear choice.
(Andrew Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

Before the game, we NBA.commers ask ourselves this question: Who will win the All-Star Game MVP?

Alas, none of us had The Answer. (For the record, I said KG.)

Because, if you think about it, Allen Iverson was the logical choice to win the 54th NBA All-Star Game MVP. Obviously, his play in the All-Star Game warranted it, but coming into the All-Star Game, Iverson's been the best player in the league.

We should have known.

Iverson has averaged 37.5 points per game in his last five heading into the break, including a 60-point outburst against the Magic on Feb. 12. Pound-for-pound, the Answer may be the toughest player in NBA history. You can see how much he loves to play hoops because he throws himself at the mercy of its physical nature, night in and night out.

Yet, in the All-Star Game, the playful Iverson comes out. He thrives in the game's loose structure. (Shhhh! He did have seven turnovers.) He bobbed, weaved, deked and feinted his way to his second All-Star MVP award. I know he does this magic during the regular season, too, but in the All-Star Game, a smile comes out and the I'm-dead-serious regular-season scowl disappears. He looks relaxed.

And as we blogged earlier, next to Shaq, no one seems to enjoy this everyone-is-watching event more than Iverson.

Tonight in Denver, it showed. And now, he has something else to show: Another All-Star Game MVP award.

As for the rest of the game, we thought the West might make a run at the end, especially after Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen each hit two three-pointers late in the fourth quarter. But down the stretch, the West clanked look after open look, even missing a couple of layups.

Allen led all scorers with 17 points, Bryant was second with 16 and Iverson, Tim Duncan and Jermaine O'Neal had 15 points apiece.

Now, for our unofficial All-Star Game awards.

Making the Most of His Time Award, East: Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana
J.O. tallied 15 points and five boards in 19 minutes. That's efficient.

Making the Most of His Time Award, West: Tim Duncan, San Antonio
T.D. scored 15 points in 16 minutes and grabbed nine boards. If the West could have closed the gap at the end, Duncan probably would have been on the floor in crunch time.

The Nice-to-Have-You-Back Award: Grant Hill, Orlando
Grant, although you only played 18 minutes and scored only six points, it was nice to have you back in the All-Star Game.

Mr. Accurate Award: Shawn Marion, Phoenix
Marion had 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting in 16 minutes of play.

The Iron Man Award: Iverson
At 32 minutes, Iverson got the most burn. LeBron James was a close second with 31 minutes.

The Rookie of the Game Award: LeBron James, Cleveland
With 13 points, eight boards and six dimes, LBJ's well-rounded game put him into contention for the Game's MVP award. As it was, his debut was the best of the seven first-time All-Stars.

Here's the proof: Man can fly.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
Play of the Night: Vince Carter, New Jersey
Yeah, that off-the-glass alley oop to yourself was sweet, Vince. And in case you needed further evidence of how high Vinsanity got into the air, check out the photo to your right (and the reactions of those in press row).

Alley-Oop of the Night: Kobe-to-Amare
Sorry, A.I. and LeBron, the oop from Kobe to Amare, who waited 'til he got to the other side until he dunked it, was the prime connection of the evening.

And our final award...

Seems Like Old Times Award : Nash to Nowitzki
Of Steve Nash's six assists, two went to Dirk Nowitzki.

That's it from All-Star Weekend here in Denver. So, class, what did we learn?

On Friday, we noted that the league is in good hands. On Saturday, we found out that everyone associated with Phoenix is really, really good and that Dominique Wilkins is an inspiration to young dunkers. Last, but not least, on Sunday, we got a full picture of one of the best guards ever to play the game.

Now, it's on to the second half of the season. Nothing's settled yet. Not with Phoenix a mere half-game ahead of the Spurs for the best record in the league, and not with the Mavs and Rockets playing as well as any teams have had all year long. Sure, Miami's on a roll, but nothing's settled there either. Not with Detroit picking up steam in the East.

So, it should be a great second half. And with scoring up across the league, it should be exciting as well.

Finally, some of the entries in this blog would not be possible without the help of many people, including Paul and Marc Hirschheimer (for the photo shoots), Kevin Dobstaff (for the Skills Challenge run through), Randy Kim (lead editor) and the rest of the crew -- Mike Allen, Adam Bloom, Jeff Dengate, Jen Nelson and Eric Weinstein -- who gathered quotes, sighted celebrities and made the whole weekend an incredible experience.

We want to thank you for reading's All-Star Blog this weekend. We hope you had as much fun reading as we did writing.

We've Got the Answer
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 11:37 p.m. ET
Well, that's it for the 54th All-Star Game as the East snaps a three-game skid with a 125-115 win over the West.

The West had a ton of open looks at the end, but could quite bridge that gap.

As for the MVP, it's Iverson with 15 points, 10 dimes and five steals. It's his second All-Star Game MVP as Iverson won the award the last time the East won in 2001. Iverson becomes the 10th player in NBA history to have won at least two All-Star Game MVPs.

We'll have more in a moment.

Who's MVP?
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 11:21 p.m. ET
With seven players in double figures, it'll be tough to pick an MVP from the East. LeBron has eight boards and six assists. Iverson has nine assists. Who will it be?

T-Mac Lay-In
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 11:12 p.m. ET
Oh! T-Mac got so close with the off-the-board pass to himself. He's dunked that in the last two All-Star Games, but this time, he could only lay it in.

With 2:33 to go, the East is up 11, 122-111. For a while, it looked as if the West would make a run, but a string of missed shots hamstrung them. It'll take a miracle for the West to win this one.

Kobe Heating Up
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 11:06 p.m. ET
Kobe's just drained two three-pointers to get the West within five. He leads all scorers with 16.

Oh! My! Goodness! Stoudemire with the reverse alley-oop. Oh, he could have dunked it on the side on which he caught it, but nooooo, he went underneath. Sweet, and it had the West bench, and many fans, out of their seats.

Three Burning Questions with ... Danny Masterson
Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 11 p.m. ET
We caught up with celebrities before the game and asked them the Three Burning Questions of All-Star Weekend. Our next celeb is Danny Masterson of That 70's Show.

What's the coolest thing you've done in Denver this weekend?
"We have to do all of this NBA Jam [Session] stuff and I took home two trophies -- the Three-Point Shootout and the point guard Skills Challenge. How I don't know, but I did."

You have predicitions for Oscars?
"I think it's gonna be between Million Dollar Baby. I would give it to Avaitor.

Who do you want to see Josh Smith face next year in the dunk contest?
"I would like to see Vince [Carter] and Kobe [Bryant] do it again and I wish LeBron had done it."

Yikes! Yao!
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:58 p.m. ET
How tall is Yao Ming? When a shot was stuck in the side of the rim and the backboard, Yao tipped out standing flat-footed. Maybe that'll give you an idea of how big he is.

Also, a highlight worthy dunk by Dwyane Wade -- a double-pump reverse. You could hear the crowd murmur with anticipation as he raced down the floor.

With 12 Minutes to Go...
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:50 p.m. ET
The East has pushed their lead to six at 95-89 and have five players -- The Answer (13), LeBron (13), Jermaine O'Neal (12), Vinsanity (11) and Shaq (10) -- in double figures.

Tim Duncan leads all scorers with 15.

Reward the Big Man
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:47 p.m. ET
Was that Zydrunas Ilgauskas going coast-to-coast? Yes, my eyes do not deceive me. Good for him to get the ball back. Gotta give it to the big man if he runs the floor.

Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:44 p.m. ET
Ray Allen has a sweet, sweet stroke. Maybe that's why his kicks have "Shuga 34" stitched into the heel of his spankin' new Jordans.

Glide Speaks
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:37 p.m. ET
Want to know what Clyde "The Glide" Drexler said at halftime? Check out the chat transcript.

Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:29 p.m. ET
Eyal, the man who bounces a basketball on his head, for what seems like forever, performed during the last timeout. Yao, Dirk, Nash and Manu were transfixed by Eyal's ballhandling with his forehead. When he was done, they applauded heartily.

Best Digits So Far...
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:24 p.m. ET
That would be the quiet All-Star, Tim Duncan with 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting and seven boards. Both Vince Carter (11) and Shaq (10) are in double figures with the East.

And, who do you think has more fun in an All-Star Game: Shaq or the Answer? They both look like they enjoy the All-Star atmosphere.

Three Burning Questions with ... Rob Reiner
Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 10:23 p.m. ET
We caught up with celebrities before the game and asked them the Three Burning Questions of All-Star Weekend. Our next celeb is director Rob Reiner.

What's the coolest thing you've done in Denver this weekend?
"Being here at the All-Star Game. Just being with my kids and my family has been great."

You have predicitions for Oscars?
"I think it's gonna be between Million Dollar Baby or Avaitor, probably Avaitor. And i think Jamie Foxx and Hillary Swank."

Who do you want to see Josh Smith face next year in the dunk contest?
"I'd like to see [Slava] Medvedenko. He doesn't have much of a chance but I think if he works hard between now and next year he might be the all-time slam dunk champ. It's a long shot."

Rap Summit
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 10:20 p.m. ET
While Big (or was it Rich?) made an entrance to the halftime show on a white horse, Nelly and Jay-Z were taking refuge in NBA Entertainment offices during the show.

East by a Bit
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:56 p.m. ET
That was a spirited run for the East at the end of the second half to take a two-point lead into the half at 61-59. A.I. leads the East with nine points, while Tim Duncan leads all scores with 11 points.

The play of the first half? Gotta be Vince skyscraping his way to a monster dunk with 1:28 to go in the first half. And no, he didn't get an assist in the official scorebook.

Lee Ann Rimes is about to take the stage and we're going to take a quick break. We'll be back soon with more game action and burning questions.

Pickin' Up
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:52 p.m. ET
With Nash, Kobe, Manu and Marion on the floor, the West picked up the pace and ...

No, no, no. Vince Carter. Oh! My! Goodness! Off the glass to himself. I thought he was going to catch his neck on the rim. Good grief! Even NBA TV analyst Pete Vecsey stoud an applauded that one.

Nice to Z You
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:42 p.m. ET
Zydrunas Ilgauskas is in the game. Now everone has got some burn.

And look what happens when Z's on the floor. The East takes a seven-point lead after trailing by as many as 13. A great 20-point swing by the East.

By the way, they just had the Mavs Maniacs entertain the fans at the half. The Maniacs are a group of, um, plus-sized gentlemen in ripped t-shirts. That's one dance team you can say that truly lives large.

Chat With The Glide
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:39 p.m. ET
Remember we have Clyde "The Glide" Drexler chatting at halftime.

You can also check out when new WNBA President Donna Orender had to say in her chat earlier.

Last Man Sitting
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:35 p.m. ET
Paul Pierce and Antawn Jamison just checked in. Zydrunas Ilgauskas is the only player who hasn't seen any time yet.

Oh! And Shaq with the double-clutch. Throw it down Big Fella!

West on a Roll
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:30 p.m. ET
Oh, Ben Wallace just missed dunking that great pass from Dwyane Wade. The ball rolled down Wallace's wrist.

The West scored seven points to open the second quarter before Wallace connected on a layup. The West could face some resistance soon, as Shaq has checked back in the game.

Three Burning Questions with ... Ruben Studdard
Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 9:23 p.m. ET
We caught up with celebrities before the game and asked them the Three Burning Questions of All-Star Weekend. Our next celeb is American Idol winner, Ruben Studdard.

What's the coolest thing you've done in Denver this weekend?
"The NBA club was cool. I enjoyed performing for the kids - any time I can sing and inspire people it's cool."

You have predicitions for Oscars?
"Of course -- Jamie Foxx. That's my boy. I think he did as wonderful job in Ray and I'd love to see him win."

Who do you want to see Josh Smith face next year in the dunk contest?
"I'm still a huge Vince Carter fan so I'd say Vince Carter."

At the End of One
Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 9:18 p.m. ET
Thanks to hot shooting (.536) and domination on the boards (18-9), the West leads after one 33-27.

Three Burning Questions with ... Chris Tucker
Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 9:15 p.m. ET
We caught up with celebrities before the game and asked them the Three Burning Questions of All-Star Weekend. We'll start out with Chris Tucker.

What's the coolest thing you've done in Denver this weekend?
"You know I just flew in so I havent done anything but the best thing I've done is come to this game because this game is gonna be tight."

You have predicitions for Oscars?
"I think my buddy Jamie [Foxx] is gonna win - all of them are winners - if you've been nominated you've won."

Who do you want to see Josh Smith face next year in the dunk contest?
"I wanna see him face LeBron James."

Nice Shot(s)
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:05 p.m. ET
Lefty turnaround bank shot from Kobe? Sweet.

And then Shaq with the smooth move to the rack and the flush. Nice. The hand on the hip free throw, very stylish.

Now, we get A.I. to LeBron for the one-handed flush.

Somehwere in the middle of all that, all three Suns All-Stars entered the game at the same time.

Oh, then Kobe took it at Shaq, who took the foul.

And now Duncan's hitting threes? What's with dat?

Fast Start
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 9:05 p.m. ET
Wow, 12 points in the first two minutes. We'll take that rate.

Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 8:57 p.m. ET
Great work by Tamia on the Canadian National Anthem and by the U.S. Air Force Academy choir.

Oh, and the celebs in front of us were about to get some Champagne, but someone bumped into the waiter and a couple got a Champagne shower.

Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 8:50 p.m. ET
When you work an All-Star Weekend, and this is my fifth, you spend a lot of time around the players. Sometimes you forget what kind of reaction an NBA player gets from people who don't see them all time. Every once in a while, however, you are brought back to earth.

Four child participants from the Make-A-Wish foundation attended the All-Star photo shoot today. One of them, Timothy Taylor, an 18-year-old from Clarksville, Tenn. with Cystic Fibrosis clutched his All-Star basketball tightly. On it was an autograph from every All-Star who he asked to sign it.

"This is better than I ever imagined," Taylor said. "I thought we would just have some nosebleed seats. But when they brought us in here ..."

He trailed off, a smile on his face. Amare Stoudemire walked by and signed. Ray Allen walked by and signed. Finally, Kobe Bryant walked by. Taylor held out the ball and asked if Bryant could sign it. Bryant took the pen and swiped his name across the ball.

"Thank you," Taylor said with a huge smile.

"You're more than welcome," Bryant said.

Taylor said he made his wish and then forgot about it because he said he didn't know if he qualified. But this weekend Taylor got his wish and with it, lots of autographs.

So, how do you feel?

"I feel great," Taylor said.

Destiny, Indeed
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 8:47 p.m. ET

That's quite a contrast from "Rocky Mountain High" to Destiny's Child doing "Make Me Lose My Breath."

Cool! Fake blowing snow on the mountain side ramp to the court.

Hip Hop to Attention
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 8:27 p.m. ET
Who knew the G.I. in the field loved P-Diddy? When the rap empresario and designer made his way into the arena, the member of the U.S Armed Forces in attendance gave P-Diddy a rousing cheer. Same with Nelly.

They should really enjoy Destiny Child's rendition of "Soldier" then.

Caught before the game: Shaq talking to Bill Russell.

East Meets West
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 8:23 p.m. ET

Basketball, soccer, table tennis. Is there any sport he can't play?
(David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Went to the All-Star Photo Shoot before the players were made available to the media this afternoon. What an incredible scene in the Nuggets' practice court.

When we got there, a few members of the East squad had finished taking their individual photos. One half of the court gleamed with numerous arc lights set up for the shoot. The other half of the practice court was in a half-light. Dwyane Wade, wearing all red Converse and Allen Iverson, wearing the new generation of Rebook pumps, started shooting around. Soon Gilbert Arenas in all red adidas joined them and soon after Grant Hill in all blue adidas wandered over. Conversation turned to Saturday night's dunk contest.

"He cupped it," Wade said, talking about Hornets rookie J.R. Smith's behind-the-back dunk.

"I've never seen that before," Iverson replied.

Off to the side, Vince Carter watched the first four shoot around.

Soon all 12 players gathered for the team photo.

"Big smiles everyone," NBA Entertainment photographer Jesse D. Garrabrant instructed. "That's good."

After a few clicks and flashes, Iverson spoke up.

"I'm not the only smiling over here, am I?" A.I. asked. "I don't want to be the only one who's ..."

And then he flashed a big, silly smile.

"Not to worry," Garrabrant said. "They're all with you, Allen."

With the East still having their photo taken, the West All-Stars moved up to the practice court.

"Let's wrap this up," Joe Amati, senior director of NBA Photos said.

As the East moved out, the West moved in and a few of the guys exchanged pleasantries in passing.

Then it was the West's turn to pose and smile. One thing you notice is that the veterans of photo shoots know how to pose holding a basketball, which I call "Spalding up." First-time All-Star Rashard Lewis grabbed one of those cool gold-and-blue All-Star balls and held it out in his hand. Before the photographer could say anything, Ray Allen, who was wearing the new Jordan's with "Shuga 34" stitched on the heel, looked down and turned the ball so the "Spalding" on the ball faced the camera. Now, that's teamwork!

Tracy McGrady also showed good ball recognition in his photo. Noticing that the Spalding was upside down, he flipped it and the cameras clicked.

Soon, the West All-Stars gathered as a team and posed for photos.

"Amare, cross your arms," Amati instructed. "Great."

And then it was done. The West All-Stars made their way through the crowd of sponsors, team PR representatives, past the Access Hollywood crew that was getting an exclusive behind the scenes look at All-Star Weekend and down the stairs to meet the media.

Random Sightings and Taking Flight
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 7:48 p.m. ET
OK, we'll get to the photo shoot in a minute. But before we get to that, let's take a quick look at the celebs here in the arena. Shaunie O'Neal, Shaq's wife, has been interviewing celebrities before the game. She grabbed Scrubs star Donald Faison for a quick Q&A. Celtics great Bill Russell is sitting two rows in front of us, as is, it seems the whole cast of That '70s Show.

Also, got an update on the falcons. Before, we noted there was one falcon. Well, the Air Force Academy brought two to the game. Cadet First Class Anthony Cannone held Aurora, a beautiful and rare white Gyr-Falcon, which is native to the Arctic Circle. Aurora has been a mascot at the Academy for nine years. Cadet Thrid Class Alisa Fellhauer held Echo, who was slightly smaller than Aurora.

I made a joke that if there are any rodents in the building they should beware. Cadet Cannone said the mice (if there are any) had nothing to worry about.

"Oh no," Cannone said, "She hunts birds -- chickens and Canadian Geese."


"Yes, she's a bird of prey," Cannone said. "Air-to-air. That's why the falcon was picked as the Academy's mascot."

See, you learn something new every All-Star Weekend.

The Admiral
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 5:48 p.m. ET
David Robinson is working on his introduction for tonight's National Anthem by the Air Force Academy choir. They sound great.

Also, one of the service members is serving as a falconer. He and the bird are at midcourt watching the choir warmup. We're not sure what the bird will do (the bird has a hood on so it can't see), but we'll keep an eye on it.

Next up, we're going to go to the All-Star photo shoot. We'll have behind the scenes report from there in a moment.

Learning from the Master: Coach Walton and the Jr.NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Stars
Posted by John Hareas ( on Feb 20 2005 5:32 p.m. ET
Pulling up a chair behind the bench of the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Team, a national group of All-Stars comprised of five boys and five girls, ages 11 and 12, as they get set to play the Denver Metro YMCA, a team comprised of local top talent. The place: Center Court at Jam Session. The Jr. NBA/Jr.WNBA coach is starting to wrap up his closing remarks.

"Who is from Flagstaff?"

"I am," said 12-year-old Ileana Rosalaz-Johnson.

"Do you watch the Phoenix Suns? Thatís who we want to play like."

"Letís run, play hard and letís have fun."

Itís 9 a.m. Sunday morning and Coach Bill Walton is in full session.

"Címon, ref, what kind of call is that? Geez."

"We love to see the hard breathing and sweat. Way to go."

"See how effective the press is?! "Letís go!"

"Remember what I said about seeing the ball? Everyone has to see the ball."

"Great job."

1st QUARTER SCORE: 17 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA, 5 Denver Metro YMCA

"Nice defense. See the ball! Nice rotation."

"Rotate! Rotate! Rotate!"

"Donít worry about the refs. Letís play ball!"

"No let up. No let up!"

"Ladies, please go warm and get ready for the second half. Make sure youíre sweating and youíre ready to go Ö Drink plenty of fluids Ö."

HALFTIME: 37 Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA, 9 Denver Metro YMCA

"Good job, Cory."

"Nice pass."

"See the other team walking the ball up the floor. You never want to walk it up." "Quickness wins. Thatís where our edge is."

"Very nice."

"Youíre doing a great job."

3rd QUARTER: 52-11

"Hey ref, did you bring your glasses this morning?"

"See the ball!"

"Attack. Attack. Letís go!"

"Make the simple play."

"Nice ball fake."

FINAL SCORE: Jr.NBA/Jr. WNBA All-Stars 65, Denver Metro YMCA 19

Post game Huddle:

"Remember, academics is No. 1," said Walton. "Learn how to learn. Learn how to think. Learn how to dream, philosophize, how to create and to build a life and use basketball to build a better life for yourself. Continued success. You guys were outstanding today. This was truly an All-Star performance."

It certainly was for Jordan E. Loera, a 12-year-old from New York, N.Y.

"I had lots of fun," said Loera. "It was a blast. My favorite part was working with my teammates and Coach Walton was awesome. I learned a lot."

At the Arena
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 5:24 p.m. ET
We're here at the arena and Destiny's Child went through their sound check of their latest hit, "Soldier." You should check it out. A wind machine is involved. You'll just need to tune in later to see it all (TNT, 8 ET).

Also, just a reminder to join us on the blog and on as new WNBA president Donna Orender chats at 7 p.m. ET and Clyde "The Glide" Drexler chats at halftime of the game.

Something Special
Posted by Rob Peterson ( on Feb 20 2005 3:04 p.m. ET

Magic thinks the 54th All-Star Game could be magic.
(David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Welcome to All-Star Sunday. And if Magic Johnson is right, it should be a good one.

I caught the rebroadcast of TNT's coverage of All-Star Saturday night on NBA TV on Sunday. (What do you expect? I'm a basketball junkie.)

Magic tried, between Sir Charles' crackin' jokes, to let people know that a good All-Star Saturday Night usually leads to a good All-Star Game because the energy carries over from one night to the next. If All-Star Saturday night is good, the guys in the All-Star Game who don't participate in the Saturday's competitions, want a chance to show their stuff.

And, yes, this year's All-Star Saturday night was good.

So, buckle up and get ready for the 54th All-Star Game tonight on TNT (8 p.m. ET). Also, join us on the blog and on as new WNBA president Donna Orender chats at 7 p.m. ET and Clyde "The Glide" Drexler chats at halftime of the game.

One more quick thing,'s The Sports Guy is here. We got a chance to talk to him today in the NBA Entertainment offices. We'll look forward to his take on the All-Star Game. If you know his work, he's sure to have something interesting and hysterically funny to say. I'm just wondering what movie or TV show he'll use in drawing parallels for this game. Hopefully it'll be Rocky -- a classic.

Posted by Adam Bloom ( on Feb 20 2005 3:00 9.m. ET

Magic thinks the 54th All-Star Game could be magic.
(David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images)

Yesterday,'s Adam Bloom made his way to the United States' premiere of The Year of the Yao, which was co-produced by NBA Entertainment. Here's his report:

Is there a big enough screen to fit 7 foot 6 inch Yao Ming? Fans, press and members of the Denver community streamed into the classic Paramount Theater to find out at a Saturday afternoon screening of the new film The Year of the Yao.

The movie, co-produced by NBA Entertainment, documents the life of Yao beginning in October 2002 as he prepares to leave his roots in Shanghai for the adventure of a lifetime in the United States. The cameras follow him off the airplane in Houston, through the doors of his new house he shares with his parents, and into the ups and downs of his first NBA season with the Houston Rockets.

The incredible story is narrated by Colin Pine, a 28 year old whose life was changed the day Yao Ming arrived in the states. Colin was hired as Yao?s interpreter, and through the film the audience gets an inside look at their personal and often comical relationship.

Before the screening the two appeared on stage and Yao joked that he thought his interpreter would be much taller when he first met him.

The Year of the Yao takes you on a journey across international borders in a way that has never been documented on the big screen. Not only is this a great movie about basketball, but it also gives you an inside look at the culture of a country and people who are so supportive of their giant star. The Year of the Yao is slated for release in Spring 2005.