When Keeping It Real Goes Right On The 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend

chris paul 2013 nba all star game mvp

By G. Hylton / @realgoesright

Welcome to the The Sports Fan Journal All-Star Weekend Recap. I’m your host, RealGoesRight. Over the last few years, I haven’t given more than a cursory glance to the All-Star Weekend festivities, choosing to mostly pay attention to the game on Sunday and ignore Friday and Saturday night events.

During that stretch I missed 2 dominant games by Kevin Durant in the Rookie/Sophomore (now Rising Star) challenge as well as Kyrie Irving’s 34-point outing (more on this guy later) last year. I figured this year, I’d take in every portion of the weekend from Friday to Sunday and, therefore, wouldn’t miss a thing.

This isn’t your typical ASW recap. Most sports outlets write these recaps as professional writers who need to turn in articles by a deadline for paychecks. This article? Written from the eyes of an NBA fan. Complete with views, biases, “strong” language and a complete disregard for word counts. Oh ... and just tad* bit of “haterism.” So how did my first full weekend of ASW watching go?

Well let’s start with the ...


David Stern needs to do one of two things with this game:

  1. Scrap this entire shit in its entirety or

  2. Find some celebrities who actually know how to play basketball.

The celebrity game is hardly worth watching, and everybody thinks it’s a waste of time, even the NBA.  Throughout the entirety of the celebrity game, TNT ran interviews with a myriad of different players from Chris Paul to Dwight Howard, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez and others.

A large majority of the interviews aired while the game was playing. Not to mention, the commentary of the celebrity game was just as lacking as the action on the court. Then again ... I guess there's only so much one can do to make a boring game exciting.

Speaking of a boring game, I have to get this off my chest. Nobody ever needs to invite Common to a pickup basketball game. Ever. He’s terrible. I never saw “Just Wright,” which if you’re unaware is where Common played as a professional basketball player in a movie with Queen Latifiah. I’m not sure how he got the role, but clearly, being able to actually play basketball couldn’t have been part of the job description.

Other highlights include Usain Bolt taking 12 steps on his way to dunk ... and being unable to dribble and move in any direction at the same time. Fastest man in the world, sure. Baksetball player? Hardly. Clyde Drexler and Sean Elliot did a good job of being absolutely useless. I counted 3 Sean Elliot airballed jump shots, and I think he actually missed a layup and fell into the crowd. Honorable mention goes to Bruce Bowen who jacked up a few airballs from 3-point distance himself.

I really wanted Arne Duncan to take over as he was clearly the best player on the court, but he seemed more interested in passing the buck than anything. Lastly, Ne-Yo and Trey Songz have the worst-looking jump shots I’ve ever seen. Well ... not counting that “Hunger Games” kid Hutcherson who shoots like my little sister.

Kevin Hart can hoop. He actually has pretty decent handles and had some nice driving moves to the lane over Hutcherson. Terrence J, awkward as he looked, was also getting buckets (word to Uncle Drew).


I had super high expectations for this game. Mostly because I was positive Kyrie Irving was about to show his ass for 40 minutes and I could make up for all the Cleveland games I hadn’t been watching all year.

So you can imagine my disappointment when he played much of the game without any sort of real passion, which brings me to my next criticism.

David Stern needs to find a way to incentivize competitive play to an exhibition game. I mean, we can always say, “There’s a chance they’re going to get hurt so they should hold back.” And hold back they did. Granted, Team Chuck was shooting the lights out on Team Shaq, but much of the game was played with very little, if any, defensive intensity, and I think the overall product of the game suffered for it.

In any event, there were a few folks I was definitely impressed watching.

Kawhi Leonard, who I already know is a hooper, showed off his range and versatility by knocking down a variety of jumpers and 3-point shots. Ricky Rubio showed off every fancy pass his mind could create on the fly. He had a couple of beautiful alley-oops to Kenneth Faried, and it looked like he had the ball on a string. Isiah Thomas was my early MVP candidate, and earlier in the game he was shooting the lights out going 4 for 4 from 3-point land but trailed off at the end of the first half.

The player I was most impressed by was Alexander Shved. I don’t watch too many games involving Minny, so I had no idea who this kid was. He made his presence known though by knocking down jumpers, dunks, showing off a few handles and making his presence felt on the offensive side of the court.

And of course, one had to take notice of the MVP, Kenneth Faried. He had the most energy on the court, played both offense and defense, blocked shots, scored 40 with 10 rebounds, and put on a little show of dunks when the game was well out of reach for the for Team Shaq.

This wrap-up would not be complete without talking about Kyrie Irving and the NBA player formally known as Brandon Knight, who’s new name is “Brandon Irving.”

Truthfully, I was hoping for something more along the lines of this when the game first started and I felt like they waited far too long to make it this interesting, but with a crossover this good, you really can’t complain much.



New to this year’s All-Star Weekend was the “East vs. West” competition. The teams come together and compete in all of the regular events, except the money goes to charities that each side represents. I think it’s a really great idea and a cool integration for All-Star Weekend and NBA Cares to do something positive for their respective charities.

First up was the Shooting Stars competition. There really isn’t much to be said here as it’s basically a couple of teams shooting from different spots on the court on a timer. I will say that Dominique Wilkins’ inability to sink a 26-foot jumper caused me to laugh uproariously on several occasions. It seems like once these older NBA players stop hooping, they collectively  get flabby and sick together.


During this completion, point guards run the obstacle course, which includes a variety of passing, shooting and ball-handling drills.

On the East side, Jeff Teague was the first one up and looked pretty damn terrible while he was doing it. Brandon Irving (fka Brandon Knight) actually had a decent showing in this one ... Jrue Holiday looked the best out of all three though.

On the West, Lin looked OK and Tony Parker stunk up the joint with his inability to knock down a jumper at the top of the key. As a matter of fact, I don’t think one player knocked down that jump shot on the first try. Damian Lillard had the best and smoothest outing by far, leaving him to go head-to-head with Holiday.

In the end, Lillard edged out Holiday.

One thing I want to point out again was the lack of effort. I think Kenny Smith called it the “too cool for school” attitude. The players running through the drills didn’t seem to be particularly interested in doing it. One could also make the argument that it was the first time at All-Star Weekend for many of the participants, so perhaps there were some nerves. I suppose it’s better to act disinterested and play in that manner than put up too much energy to possibly look stupid.

In any event, the skills challenge was decent fun, but the highlight of the night was definitely the 3-point contest.


For the record, once I saw the lineup of 3-point shooters, I had Steve Novak and Matt Bonner battling it out for 3-point shooting supremacy. And it looked to be that way in the early going.

Steph Curry took a little while to get going, but when he finally heated up looked like one of the best shooters in the league. Ryan Anderson also impressed me with his ability to stroke from long distance. In the end though, Matt Bonner went on an impressive streak where he scored 23 out of the available 30 points to advance to the 2nd round.

For the East side, I thought Kyrie Irving’s inclusion was a waste. No secret to anybody that Kyrie is one hell of a point guard, but I felt as if his talents would’ve been better served the on Friday and most definitely on Sunday. So imagine my surprise when Irving outlasted Steve Novak (because I wrote Paul George off immediately).

With Irving and Bonner the last two standing, I thought again Irving would put up a valiant effort but eventually lose to Bonner. Well apparently, Kyrie had no such plans, increasing his point total to 23 in the 2nd round. I’m not going to lie, I stared at the TV in disbelief once I realized Bonner didn’t have enough points left on the board to overtake Irving. With Kyrie hoisting up the 3-point trophy I thought to myself, “I just watched the coming-out party of the guy who’s going to be a perennial All-Star for the next 7-10 years.”


Before I bother talking about this year’s ho-hum dunk contest performances, I really need to tell you just how goddamned disappointed I was in James “No Flight” White.

I’ve been hearing about this guy for years and his dunking exploits overseas. I’ve watched him doing NBA Street type dunks on YouTube with my jaw dropped in amazement. It made perfect sense for me to believe the contest was White’s to win and everybody would bear witness to a dunker who would be able to throw his name right next to Vince Carter for best performance I’ve ever seen.

Instead, I was treated to the most epic failure I’ve ever personally witnessed.

The entire world watch James White repeatedly run from one end of the court to the other end of the court, missing dunks and looking like a damn fool. A few thoughts on my mind during his attempts were:

  1. This guy can’t even dribble the basketball.

  2. Oh ... he came out with flight attendants ... that’s the best part of his show.

  3. He should get another job. I know UPS is hiring.

With that said, the dunk contest was lame. Very lame.

There were a few highlights though, including an off-the-backboard, through-the-legs drunk by Faried, a sweet alley-oop opener with Gerald Green ... and Terrence Ross.

Credit must be given to Ross, as he definitely put on a show even if I thought he didn’t’ deserve some of his scores. His 360 behind-the-back dunk in the first round was impressive. His 2nd dunk was forgettable, but his ode to Vince Carter in the 3rd round was perfectly done. He also found a way to spice up a run-of-the-mill between-the-legs dunk by doing it over a ball boy.

Gerald Green was a fan favorite but disappointed. His double dunk idea was great in theory, but since he’s bound by reality, it ended up just looking pretty weak. His first alley-oop dunk from the side was pretty dope though. Jeremy Evans looked like a cornball dunking two basketballs, even if he did add a 360 to it, though I will say he got some style points for dunking over a painting of himself ... dunking over a painting of himself.



Overall, until we start getting more capable athletes/dunkers and people actually start landing dunks on the first try, I think David Stern needs to incentivize (there goes that word again) it to tempt bigger stars to participate. Or find something else to entertain us.

I’d rather watch NBA players play H-O-R-S-E (or even better, 1-on-1 games to 7) than sit through another horrible dunk contest


For some reason, I felt like the game started off better this year than it has in past years. There were a couple clunkers in the beginning, but it definitely seemed as if all the players on the court were making a good effort to keep the game entertaining.

Couple things right off the bat though ...

  1. CP3 is the best PG in the league. Kyrie might be the hot pick, but CP3 showed he’s still better.

  2. Kobe Bean Bryant has personal beef with Bron. In the 4th quarter, he guarded Bron all 94 feet of the court on several  possessions. Bron scored 0 points and had 2 of his 3 shot attempts blocked. In an All-Star game.

Realistically, I can’t really sit here and write the amount of highlight-worthy plays that I saw all night. I mean, I could talk about Chris Bosh playing the victim to both CP3 and Tony Parker by getting the ball crossed through his legs. Or Bron continuing to show just how much better he is than everybody else on the court. Tyson Chandler’s monster alley-oop. Blake’s relentless dunking assault on the rim. CP3 using the basketball as his own personal yo-yo.

Some things are better left unsaid ... and watched via YouTube though. I found the game to be fairly entertaining throughout, with the only real lull coming sometime around the end of the 3rd quarter. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention CP3 schooling Kyrie on the finer points of “point guardery” in the 4th quarter as well as how Kobe decided to put LeBron’s game into the crippler crossface. That 4th-quarter block at the free-throw line was disgusting.

I think Kyrie Irving did a good job at having several big moments during the weekend (not unlike Blake Griffin a couple years ago), and I look forward to watching him for years to come.

2,400 words later and that’s all folks. Thanks for reading through, and I hoped you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.


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