NBA All-Star Friday Wrap-Up
The NBA’s All-Star Weekend kicked off on Friday with player interviews, the Rising Stars practice, Basketball Hall of Fame announcements, the Sprint All-Star Celebrity Game and the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
While the trade rumor mill hasn’t gone away, the events on Friday provided a nice distraction and break from all the speculation. Nearly everyone at the events were there to have fun and enjoy the atmosphere.
Rising Stars Practice
Team Shaq took the court first led by Miami HEAT assistant coach David Fizdale, who ran the group through a couple of basic plays and then let the group enjoy themselves with some relaxed shooting. This guard-heavy team will look to All-Star Kyrie Irving to carry them if necessary, but the returnee was advising his teammates to just have fun. Kemba Walker continued the theme that the players were just there to have fun, but Chandler Parsons promised a 25-point blowout victory for Team Shaq.
There was a decidedly different approach when San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer took Team Chuck through their paces. Team Chuck has size with Anthony Davis, Tristan Thompson, Nikola Vucevic and Kenneth Faried on the roster and they have their own rising star playmaker in Ricky Rubio. Budenholzer ran a more serious practice session designed to utilize his serious rebounding and around the rim advantage.
At the end of the practice, the Rising Stars included a lucky fan in a knockout shooting game and Team Chuck let the cute kid win.
Basketball Hall of Fame Finalists
Earlier today, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the five direct-elect members, three award winners and this year’s 12 finalists.
This is the third year of the new process to honor those who had previously slipped through the cracks. The Hall has five distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas of the game and directly elect one new member to the Hall each.
EDWIN B. HENDERSON Elected as a contributor by the early African American pioneers committee, Henderson first learned about basketball in 1904 while at Harvard University. He then introduced the game to his black students in Washington D.C. and pioneered organized basketball for black youth along the mid-Atlantic coast.
ROGER BROWN Elected as an ABA Player, Brown was a four-time ABA All-Star and three-time ABA champion with the Indiana Pacers.
RICHARD GUERIN Elected as a player by the veterans committee, Guerin was a six-time NBA All-Star and scored 14,676 points during a 13-year career.
OSCAR SCHMIDT Elected as a player by the international committee, Schmidt declined the chance to play in the NBA to remain an amateur and represented Brazil in five summer Olympics. The top scorer in the Olympics three times, he averaged 42.3 points per game in 1988. Schmidt is in the FIBA Hall of Fame.
RUSS GRANIK Elected as a contributor, Granik spent 30 years in the NBA league office and finished his career as the league’s Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer.
The Hall also acknowledged three award winners today.
Legendary college coach George Raveling won the 2013 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Eddie Doucette and John Feinstein are the 2013 Curt Gowdy Media Award winners. Doucette was the original voice of the Milwaukee Bucks and Feinstein has written about basketball for the past 30 years.
The Hall also named 12 finalists who must receive 18 of a possible 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be elected later this year.
SYLVIA HATCHELL Hatchell has coached 900 women’s Division I victories and is the only coach to win national championships at three different levels.
DAWN STALEY Staley is a five-time WNBA All-Star, two-time National College Player of the Year and a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist.
MAURICE CHEEKS Cheeks is a four-time All-Star, four-time NBA All-Defensive team selection and an NBA champion.
BERNARD KING A four-time NBA All-Star, King averaged better than 22 points over a 15-year career.
TOM HEINSOHN Nominated as a coach, Heinsohn won Coach of Year, two NBA Championships and had five first-place finishes in the Atlantic Division as the head coach of the Boston Celtics. Heinsohn is already a Hall of Famer as a player.
MITCH RICHMOND An NBA champion, Richmond played 14 NBA seasons and scored 20,497 points. He was a six-time NBA All-Star, the NBA Rookie of the Year, an NBA All-Star Game MVP and won Olympic Gold and Bronze medals.
RICK PITINO A three-time Coach of the Year, Pitino has coached three different teams to NCAA Final Four appearances, won a national championship and has won over 600 games in his collegiate career.
GUY LEWIS A two-time Coach of the Year, Lewis has almost 600 wins over 30 years as a head coach and has led Houston to five NCAA Final Four appearances.
SPENCER HAYWOOD An NBA champion, Haywood played 12 seasons in the NBA scoring 14,592 points and grabbing 7,038 rebounds. He was a four-time NBA All-Star. Haywood holds several ABA records and is an Olympic Gold medalist.
JERRY TARKANIAN A four-time Coach of the Year, Tarkanian has won 990 games, made four NCAA Final Four appearances and won a national championship.
TIM HARDAWAY A five-time NBA All-Star, Hardaway played in 13 NBA seasons and scored 15,373 points. Hardaway has won an Olympic Gold medal.
GARY PAYTON An NBA champion, Payton finished his career fourth all-time with 2,445 steals and eighth all-time with 8,996 assists. A two-time Olympic Gold medalist, nine-time NBA All-Star, nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection and NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Payton earned his nickname “The Glove” for his defense.
The finalists who are elected will be announced in April and inducted in September.
Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game
The Celebrity All-Star game got a big boost for long-time NBA fans when legends Dikembe Mutombo and Clyde Drexler lent their presence to this quasi-athletic event. Olympic Gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt provided a celebrity really worth watching.
The celebrity teams were coached by James Harden and Russell Westbrook with assistance from celebrity coaches Queen Latifah and Samantha Harris. The WNBA contributed a couple of current athletes in Tamika Catchings and Maya Moore. The Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, can still play. Former NBA players Sean Elliott and Bruce Bowen rounded out the basketball talent.
Pregame, Bolt let everyone know he loves basketball and that he’s a big dunker and he threw one down for the fans during the game. Comedian Kevin Hart dominated much of the proceedings again this year and last year’s suspect MVP made some forgettable predictions that included he would repeat as MVP. At the end of the night Hart’s team had won the contest and as the eighth-leading scorer on his team, somehow Hart was anointed MVP.
The game itself was slow. It took over four minutes before both teams had scored and the 30-19 halftime score accurately reflected what was going on. For much of the game, the players with real basketball skills were deferring to various celebrities. The highlight of the night was a Mutombo block after a foul call followed by his famous finger wag. A race between Bolt and Hart provided some novelty and yet another stage for Hart to continue his act. Later, Hart was buried in silly string by Benny the Bull and somehow that just seemed like the right thing to do.
It was another blowout on the scoreboard again this year, but no one was paying attention to that aspect of the game anyway.
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge
For the second time, rookie and sophomore selections were put into a pool and drafted for Team Shaq and Team Chuck in a battle of the color analysts.
The theme was the shooting of Team Shaq would be too much for the big men of Team Chuck to overcome and Shaq boldly predicted a 20 point blowout, but that is not how the evening unfolded. The opening play was an alley-oop from Ricky Rubio to Kawhi Leonard and Team Chuck never looked back.
As expected, there was little defense played to start the game as the two teams traded baskets, but where Team Shaq could only manage to maintain a 50 percent shooting average on the night, Team Chuck stayed in the sixties and everyone on the roster nailed at least one three-pointer except Tristan Thompson. Midway through the first half, Team Chuck had a balanced attack of 10 made threes and 10 dunks. It took the guard-heavy Team Shaq all game to hit their ninth three-pointer.
At the half, Kenneth Faried led all players with 19 points on 8-11 shooting as Team Chuck had rolled out to a 90-66 lead and used their size to out rebound Team Shaq 25-11. The highlight of the half-time was Karl Malone’s story about how Barkley stored Vaseline in his navel for use during games.
The second half was more of the same except for the show put on by Irving. Irving scored 22 second half points to boost his numbers to 32 points, six rebounds and six assists on the night. His personal highlight was breaking the ankles of Brandon Knight, rising up to drain a jumper and then shushing the crowd.
The game’s MVP was Faried, who put on a show with 40 points and 10 rebounds. Faried give the fans a taste of what to expect on Saturday when the game turned into an uncontested slam dunk contest during the last two minutes. Faried could surprise a few people.
Other notables included Leonard with 20 points and seven rebounds, Thompson had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Rubio and Isaiah Thomas had 10 assists each and for Team Shaq, Dion Waiters had 23 points on 11-12 shooting.
This game ended in a record setting blowout. Team Chuck outscored Team Shaq 163-135 and out rebounded them 51-24. That’s two wins in a row for Barkley over Shaq.
All-Star Friday is just the start of the events and the best is yet to come on Saturday and Sunday so stay tuned to HOOPSWORLD all weekend.