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TNT ready for NBA’s All-Star weekend
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On February 12, 2013 @ 5:06 pm In All,Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Reid Cherner, USA TODAY Sports
In an era when All-Star Games seem to be on the wane — you can’t bribe someone to pay attention to the Pro Bowl, and Major League Baseball changed its rules to give its “mid-season classic” some gravitas — the NBA puts on a show that fans can’t get enough of seeing.
On-site and on TV.
NBA TV and TNT have no worries about filling up four days of TV coverage until the 8 p.m. ET tipoff Sunday in Houston.
“First, it is like trading cards walking around, past, present and future,” TNT analyst Kenny Smith says of the allure of All-Star Weekend for fans on site.
And TNT Inside the NBA host Ernie Johnson Jr. says, “I’m always amazed the number of people who are there and who don’t have tickets.”
But Smith thinks that fans being able to identity with events such as the three-point shootout and slam dunk contest keep them inside watching TV, even over a weekend. Last year’s All-Star Saturday Night was the third-most watched in the 27-year history of TNT’s coverage.
And that builds up into interest for the actual All-Star Game on Sunday night.
“The skills challenges are actually the challenges laymen do every day,” Smith says. “I’m not sure how many home run derbys I’ve been in — but I’ve played horse.”
Smith says when “the competitiveness of the game” is added in, the allure becomes “a four-headed prong.”
Interest in the slam dunk contest, however, has been on decline for years. LeBron James had sent hints he might consider participating, but he’s not on the entry list.
Even so, Smith calls the participants this time “YouTube Guys” because when “you randomly search ‘best dunkers,’ these guys — (New York Knicks swingman) James White and (Indiana Pacers forward) Gerald Green – show up. This contest will be one of the top 10.”
Johnson calls the skills challenges on Saturday night the lynchpin of TNT’s coverage: “Something always happens on that night that you never think will happen.”
And that keeps the host on his toes.
“I don’t think you plan too much,” Johnson says. “It is the unscripted moments that … [For more on TNT ready to get it all on for NBA's All-Star weekend, click here.]
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