The NBA All-Star Weekend is a great hang, a great social event. The All-Star Game, the Celebrity Game, the Three Point and Slam Dunk contests. The players, the athletes, the stars, the personalities, the luncheons, the parties. General admission, or by invitation only.
Clubs and promoters hustling, trying to fill their venues with players and big names to attract those who pop bottles—and are naive enough to pay the exorbitant admissions prices. Rumors of Prince performing at Michael Jordan’s sneaker party are true.
Get on an elevator, there’s Scottie Pippen. Walk in the lobby, there’s Rick Fox. Magic Johnson, standing there, waiting. Rhianna and Floyd Mayweather being escorted to floor seats alongside William Jefferson Clinton, opposite Spike Lee and basketball’s royalty, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
It’s all part of the allure. It’s what endears fans and ballers to the game and to the events surrounding the game. The intimacy of it, even with all of the security check points and the unnecessary pomp and circumstance. And it was here, in New York City! At Madison Square Garden!
The East and West teams, comprising the NBA’s new and known all-stars, names you would know—LeBron James, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony, the only New York player to be voted in for the East; and Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, the Three Point Shot contest winner, and Dirk Nowitzki for the West—gave the attending audience and TV viewers a high scoring, entertaining game. The West won, 163-158. Westbrook’s 41 points was one short of the record held by Wilt Chamberlain since 1962, knocking Jordan’s game high of 40 in 1988 to number three in the record books. Westbrook was the game’s MVP.
When asked about injuries and getting back to where he is now, he stated, “You never want to take no games off, especially an All-Star Game, to get a chance to go out and show your talents. I’m blessed to be able to play the game that I love.”