Posts Tagged ‘Pro Bowl’

It’s the (3rd) most wonderful time of the year. The fans are all yelling to see a better dunk than last year. It’s the (3rd) most wonderful time of the year. With the exception to Christmas and March Madness, NBA All-Star Weekend is my favorite time of the year and this year’s festivities kick-off tonight in Los Angeles.

The NBA has one of the most prestigious and fun-filled All-Star Weekends of all its competitors. The NFL Pro Bowl is a joke, the NHL All-Star Game is awesome but no one cares about it, and the MLB All-Star Game is over once the Home Run Derby ends. The NBA is a league based off individual personalities of the past and present and they have really been able to hone in on their strengths to maximize the entertainment aspect of the weekend.

While their selection system is flawed, they allow fans to have a say in voting for the starters. The events are integrated with celebrities, bringing in different demographics that may not necessarily be NBA fans. And most of all they pay homage to the legends that made the league what it is today.

The happy-hour of the weekend begins this afternoon with the BBVA NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. This game allows celebrities like Justin Bieber, Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Kardashian, Bill Simmons, and Common to play with NBA legends like Magic Johnson, Bill Walton, and Scottie Pippen. These games are always very exhibitionist but it allows you an insight into the surprising athletic ability that celebrities have, that you never knew.

Tonight’s headliner is the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge. This game tends to have the most competition of all the events in weekends past, and sometimes even has the best dunks. This year should live up to its reputation with rookie sensations like Blake Griffin, Landry Fields, and John Wall coached by Amare Stoudemire taking on the sophomore standouts like Stephen Curry and DeJuan Blair coached by Carmelo Anthony. If Blake Griffin plays I predict that the Rookies win, if not then the Sophomores should stomp on the Rookies.

Speaking of Carmelo Anthony… This may be the last time you see Carmelo wearing blue and yellow, blue and yellow, blue and yellow, blue and yellow. Before All-Star Saturday Night commences, Carmelo will hold meetings with the Knicks and Nets to hopefully close a deal. It is obvious that he wants to play for my Knicks, but with Jimmy Dolan begin stingy with our players (and rightfully so) the Nets and owners Mikhail Prokohrov and Jay-Z have been able to sneak back into the picture to try and swindle Melo at the 11th hour.

Another new event the NBA has implemented is the NBA D-League All-Star Game. The D-League has become a formidable breeding ground for players to step up their game in hopes of making it to the league. They have pro-affiliated teams in small to mid-sized markets, mostly throughout the South, and they will be holding their All-Star Game as a way of showing the level of talent they have and allowing NBA scouts to evaluate that talent, while they are all in town for the other events.

The opener of All-Star Saturday night is the Haier Shooting Stars where NBA players team up with legends and WNBA players in a game not much different from a halftime lay-up, free throw, three-point, and half-court shot contest. It is rarely taken seriously and is usually a time where fans in attendance are in line getting their popcorn for the following events.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge is my second favorite part of the weekend and this year’s should be a doosy. This year’s participants are Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, and John Wall. They will compete to complete and basketball obstacle course in the fastest time. I really enjoy this event because it shows you the amount of talent and athletic ability that is prevalent in the NBA and that is in a league of its own, literally. My predicted winner for this event is MVP front-runner, Derrick Rose, he is the fastest player in the league and ultimately is passing that wins, and I feel he has the best chance.

The next event is the tFoot Locker Three-Point Contes with Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, Daniel Gibson, James Jones, Paul Pierce, and Dorell Wright. This can be somewhat of a tiring event for players who continue on to higher rounds. The bigger players tend to better because they don’t have to try harder to jump higher to reach their apex with each shot. That being said I think Ray Allen, the league’s most pure shooter and best three-point shooter of all time, will fall short to the longer Kevin Durant.

And the coup de grĂ¢ce of NBA All-Star Weekend, The Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. I consider myself to be a connoisseur of dunks as it is my ultimate aspiration to be a Dunkologist and write a thesis on not only the quality of the dunkage but the mass varietals of dunkage. This event to me, is like archaeologist discovering a real Jurassic Park and having free reign to dust it off as he or she pleases.

This year’s participants are Serge Ibaka, DeMar Derozan, JaValle McGee, and the infamous Blake Griffin. With the entire world (myself included) hopping on the most emphatic strawberry-blonde dunker ever, some of the other contestants have been able to fly under the radar. When he first announced that he would participate he held a contest for fans to submit videos for him to complete in the dunk contest. I have a feeling his one downside might be his lack of creativity, so if he were able to plagiarise this dunk he has an even higher chance of winning.

Serge Ibaka is on my fantasy team, so I have a vested interest in his success but he has done nothing to impress me this year. DeMar Derozan is the smallest of the competitors so his hangtime gives him a slight edge. He also is very athletic and able to do some things others can not with his more quaint stature. He also has a few tricks up his sleeves (even though basketball jerseys don’t have sleeves) and if he can pull off whatever he is trying to accomplish with this, it may be one of the best dunks of all time.

JaValle McGee, however, is the tallest and longest player in the contest which can take more effort to achieve the “wow factor.” You would think that being from UNR he would lack intelligence (I had to throw my Reno dig in) but he must have been one of the few that slipped by. If he can take these few practice dunks to the next level he will give Blake Griffin a serious run for his money. I also want to point out that I have done half of these dunks 10 years ago on 8 foot hoops. I’m not saying I’m better than them but I did think of them a long time ago.

The real winner will be someone who can use their size to their advantage and combine dunks of the past to spawn a new dunk that no one has ever seen. I think it will come down to Blake Griffin and JaValle McGee and being a Blake Griffin fan I win whether he wins or loses because he will still be nasty, so I will taking the underdog, JaValle McGee to win off pure creativity in a dunk contest that has the pieces to be right up there with the 2007, 2001, and 1987 contests. And if it sucks than next year they should just let Team Flight Brothers run the contest.

As if that isn’t enough theatrics for one weekend, there is still a game to be played. The game itself tends to have absolutely no defense, complimented by 30 foot three-point shots and fast break power dunks and is more humorous than competitive. The players are all mic-ed up and that provides more entertainment than the game itself. I feel the East has more talent and veterans, so I think they will be the ones to be able to hunker down at the end to get the “W.”

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In this dead week of football where analysts talk about the Super Bowl all week and begin to talk about the Pro Bowl Sunday morning, I feel as it is best for me to fall in line with with them and instead of touching on the more serious nature that is the Super Bowl and instead talk about the more celebratory things in football like dancing, spiking, and joy.

Whether they are premeditated and choreographed or on impulse and impromptu, we as fans love end-zone celebrations. Whether it is our team, in which case anything and everything goes or the opposing team/team we hate and we think they should be flagged for “excessive celebration” we are enthralled with these tea-parties in the end-zone. I know I love them and hope you do as well, so here are my top ten end-zone celebrations of all time.

10. DeSean Jackson

Maybe, because this is still fresh in my memory that I am somewhat biased but I really enjoyed this celebration. Even though I cannot stand DeSean Jackson, he turned an average” 10 yard out route” into a run that could not have been caught by anyone in the NFL let alone the mediocre Dallas secondary. Although there was no preconception of what he would do there was an eency weency amount of taunting mixed in with his somersault, which I can appreciate.

9. Terrell Owens

No, it is not a Jabawockee. It is one of the many celebrations brought to you by Terrell Owens. If he spent less time thinking about what he was going to do after he catches the ball, I guarantee he would free up some room in that large brain of his for concentrating on actually catching the ball. This wasn’t his best ever but I liked the “popping and locking” and can never get enough of it.

8. Chad Johnson

Yes, at this point he was Chad Johnson not Chad Ochocinco. However, he announced yesterday that he is legally changing his back to Chad Johnson in case anyone was worried and wants to start putting stuff up on eBay. The Batman to TO’s Robin is also well-known for his celebrations and short-arming passes but we all love those now rare occasions when he does eventually reach the end-zone, waiting with anticipation for what he will do.

7. Randy Moss

Even though Randy isn’t exactly in the height of his career, at one point he was the biggest threat on the field with his ability to get behind and above any corner and safety and he did it plenty of times throughout the former half of his career. This wasn’t one of his best catches but it was one of his best celebrations. I am usually a stickler for sportsmanship, but in this case I differ with Joe Buck. Pretending to moon and actually doing it are completely different and for that I don’t mind much.

6. Steve Johnson

While this season, Steve Johnson may be better known for the touchdown celebration that never happened because he dropped balls that could not have been thrown any better. However, I feel he has a lot of potential to be a great receiver and bring us more clever touchdown celebrations like this one.

5. Terrell Owens

This dance alone has balls. To be able to mock Ray Lewis and live to tell about it is reason enough to make the list. But this celebration is also near and dear to my heart because at Kyle Brewer’s wedding this summer, I taught the exact same dance to newly appointed USC Athletic Director, Pat Haden.

4. Braylon Edwards

Not only did Braylon Edwards save my fantasy team on several occasions this year he inspired me with this “dougie” to teach under privileged children “how to dougie.” It was perfect timing in that he was able to “dougie” on the defender and when the music kicks in just at the right time. While he doesn’t always make the best decisions behind the wheel and he may no longer be a J-E-T Jet after this offseason but I always had a man-crush on his beard.

3. Lance Moore

First of all, the title of the video is pretty funny lol. I am a sucker for hip-hop culture and anytime athletes embrace their urban roots and I am right there rooting for them. Lance Moore also was a good pick-up for me in fantasy this year with Reggie Bush out and he had plenty of opportunities “to jerk it” more often.

2. Terrell Owens

This one I especially like because it was on Dallas. On the incurring possession Dallas would drive down the field and score on an Emmitt Smith run of which he would take back the star, so to speak. TO would answer back on a second touchdown only to get blindsided which I also especially liked.

1. Joe Horn

The best part about this celebration is not that it was creative or premeditated but that Joe Horn had a flip-phone. And because of this celebration he will never be recognized for being a substantial receiver in the NFL but he will forever be remembered for being Joe “on the” Horn. And all of it almost went out the window when he was having trouble finding the phone he placed there prior to game time. And I always wondered if he had placed another phone in the other end-zone in case he scored at that end.