Winners and Losers from NBA All-Star Weekend

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Now that NBA All-Star weekend is behind us, the home stretch of the season is set to kick off today. Before getting into what will happen as teams jockey for playoff position, let’s look back at the winners and losers of All-Star weekend in Houston:

Loser – My Ears

Ke$ha, Ne-Yo, Alicia Keys. Bad, Worse, the Worst. John Legend was fine singing the National Anthem, but I’d say he was cancelled out by the actress who sang Oh, Canada. Pretty sure Drake was the only one who enjoyed that.

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To be honest, I am a big Alicia Keys fan. She has given many great live performances, but she’s on a losing streak right now. I’d say her biggest problems were: singing a song about New York at an arena in Houston, the acoustics, her Hammer pants, and the choreography. That’s a lot to overcome. And I don’t even hate Girl on Fire like – apparently – the rest of Twitter does.

Winner – Damaris Lewis…do yourself a favor

I had no idea who Damaris Lewis was before this weekend. But after this, I did some Googling. The 37 consecutive tweets down my timeline asking who she was tell me I’m not alone.

Turns out Lewis is an accomplished model and dancer who has been in a few things we’ve heard of. Not that I really care, because she’s hot.

Loser – Craig Sager’s suit…again

Been saying this for decades. But they’re always…so…hideous.

Craig Sager

Loser – James “Grounded Flight” White

I got this one 100% wrong. I have watched White make incredible dunks FROM THE FREE THROW LINE in dunk contests for years. I was excited when he signed with the Knicks this season solely because of the possibility that he might enter the dunk contest.

Then he did nothing worthy of a picture for this post.

While White blamed his flaccid performance on the special basketballs used for the contest, I have to think his nerves got to him. White can obviously still jump. He actually went long on a couple attempts. In the end, White was a flop. Terrence Ross was good though. I give the contest a C overall.

Winner – Kyrie Irving

The entire All-Star weekend is geared for a player like Irving. He’s a second-year player that’s becoming a star on a non-marquee team. The purpose of ASW is to give players like this a platform to win new fans and broaden their appeal. Irving definitely took advantage.

 On Friday, Kyrie took Brandon Knight’s soul with a crossover/jumper that somehow caused Knight to fall while jumping. I had no idea this was possible before I saw it live. As a Pistons fan, a part of me died as Knight managed to fall on his back. The basketball fan in me was excited, especially as Knight tried (unsuccessfully) to heal his bruised ego by going back at Irving.

The next day, Irving caught fire in the three-point contest, winning with an impressive 23 points in the final round over the Red Mamba, Matt Bonner.

Finally, Irving played in the main showcase, Sunday’s All-Star Game. Usually, the game is a fast break and three-point exhibition until the middle of the fourth quarter. If the game is close at the end, the intensity turns up as pride takes over and the stars are actually trying to win. I was surprised to see Irving out there during “serious” play blending right in with the best players in the league. He held his own, finishing with 15 points and four assists, and showed he’ll be the best point guard in the league before too long.

Loser – Kobe Bryant

Allow me to explain.

Once Sunday’s game turned to “serious” play in the fourth quarter, Kobe announced that he would guard LeBron James for the remainder of the game. kobe-blocks-lebron-2013-all-star-game[1]He was praised during the broadcast and in print afterwards for “taking the challenge,” and making some impressive defensive stops, helping to secure victory for the West.

I witnessed a moral victory for Bryant that highlighted how lopsided the Kobe/LeBron debate is today. It was clear to me that a hyped-up Kobe was playing a throttled-down LeBron in the final minutes of that game. The blocks and steal certainly helped seal victory, but I came away from the game feeling that Kobe cared too much and LeBron didn’t care at all. Adding hollowness to the “duel” that Kobe clearly won.

I was reminded of the game in Miami when, after losing to the Heat, Kobe stayed behind for hours shooting in the gym jumpers in the arena.  That was false hustle: trying to show the world how much he cared while masking the reality that Kobe’s will to win can’t close the widening talent gap between him and LeBron. I saw it on Sunday, and I’m sure, if you cornered him, Kobe would admit the same.

That’s my All-Star Weekend report. What caught your eye, SBM Sports Fans? Who else was a winner or loser? Is any player’s future brighter than Kyrie Irving? Did you enjoy the performance by Alicia Keys? How do you handicap the never ending Kobe vs. LeBron debate today?

Hit the comments and let me know!

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  • Larry

    "I came away from the game feeling that Kobe cared too much and LeBron didn’t care at all. "

    And that's why Bryant's competitive nature on the court is only rivaled by Michael Jordan's. Same story in last year's ASG. If a player playing hard and getting blocks and stops to help his team win at the end makes him a "loser" then I'll take it!

    • Joe Sargent

      Yeah…it’s make no sense to say he “shouldn’t” have tried. But he came across like Jim Carrey when he was hooping in The Cable Guy, lol. I’m sure he (and Carrey) left satisfied, but I think it’s crazy for the coverage to be hyping it up like some epic showdown.

      How’d you react to that episode with him shooting in Miami after losing a year or two ago?

      • Larry

        "How'd you react to that episode with him shooting in Miami after losing a year or two ago?"

        If I remember correctly he was going through a mini shooting slump at the time. Anyway, not the first time he shot jumpers after a game. It's usually at home, granted, but didn't see a big deal. The media hypes up every small thing…I blame them, per usual, lol.

      • Larry

        "but I think it's crazy for the coverage to be hyping it up like some epic showdown. "

        I think the media is still salty and feeling slighted they didn't get the Kobe/LeBron showdown back in 2009 (and 2008) and feel they never will…so any opportunity for them to go at it one on one they just go all in….it's rather ridiculous to be honest and I admittedly fall into the trap every now and again, SMH.

        • Joe Sargent

          TBH, I feel like I was cheated out of that matchup as well. Just seemed like two planets destined to collide. I mean, Nike built a campaign around it.

          At least we have LeBron vs KD (is not nice) for the foreseeable future.

    • Joe Sargent

      it makes*

  • AfterMath

    Its funny but this exemplifies the coverage that the MJ turning 50 and the whole "next" MJ thing that was the question of just about every sports show over the weekend. People were saying it left and right. Kobe plays with more heart. Kobe hates to lose. Etc Etc.

    I'd also add MJ as a loser for the reported story that he's coming back into the league at 50, and MKG as a loser for getting beat badly (according to MKG) to a 49 year old MJ. The only way that should have happened is if it was a make it take it game where MJ had first shot and everything was going in…and even then, MKG is supposed to be known for defense so that shouldn't really happen.
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    • Joe Sargent

      I just can't believe MKG lost to a 49 year old man. Even if it is MJ.

      Maaaaaybe if it was a game to 3 with MJ shooting lightly contested jumpers. If it was a real game, then the Bobcats are worse off than we all thought.

  • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

    Loser: Deron Williams, how Rose and Rondo go down and he still manages to be the 3rd best PG (Kyrie, Jennings) in his conference.

    Winner: Leather, apparently.

    Loser: ESPN, TNT’s NBA coverage is far more entertaining, even Kevin Hart roasting the panel was way funnier than awkward interviews with Stu Scott

    Also, During the Heat/Thunder game, I said the gap between 1 and 2 has gotten considerably wider, I wouldn’t say Kobe is the loser he’s past his prime but Durant is entering his and LeBron is about 3 steps ahead of him still.

    Oh and that Alicia performance was bad but them hips tho…

    • Joe Sargent

      I bought 1000 shares of leather right before ASW. I hope you invested. I’m about to buy my own island.

      On a related note, I’m announcing my retirement from SBM, lol.

      Seriously tho, leather fitteds?! I think I saw leather dog tags.

  • redbonegirl

    Alicia Keyes was by far the worst. I want to put her on fire.

    Peace, Love and Chocolate,
    Tiffany

  • Uncle Hugh, BP

    1. A Clipper won the All-Star game MVP. (looking nervously outside the window for the four horsemen of the apocalypse.

    2. Craig Sager's suits are hideous, but can't tell me you don't look forward to seeing his next hideous suit.

    3. After seeing James White in the McDonald's high school slam dunk contest, I was patiently waiting to see him in an NBA dunk contest. Highly disappointed. However, his first dunk was a 50. A step inside the free-throw line, two-handed, cocked back behind his head? I don't think most people who have never dunked before realize it's much harder to dunk with two hands. No one had done it from the free-throw line, and only Jordan has done it while cocking the ball (one-handed though)(pause).

    4. Well, at least Alicia still has her looks. And I'm glad I missed Ke$ha.

    • Joe Sargent

      Can't lie, Sager and Steve Harvey are definitely on my short list of people whose horrible suits I look forward to. Harvey is pretty close to the exclusive 7-button suit. They said it couldn't be done.

      I agree that White was screwed on his first dunk. Definitely should have been a 50. He was still a collasal flop on his second dunk compared to what he's done in the past. Maybe he'll be better next year with lowered expectations.

  • Tunde

    it amazed me how people on twitter were like kobe won the matchup with lebron. all i wanted to do was tell people to check kobe's stat line. i'm not saying he didn't have a couple of nice defensive stops but c'mon. let's be real. and then all the kobe stans were saying that lebron fans were crying. funny thing is that i didn't see any lebron fans crying only kobe fans complaining about it.
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    • Larry

      "funny thing is that i didn't see any lebron fans crying "

      We clearly follow a different set of people, lol. To me it wasn't that big of a deal, but I def hyped the blocks on Twitter because I liked seeing Kobe go hard and I knew it would sting overzealous LBJ fans, lol.

      No real match up materialized, obviously, but Kobe played well a couple of possessions down the stretch.

  • http://www.singleblackmale.org/author/wisdomismisery/ WisdomIsMisery

    Kyrie took Brandon Knight’s soul with a crossover/jumper that somehow caused Knight to fall while jumping. I had no idea this was possible before I saw it live.

    I don’t think anyone thought falling while jumping was possible but I haven’t laughed that hard in quite some time. If this was the streets, Brandon would’ve been threatening to go “pop his trunk” because you can’t let someone disrespect you like that and live.

    • Joe Sargent

      Bad enough that he made Knight land on his back. He just had to go ahead and hit the jumper as well. That was the twist of the knife.
      :-(

    • J. Crawford

      My hometown team has sucked the past several seasons & I thought Cleveland should've gotten Derrick Williams at the time, but I like Kyrie Irving with the Cavs.

    • Larry

      "would've been threatening to go "pop his trunk" because you can't let someone disrespect you like that "

      LOL!…like that move 'Fresh' back in the day…buddy was getting WORKED by that little kid….went to his car and laid my man out…along with Fresh's shorty, smh.

  • http://twitter.com/John_Cannady @John_Cannady

    I'd also like to add a loser to this list: Chris Bosh. I usually like his game and how he puts in work (mainly unnoticed) but he was put into the starter spotlight by his coach and he got 'nutmegged' (ball put between the legs) not once…but TWICE! He also had a couple of airballs in the first half….just awful….

    • Joe Sargent

      Definitely a worthy choice for loser. He was so, so bad.

      Then this :

      Then this :

      Rough weekend for Chris.

      • http://twitter.com/John_Cannady @John_Cannady

        Dag….yeah…rough indeed…but Lil Wayne was foul for saying that…..he's wack/done in hip hop to me anyway…..

  • X's Dad

    Is it just me, or has the ASG lost some……..edge and luster in the last few years?? I'm talking the whole experience. Entertainment (Ne Yo and my girl Alicia Keys sucked), the game, the festivities, slam dunk and 3 point just ain't like it used to be. It's not articulate any more. It just seems like a big bling fest of sorts. I don't know, maybe it's just me……

    • Joe Sargent

      Probably would have agreed with this a few years ago. I think maybe it was a function of getting older and seeing, generally, the same thing over and over.

      Twitter has brought new life to ASW (and lots of other live events). Definitely a fresh perspective every time because it's like watching it with 1000 friends on the couch.

  • MaggK

    - I can't believe they let Kesha performed twice!!! Neyo -_-'!!! Alicia Keys wasn't that bad yall are exagerating lol!!!
    - I love how KG just told Craig Sager to stop wearing this kind of outfits.
    - I just love Irving, he was shining!
    - I liked your article until the last point… JOE? REALLY? lol! James was complaining about MJ choosing Kobe over him, didn't take the challenge on sunday (WHY?!), and now Kobe is the looser because he took it too seriously?! The same way you think Kobe was faking the shooting in the gym, i think Lebron was faking the i don't care attitude after the 2nd block…

    • Joe Sargent

      I can understand where you're coming from.

      HOWEVER…

      You are defending this guy! And that I just cannot do, lol.

    • Joe Sargent

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g16IV1ZyRC4

      In case that didn't work.

      • MaggK

        LMAO… i can't with you today Joe!!! BOOH!!! Kobe isn't that guy :O lollll!!! He's the guy who has been at the ASG 15times, who didn't care about playing much sunday, and for the love of the game decided to have fun first against Anthony and then against James, it's part of the game… No cable guy here just a big ego!!!
        (OMG am i a stan? ahahahahah)

        • Larry

          No you are 100% …KB always goes hard in ASGs….hell, last year or year before I believe he started the game guarding his man 94 feet! The thing about ASGs is it's like a glorified pick up game….no help and and no double teams. Showcases individual talent more so then a structured NBA game.

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