A few weeks ago I was channel surfing — the Warriors were taking a shellacking, I didn’t feel like doing homework, and it was too early to watch reruns of “Sex and The City” on E!. I went with almost every young man’s back up channel, ESPN.
ESPN was not showing the NHL All-Star game, but I could tell it was something NHL All-Star related.
Two players were firing pucks at some poor sap made to play the role of mock goalie. The players hit the back of the net on virtually every attempt. Then after they finished, they looked at each other with confused expressions, then skated off the ice as a voice urged the crowd to “give it up!”
It was one of the dumber things I’ve seen on television in a long time. Not as dumb as “The Cleveland Show,” but not as good as “Hot In Cleveland.”
And I’m not knocking hockey. I know it’s a tough sport that involves incredible amounts of skill and athleticism. I know hockey has tons of dedicated fans and even more people who hate sports yet claim to be huge hockey fans.
It’s just the state of All-Star festivities for most professional sports are pretty grim.
Nobody watches the NFL Pro Bowl, and given the recent discussions surrounding the dangers that pro football players face whenever they step onto the field, it’s becoming obvious the game isn’t even worth playing.
The MLB All-Star game is OK if you have four hours to dedicate to a baseball game that means nothing. Well almost nothing. Bud Selig recently decided to award the winning league home field advantage in the World Series in a desperate attempt to increase ratings. The Home Run Derby was always tons of fun to watch until the Mitchell Report revealed there was enough juice behind each ball to fill every Odwalla display case, in every grocery store in California, including co-ops. Now the whole Home Run Derby concept seems so un-PC, like naming your team mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa.
The NBA All-Star game, on the other hand, still has some life to it, and this year in particular looks like it will be exceptional.
One thing the NBA does well during the All-Star weekend is showcasing the young talent. Like Apple presenting the iPad to a room of investors, on Friday night, the NBA’s youngest show ponies will take the court to show hoop fans there is good basketball in their future. Check it out, if only to watch the local superstar, Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors do his thing against the Washington Wizards John Wall, one of the best rookies the NBA has ever seen. For those of you from in and around Palo Alto, Landry Fields, formerly of Stanford, will be representing the New York Knicks for the Rookies.
The Dunk Contest, as always, will be impressive. Every year someone comes up with something new and unseen. This year Blake Griffin, DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, and JaVale McGee are the participants. Everyone loves Griffin, but I predict an upset — Javale McGee will win. From the University of Nevada, McGee is 7 feet tall, with long arms and could probably jump a Muni bus. If you don’t know him, check him out on Youtube.
The game itself, on Sunday, will be good. There are a lot of first time selections that will come out gunning, trying to prove to the veterans they belong. Kevin Durant will score big and walk away the game MVP.
If you are new to NBA basketball, this weekend will be a nice introduction.
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