NBA All Star Saturday Night

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This is perhaps my favorite night of the entire year. NBA All Star Saturday. The ultimate combination of over-the-top showmanship, silly competitions, awkward musical performances, and basketball. It’s the perfect night and I love every second of it, including the weird stuff they show on TNT in the few hours before the show. Does that make me an honorary black guy? I’ll let you decide that.

This year’s event is typically chock full of star players full of NBA players, some of whom are actually very good. Only three events now (RIP Shooting Stars), but each promises to deliver some high octane entertainment. I’ll quickly run through my picks, as well as predict how well I’d do in each event.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge

The Field:

Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

Gordon Heyward, Utah Jazz

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks

Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

John Wall, Washington Wizards

Sometime in the last few years, this event somehow became the most star-studded. Maybe because it’s the easiest and has the lowest chance of injury/embarrassment. Maybe because it’s the last remaining event that can be taken at face value: a stupid but fun event that combines all of the basic skills of basketball, not a commentary on a player’s mental fortitude or the state of the game. Maybe people just like Taco Bell. My money’s on the latter. Either way, my money’s on my guy Isaiah. Everyone else is either slower or a worse passer/shooter. Seems easy enough.

Winner: Isaiah Thomas

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Dark Horse: John Wall

How Would I Do?  I think I’d have a decent chance of winning this. My greatest skills on the hardwood are crisp chest passes and top of the key jumpers. Unfortunately, my greatest weaknesses are ball handling and athleticism. Still, I think I’de be able to overcome my shortcomings if I practiced the course enough times.

JBL Three-Point Contest

The Field:

Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Wes Matthews, Dallas Mavericks

CJ McCollum, Portland Trailblazers

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

Nick Young, Los Angeles Lakers

Pretty much every year, people declare that the Three-Point Contest is the new headline event, and it pretty much never is unless both Steph Curry and Klay Thompson are involved. If you’ll notice, Steph isn’t participating. Now, I’m no Three-Point Contest hater. It’s always exciting when someone gets hot from deep, especially when it’s Klay. But the only way he’ll have some competition is if McCollum has an out of body experience or if Steph stands on the court when Kyrie’s shooting. I guess I shouldn’t count out Swaggy P. He’ll either get 0 or 28 in the first round.

Winner: Klay Thompson

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Dark Horse: CJ McCollum

How Would I Do? I know I’d hit 3 moneyballs, and I’d make at least one other shot. I’m saying I’d get 7, which I guarantee wouldn’t finish last.

Verizon Slam Dunk

The Field:

Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic

DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers

Glenn Robinson III, Indiana Pacers

Derrick Jones, Jr., Phoenix Suns

The only real intriguing part of this is Derrick Jones. He’s played in a grand total of 3 NBA games, but has insane hops.

That’s not even close to the craziest video of him out there. At the same time, the last time some no name was getting hyped like this James “Flight” White flamed out in the first round. I’ll buy into the mystery, though. Aaron Gordon used all his good dunks last year, anyway.

Winner: Derrick Jones, Jr.

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Dark Horse: Aaron Gordon

How Would I Do? I’d bring the dunk contest back to its glory days. Now, I can’t dunk, but I can hilariously react to dunks. I’m showing up with an oversized throwback jersey (probably a Dan Dickau Celtics) and sweats. I’ll have my camcorder going the whole time. The second someone dunks, I’m holding everyone back while simultaneously leaning on the guy next to me. I’ll fumble around with the scorecards they hand out to the crowd before giving everything a 10. During the finals I’d just run out of the arena after a good dunk. I’d steal the show, which in the world of dunk contests, is just as good as winning.

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