Category Archives: ALL-STAR

All-Star Insider

When the Cardinals were in the Super Bowl, one of the big story lines  was, “Can they contain the excitement, busy schedule, and pressures of Super Bowl week to make it to the actual game fresh?”  

Good thing I wasn’t playing. The six days of events for All-Star week were so exhilarating and exciting, that it left me with a happy exhaustion. To be so near all the players, celebrities, NBA “alumni,” and let’s just face it – other big time sports journalists – was completely thrilling. In the midst of all that was going on, I remembered you, my dear blog followers (new word: “blogowers?”) and tried to snap as many shots as I could. I twittered my fingers off to bring you up-to-the-minute coverage (and don’t think I didn’t have twitter wars with the other media sitting next to me), which you can see at www.twitter.com/visitphoenix, by the way. 

Click here to see ALL our awesome pics on our Flickr page

The week was so busy – we saw TO, “Chuck,” and the GlobeTrotters bust it up on the court, saw the press conferences with Shaq and Kobe (see their smiling pics below), saw Kevin Rudolf perform “Let it Rock,” spotted Muhammad Ali, Jay-Z and Beyonce courtside (who, by the way, would NOT kiss each other when the “Kiss Cam” came on), saw LeBron get up to the dunk challenge next year, saw the winning Nate Robinson dunk (see pic below), and Lisa Leslie charm the crowd. 

So in addition to Scott’s celebrity game post, here are some shots for you to reminisce:

TOShaqZach Levi (Chuck)Kevin Garnettphil jacksondwayne wadethe boyspromo shotslisa leslierobinson and duncanLet it Rockdunk compDunk comp2west teamkobeshaq dunkmuhammad alijohn legendjohn mccainlebron jameslebron dunkshaq and kobe

 

Enjoy!

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NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

Start of chuck
Start of chuck

A few weeks ago, when the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association held its annual convention and tradeshow at the Phoenix Convention Center, I wandered through the building and was surprised to find live bulls and broncos roaming about its lower level.

Star of "Chuck"

Star of "Chuck"

I figured that was as surreal a scene as I was likely to see in a downtown convention center until I walked into the same building Friday night and witnessed Magic Johnson and Julius Erving exchanging pleasantries in the center of a full-size basketball court as a half-dozen NBA mascots flipped about like Mexican jumping beans and that guy from Chuck ducked a camera boom to bump fists with Stuart Scott.

It was like 1982 NBA Finals meets Pan’s Labyrinth. Or maybe SportsCenter meets Hollywood Squares. Either way, it was weird.

The occasion for all this frivolity was the McDonald’s NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which brought together NBA legends, TV and film stars, and (refreshingly) members of the Harlem Globetrotters for an evening of light-spirited hoops.

I won’t bother recapping the game, but in the spirit of Oscar season and obligatory blog snarkiness, here’s a list of highly unofficial awards that recognize the evening’s best personalities and performances. Enjoy.

T.O. and Dr. J
T.O. and Dr. J

Best Athlete on the Court: Terrell Owens. T.O., who won his second consecutive Celebrity Game MVP award, could log productive minutes at small forward for several NBA teams, including the Suns. Come to think of it, being on the receiving end of Steve Nash’s passes rather than Tony Romo’s might be better for his stats and his ego.

Chris Tucker

Chris Tucker

Fan Favorite: Chris Tucker. His voice is higher than his vertical and he’s a few sacks of rice heftier than his Rush Hour heyday with Jackie Chan, but Tucker still knows how to solicit laughs and cheers.

Awww, That’s Too Bad Award: To former “Human Highlight Reel” Dominique Wilkins, who couldn’t quite elevate for a dunk under the basket. When it comes to old guys and windmills, Dominique now plays second fiddle to T. Boone Pickens.

Chivalry is Dead Award: To Arizona alum and Harlem Globetrotter Eugene “Wildkat” Edgerson, for waylaying Lisa Leslie. Edgerson, who is 6-foot-6 (6-foot-11 with afro) and 245 pounds, rumbled from one end of the court to the other to swat the shot of the spindly WNBA star, sending her into photography row. That’s no way to treat a lady, especially on the eve of Valentine’s Day.

Biggest Bruiser: Micahel Rapaport. If it moves, Rapaport (Beautiful Girls, Mighty Aphrodite) will foul it. Then he will complain about the call in an over-the-top Brooklyn accent. This schtick was pretty funny the first seven times, but by foul No. 8 even his teammates seemed tired of it.

Ageless Wonder: Dan Majerle. Phoenix’s favorite adopted son scored 13 points and hit 3 of 4 shots beyond the arc. If you don’t guard Thunder Dan, he will make you pay. Still. (And he serves up a fine burger to boot.)

Best Mike D’Antoni Impression: To East team coach Julius Irving, who seemed to have little use for some of his reserves, particularly Zach Levi (Chuck) and James Denton (Desperate Housewives).

Hardest Theoretical Question: Who would win a celebrity smile-off between Magic Johnson, Curly Neal and Rick Fox? It’s a tough one, but I have to lean toward Neal, the legendary Globetrotter. He’s pure happiness in a red warm-up suit. I found his smile infectious when I was 7 years old, and it got to me again Friday night. Basketball could not ask for better ambassadors.curly-resized

All-Star is officially game-on

NBA commissioner David Stern held the opening ceremonies of All-Star weekend this evening, alongside Mayor Phil Gordon, Suns owner Robert Sarver, Leandro Barbosa, the Suns Gorilla, etc. They held the ceremony right in the middle of Jam Session, though it was filled with kids and families all around partaking in all the action. 

stern

At the opening, Mayor Phil Gordon turned to Stern and committed that it will not be long until the next All-Star game is back in PHX. Stern concurred, saying it was a beautiful destination and how much the players love coming here. 

 

Immediately after the opening, it was off to the “Where Amazing Happens” court to see the “Got Milk?” team unveil the new Chris Paul and Diana Taurasi ads. As a pillar of fitness himself, CP3 joined the unveiling, where he told selected kids from area high schools about staying in shape. He was extremely personable, down-to-earty, and really inspiring to the kids. He talked about how his parents always encouraged him to stay active every day, and now, he tries to tell the kids in his extended family the same thing, and CP said, “They don’t listen to me; they would listen to Kobe, though.” Everyone laughed at that.

Then the big moment to unveil the new ads, CP3’s looking pretty fierce and Taurasi’s looking intense! Then it was time to take the court with some students, with the Minnesota Timberwolves fitness coach. He and CP3 showed kids “active stretching” to warm up at the same time. This is all for a “Fit by Finals” campaign, encouraging kids to trim down before the playoffs. See details and tips at: bodybymilk.com.

milk adsstretchingCP3chris paul img_0926

The fun didn’t stop once CP had left. On a different court, the Harlem Globetrotters were giving tips to some kids on how to perform their skillz. Absolutely hilarious! 

harlem globetrotters

This is a trampoline dunking game – you should have seen how high everyone was getting! This, among tons of other games. While the whole place was packed, there weren’t any lines on anything!. 

trampolineimg_0141hoops

 

It’s been a fun day – more inside event access tomorrow!

First look: Jam Session presented by Adidas

The tape is still on the sign on the floor, but JAM SESSION is here!  Here’s a sneak peek…
rtape-on-floorsign

 

500 people. 100 semi trucks. 7 days. That’s what it takes to put together the Jam Session at the Phoenix Convention Center. They’re setting up the NBA stations, basketball games, the Kids Zone, the NBA Store, the Cartoon Network village, and tons of mini-courts for basketball games, drills, workshops and more. 

One notable element to this Jam Session is the use of technology. HP is hosting an area with wireless computers and printers where anyone can print out their digital pictures. Cisco is hosting booth that looks like a clear orb where a person can go in and chat live on a TV with their favorite NBA player who is at a different location.  These are only a couple of the really cool technological things to see and do. Of course, the court games still apply – the adidas court is hosting 3-on-3 games. You can even play their “house” team! 

The official court is on the second floor of the convention center, which is where the McDonald’s celebrity game will be played on Friday night (separate ticket required). 

The Jam Session really is cool – anyone could easily spend hours there. Tickets are at the door and cost $20 for adults and $12 for kids 3-12. Jam on it! 

 

rhp-zonerslingshot
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