This past weekend, the world joined many of the NBA’s (@NBA) top players in New Orleans for the 66th edition of the league’s All-Star festivities. With everything from the #RisingStars Challenge to the #StateFarmSaturday Skills Competition to the main event itself, the #NBAAllStar weekend offers fans a variety of different programming to appease their basketball palette. As in years past, for every offering that brought fans to their feet, there was an equally disappointing aspect that left pundits scratching their heads. And thanks to the world of social media, we are able to capture the good, the bad, and the ugly from NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) Weekend!
Let’s start on a high note. On top of the typical skill-based Saturday line-up, there was an extra event this year that was close to the hearts of many players, announcers, and fans alike. This season, the world lost an icon in Craig Sager, but his presence is forever around the game of basketball. To honour the late media personality, we saw a host of players and celebrities – including DeMar DeRozan (@DeMar_DeRozan), James Harden (@JHarden13), DJ Khaled (@djkhaled), and Michael B. Jordan (@michaelb4jordan) – hoist up three-pointer after three-pointer to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation. And while he ended up unsuccessful, we even saw Steph Curry (@StephenCurry30) look to put an exclamation point on the total with some half-court attempts. All in all, this was a moment that was truly #SagerStrong, as the efforts led to a grand total of $500,000, something that had many fans – us included – calling it the highlight of the night!
Another one of the highlights from the weekend came in record-setting fashion, as Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23), who had the privilege of playing in front of his hometown New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) fans, put up the performance of the night! Not only was #AnthonyDavis named All-Star MVP, but “The Brow” did so behind a 52-point performance that blew the previous scoring record (42 from Wilt Chamberlain) out of the water. Sure, it was clear that his Western Conference teammates were doing everything in their power to help him pad those numbers, including a pair of late off-the-glass alley-oops, but you can’t take away what that moment meant for a franchise player in front of his hometown fans.
The final high point for what was otherwise a pretty weak weekend overall came from an unlikely pair of former teammates. It’s true that many people who tuned into Sunday’s game were probably doing so to see just what Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) and Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) would do on the court together and how Coach Steve Kerr would employ #KDandRuss amidst their bickering. And while they only played a total of 81 seconds together, fans were taken back to the good old days in OKC thanks to a gorgeous alley-oop from Durant to Westbrook. And while the play itself was astounding, it was the reaction from the team (and fans) that made this moment one of the weekend’s best!
One of the most glaring fails from this weekend was, as has often been the case over the last decade, the Slam Dunk Competition! Once billed as the standout event of the evening, the #VerizonDunk contest has fallen on tough times. Not even last year’s standout Aaron Gordon (@Double0AG) could breathe life into the listless event this year, as it was undoubtedly another step backward for the event and #StateFarmSaturday as a whole.
On a similar note, most fans would tend to agree that the All-Star Game itself has become a joke, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The scoring continues to increase year after year, with the 2017 edition providing a particularly strong aversion to defense that led to a combined 374 points! In what has become solely an opportunity to take uncontested threes, go for flashy dunks, and put on a show, the word defense is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind. And while we appreciate a slick play every now and then, this year’s game may have been the final straw for many. Case in point is Curry’s “defensive” approach against an oncoming Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34)!
Speaking of The Greek Freak, #Giannis was part of another one of the weekend’s low points, but not for his play on the court. Sure he missed a couple easy plays toward the end of the game, but it was his infamously tricky name that inspired this negative takeaway, with the latest victim being announcer Marv Albert. The usually sure-voiced Albert, despite working on the tongue-twister pronunciation prior to the weekend, butchered the name all night long, and thankfully for everyone, social media was quick to take notice!
While there was a great deal of bad content from the weekend, we also saw one that was downright ugly, even if it did take place after the game was complete. In what turned out to be a winning weekend all around for New Orleans, the city was able to host the annual spectacle, see their star earn #AllStarMVP honours, and bring one of the most dominant forces in the league to play alongside of him. In what may very well go down as one of the worst trades EVER, the Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) traded much-maligned big man DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) to the Pelicans in what can only be described as an underwhelming return. The Kings have been a laughing stock in the league for some time now, but with this most recent head-scratching move, the franchise’s lowly status will now be cemented for years to come!
All in all, the #NBAAllStar festivities left much to be desired for fans when it comes to the on-court product, but for those who invest time in how it all plays out on social media, this was truly a spectacle worthy of the name!