Tag: 2012 All-Star Weekend

Jeremy Lin Knicks

League scrambling to fit Jeremy Lin into All-Star Weekend


The NBA had named the All-Star team, had named the players for the Rising Stars Challenge (what you and I call the rookie/sophomore game) and had basically everything in place for All-Star Weekend Feb. 24-26 in Orlando.

Then Jeremy Lin and Linsanity came along.

Now the league is scrambling to fit their hottest star into their biggest weekend. But they seem to be ignoring the obvious and best way.

For sure, Lin will be lobbing balls to fellow Knick Iman Shumpert as part of the Dunk Contest on Saturday night.

Also that night is the tedious “Shooting Stars” competition where three people (a current player, former player and WNBA player) from one city compete against trios from other cities in a shooting contest. The Daily News says it looks like Lin will be part of that.

According to a source, the NBA is hoping to add Lin to its All-Star lineup by having him participate in the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. The competition features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one TNT on-air talent and legend on each team.

Let’s be clear, Lin has not earned his way into the All-Star Game itself yet, not in seven games. And while he surprised everyone with a dunk against the Wizards, the Dunk Contest is not his forte. He’s knocked down some but he’s no three point specialist, either. The Shooting Stars thing is nice. Not thrilling, but nice.

What the league should do is bend the rules and add him (and another player) to the Friday night Rising Stars game. The format of this has been changed this year, with a pool of players — already selected — being chosen playground style by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Lin is certainly the likely replacement if one player from this game is injured and can’t go, but what really should happen is Lin and another player get added to the pool so he is definitely in.

Why not? Is the league afraid of messing with the integrity of the rookie/sophomore game? Really?

At this point for the league, the more Lin the better. Let the man play.

Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, Ne-Yo your All-Star Game halftime performers

Nicki Minaj

Well, maybe Nicki Minaj can redeem her Grammys performance.

She, and Pitbull with Ne-Yo are the lineup for the halftime entertainment at the All-Star Game Feb. 26 in Orlando, the league announced. You like the musical choice, and your dad will recognize Pitbull as that guy from the Bud Light commercial. It’s a bonding moment.

Pitbull, Ne-Yo and Nayer will perform “Give Me Everything” to start it off, then Nicki Minaj will take the stage and perform a medley of her hits. And this performance usually has more guest spots than the Muppet Movie, so you can expect a few more people to drop by.

Mary J. Blige is doing the national anthem, and she will kill it. No doubt. That lady can flat out sing.

On Saturday they need some headliners after seeing the Slam Dunk Contest lineup, so they are bringing in will.i.am and Flo Rida to perform. Not together. Which will have to do.

There’s also a pregame concert Sunday with J. Cole and others.

Just hope nobody gives a mic to Shaq.

Gym Class Heroes, J. Cole headline pre All-Star Game concert

Gym Class Heroes

Not very subtle, Orlando.

The performers for a pre-NBA All-Star Game concert were leaked by the New York Daily News — later confirmed by the league — and we learn that one is Gym Class Heroes, who along with Neon Hitch will do their single “Get you’re a** back home.”

This message is directed at you, Dwight Howard. (Maybe not intentionally, but then again….)

The other headliner is J. Cole, who was just nominated for a Grammy for Best New Artist, and he was the first guy signed to Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. Pentatonix and Kayla Brianna also will perform before tipoff of the All-Star game. Also, Kenny Smith’s daughter Brianna — you’ve seen her on TNT’s Inside the NBA getting hyped — will perform.

After the Grammys, I’m just glad it’s not Nicki Minaj.

No word on who the halftime headliner is. Yet.

Kevin Love says he will compete in three-point contest

Minnesota Timberwolves' Love high-fives fans after defeating San Antonio Spurs in their NBA basketball game in Minneapolis

Kevin Love is an All-Star, selected by the coaches as a reserve. He earned it and there was no suspense about whether he would make it.

But Love has other plans for All-Star Weekend, too, tweets Jerry Zgoda of the Star-Tribune.

Love says he also will compete in three-point shooting contest at All Star Game….

Love when asked about chances in 3pt contest: “I think I got a good shot at anything I do. I’m a pretty competitive guy.”

Love can knock down the three ball, he’s shooting 37.8 percent this year from deep. And he brings a little star power to an event often dominated by great shooters not really recognized by casual fans. Sorry Jason Kapono and James Jones, but it’s true. That said, a few stars — Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Dirk Nowitzki, and back when it started Larry Bird — have won this.

No word yet on who else is competing, but smart money says a player or two from the hometown Magic (J.J. Redick, Ryan Anderson maybe) will take part. The three-point contest will be part of All-Star Saturday night on Feb. 25 (along with the dunk contest), and will be broadcast on TNT.

Griffin, Irving headline pool of players for Rising Stars game

Rookie John Wall, of the Washington Wiza

The NBA is trying to change the fortunes of what used to be the overlooked and uninteresting All-Star weekend Rookie Challenge (where the rookies played the sophomores).

This year TNT’s Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are picking teams playground style (Team Shaq and Team Chuck) from a pool of rookies and sophomores — and the pool is a deep one, the league announced Wednesday.

Blake Griffin — last year’s Rookie of the Year — will be joined by the two clear frontrunners for the award this year, Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio. I thought because he was a starter on Sunday’s big game Griffin would beg off this event, but the league has twisted his arm and gotten him to play.

The other sophomores in the event are: DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings), Landry Fields (New York Knicks), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz), Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons), Tiago Splitter (San Antonio Spurs), Evan Turner (Philadelphia 76ers), and John Wall (Washington Wizards).

The other rookies will be MarShon Brooks (New Jersey Nets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Markieff Morris (Phoenix Suns), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats), and Derrick Williams (Minnesota Timberwolves).

Those guys will essentially (not literally) line up against the gym wall and be chosen one-by-one by Shaq and Barkley. That will make a mixed team for the Friday night of All-Star Weekend in Orlando.

If you’re looking for snubs from the list, Norris Cole and Jimmer Fredette come to mind, but not sure I’d bump any of those rookies on the list off for them.

This game will take place Feb. 24. The All-Star Game itself is Feb. 26. The reserves for the All-Star Game (all chosen by the coaches) will be announced on Thursday.