Blog > Rambling Session - All Star Weekend (02/20/2024)

Rambling Session - All Star Weekend (02/20/2024)

Rambling Session - All Star Weekend (02/20/2024)

This morning I did some work in the cold garage and smoked a Crowned Heads Jericho Hill .44S from the Short Smokes Sampler I put together. These may be the best vitola for the blend. It packs a punch in flavor and building strength. It really hits the mark for my morning maduro cravings.

I missed yesterday’s Rambling Session post. I got quite busy during the day, and something had to give. I don’t like missing posts during the week, as they are something I usually enjoy doing, I committed to posting them, and I think they do benefit the site. However, when it comes to essential tasks, these posts really are not urgent or essential, so they do get cut as necessary. 

Today I figured I ought to talk about my thoughts on the NBA All-Star weekend that just passed. I think my highlights for the weekend were the Rising Stars challenge - particularly the fact that the teams did play more serious and there was defense, and also Bennedict Mathurin trash talking Jaden Ivey and betting $25K on some free throws he ended up missing - the three point shootouts, and the dunk contest. The lowlights were the dunk contest (contradictory I know), Kenny Smith, and the All Star game.

Knocking them off one at a time:

Rising Stars Challenge

I have mixed feelings about the format as compared to the old “Freshman vs Sophomore” style. I think it is decent and competitive, but I think I still prefer a full game with just two teams, as it can give the guys a bit more time and the coaches can play with more interesting lineups. As a whole though, it is nice to see some competitive play on both sides of the ball considering that this competitive drive is lost on many stars throughout the weekend. Lastly, I like Bennedict Mathurin as a player and his antics were fun to watch. I will be anxiously awaiting Thursday’s matchup between him and Jaden Ivey…

3 Point Shootouts

Per usual the 3 point competition was the highlight of the weekend. A four way tie coming out of the first round made for some tension. Dame’s clutch shooting was great to see and congrats to him successfully defending his title. 

The Curry - Ionescu shootout was definitely the best event of the weekend, though I think they should’ve done more than 1 round. That being said, it is pretty impressive that they went in there after just a short warmup and both shot as good (in the case of Ionescu) or better (in the case of Curry) than the contestants of the 3 point shootout. I think that there will be some good things that come out of this event for the coming years. 

The Dunk Contest

Starting with the positives - I think that it was great that Jaylen Brown ended the 7 year drought of All Stars Competing in the event. I think that he brought something different to the event - in that each of the dunks had a story and paid homage to someone of relevance. I also think that he had 3 solid dunks (even the ode to Dee Brown dunk over Kai Cenat was solid in theory, just lacked execution), he completed his dunks on the first actually dunk attempt (the only one to do so), and each dunk went down cleanly and with authority. Lastly, he had fun with it, and that was his goal.

Now for the negatives - The crowd was not into it, the judges were catching all sorts of flack, and the hate for Jaylen Brown continues to blow my mind. Honestly, I think that the dunk contest is only dead because of the epidemic of unrealistic expectations, lack of appreciation, and overall level of haterism. No wonder stars don’t want to participate anymore. Everyone bitches about the lack of impressive dunks - well this contest has been going on for 48 years. Of course a ton of dunks have been done. So what. 90% of viewers can’t even touch the rim, yet they complain about the dunk that someone does? Just appreciate that there are talented people out there willing to put on a show. 

The hate is insane. Everyone complains about stars not participating, and then when a star does agree to participate the crowd boos him and the internet goes crazy trolling him. Why would anyone want to participate if they know they’re going to be compared to Aaron Gordon and/or Zach Lavine, and if they don’t meet that expectation they are going to be ridiculed and booed? 

Quit complaining about the judges. They are literally doing what you are doing: subjectively grading a dunk. They like what they like and you like what you like. 

My last take: Jacob Toppin was robbed, but then again, his finishes weren’t that strong and he took a couple attempts. Those old head judges like force and cleanliness. Jaylen Brown’s dunks 1, 3, and 4 were actually all solid in terms of presentation, force, and execution. Number 2 was silly but only because he didn’t get his arm up. Mac McClung is boring to watch. It’s a Dunk contest, not a Jump contest. The only dunk where didn’t just jump over some hunched and squatted person was the same as a dunk he did last year, just in reverse AND it was the only impressive dunk. His other dunks were not impressive, his jumping was. 

The dunk contest doesn’t have to be dead. If a revision is made, I think the best idea I saw was a random person on the internet calling for a game of “DUNK”. Basically just PIG but only dunks. That would be neat to see people trying to replicate others’ dunks.

Kenny Smith

Sometimes he should stop talking. 

The All Star Game

Everyone tends to agree the All Star Game is flawed. The players are supposed to be on break. They don’t want to go hard. They also don’t want to risk injury. I get it. Also though - appreciate that you get to be paid a ton of money to play a game that you love (or are supposed to love). You make your money because people want to watch you play. Suck it up and play the damn game. You shouldn’t need anymore compensation or motivation to go out and play the damn game that you get paid millions to play. 

I think that there is fun in watching them make crazy passes, take crazy shots, and put on an exhibition. There are people that enjoy that aspect of it, including myself. However, you can only watch so much of the greatest players in the league do that before it gets redundant and boring. Get your kicks in the first half. In the second half, let’s see a game. Maybe the move is to let them do their exhibition thing for the first half, then reset the score in the second half and make them play the game right for some incentive that matters - maybe home court advantage in the finals for the conference that wins? Better yet, the players are pissed about the 65 game minimum rule for end of the year awards. How about the players in the winning conference only have to play 60?

At least they revived the East vs West theme of the All Star Game. 

What’re your thoughts on the All Star Weekend?

Take care,

- Trevor

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