LOS ANGELES – Promotional posters cover walls across the city.
celebrity attendees included the biggest and brightest stars spanning the all
parts of the entertainment industry.
Numerous articles were penned
detailing the attire of attendees, while the game itself received coverage
worthy of an awards show.
Even without Los Angeles or the 60th
anniversary, NBA All-Star Weekend would be a weekend chockfull of
Add in the Hollywood splash, and the city of Los Angeles and
the National Basketball Association were assured a wild weekend – regardless of
the outcome of the main event.
Like the Super Bowl and the myriad awards
shows Los Angeles is known for, All-Star Weekend has become a
But All-Star Weekend is much more than a party. It is a return
to the core fundamental the game was founded upon.
Above all else, the
All-Star Game is about teamwork.
It is about putting players together –
many of whom never have played alongside one another – and proving that with
practice and desire, anybody can play as a team.
Perennial all-star Kevin
Garnett touched upon this notion Friday when he said that the All-Star Game is a
chance to see matchups that would not otherwise occur in the NBA.
get to see Shaq and Tim Duncan play together,” Garnett said, referring to the
two sure future Hall of Famers, who have played alongside each other in numerous
This year’s game featured bright young up-and-comers such
as Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook, as well veteran superstars like Garnett
and Kobe Bryant.
For the young players, the experience is the opportunity
to learn from the greats who have been there before, while the veterans have the
chance to pass on some of the wisdom gained over their illustrious
On Friday, coaches Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich were asked
about coaching the All-Star Game.
While the theory confirmed by both is
that the best way to coach the All- Star Game is by “not coaching,” both
stressed the importance of teamwork.
Popovich, the longtime coach of the
San Antonio Spurs asked reporters – only semi-jokingly – if they knew the
expression, “roll the ball out there and go with it.”
He went on to say
that that was what the Western Conference all-stars were going to do. It wasn’t
about the individual players or the coaches, it was about the unit playing as a
Popovich stressed the talent level of the players, only to
enforce his stance that the All-Star Game is about playing team ball. Having the
best players in the world would not matter if they did not play as a
Luckily for everybody, the stars came out as cohesive units and
worked together to wow the crowds with a host of screens, alley-oops and fast
break conversions throughout the game.
Eastern Conference (and Boston
Celtics) coach Rivers said that the best part of All- Star Weekend was getting
to see how well the stars play together, despite having a meager few days to
prepare for the game.
The Eastern Conference was helped in the
cohesiveness department by the fact that four of the Celtics’ starting five –
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo – all made the
Rivers inserted all four at once on Sunday, and they responded by
playing unified ball, the way they have functioned all season en route to the
second-best record in the NBA.
It was the first time in over 30 years
that four players from the same team had been selected as reserves.
their selection may not seem as impressive as being voted starters, it actually
can be seen as more prestigious, with the coaches around the league selecting
the reserves, as opposed to the popularity-driven fan voting which determines
Although their individual statistics are not as staggering
as other all-stars, the Celtics show that team ball is valued in the NBA year
This is an important notion for a league often viewed as a
“superstar league” where players play “selfish” basketball.
were far from alone as far as teams with multiple players participating in the
events were concerned.
The Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of Lebron James,
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all Eastern Conference all-stars, while Atlanta,
Oklahoma City, San Antonio and the hometown Lakers were each represented by two
During his postgame press conference, MVP Kobe Bryant
discussed the players coming together to showcase their skills.
was highlighting individual skills, the key component of his statement was, “the
players coming together.”
When legendary coach James Naismith founded the
game of basketball, he did it to provide a team sport for the students under his
Teamwork was the core of his vision, the heart of his
Above all else, basketball was created as a team sport, a way
to help rowdy students come together during the harsh Canadian winter
It is well documented that Naismith considered basketball to be
inferior to gymnastics and wrestling as forms of exercise.
dedicated his life to furthering it and watching it bloom into what has today
become one of the most popular sports in the world.
Naismith might not
have valued the athletic contributions of basketball, but he recognized its
importance as a team sport.
Every year, the National Basketball
Association takes a break from normal game play and honors its brightest
Some of them are on good teams, some are on bad teams.
are from America, others from Canada.
Regardless of their records or
hometowns, these players come together to join forces.
East versus West,
they wear unified jerseys, driving home the point that they are in fact
teammates, not individuals.
They work together to entertain and they
continually excite with one of the greatest athletic outputs of the
At the end of the game, one player (in this case, the inimitable
Bryant) is crowned Most Valuable, but it is the sport and the fans that come
away the winners.
The parties, celebrities and fanfare all shine brightly
at All-Star Weekend.
They may take center stage, but no production can
overshadow the true theme of the weekend.
dreams do come true, even if the dreamer isn’t around to see it. Sunday night in
Los Angeles was a testament to this.
Somewhere out there,
Dr. Naismith is smiling.