All-Star / Feb 12, 2010 / 8:00 am

Top 10 NBA All-Star Moments of the 2000’s

T-Mac, '02

Yesterday I turned 28 years old, and I can’t help but feel like a grandpa. (Although as my Dad makes sure to point out, “They said 50 is the new 30. Nah. Fiddy if FIDDY!”) This means I’ve legally been a grown man for 10 years. I graduated high school 10 years ago. And 10 years ago, the NBA All-Star Game was a magical fantasy land — far from something I thought I’d ever attend, write about, and call it “work.”

Do you realize that of the 24 players who appeared in the 2000 ASG, half of them aren’t even in the League anymore? Even looking at the survivors makes me feel old: Not only were Shaq and Vince Carter not All-Stars this year, they weren’t even seriously in the discussion. KG limps into All-Star on more of a “lifetime achievement” vibe, Jerry Stackhouse and Mike Finley are barely in the NBA, and now Kobe and Allen Iverson have been scratched.

On one hand, I look forward to the reality that Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, LeBron, ‘Melo and the rest of the younger cats are taking over. On the other hand, it makes me nostalgic for the “old days.”

So with that, here are Dime’s Top-10 All-Star moments of the last decade:

*** *** ***

#10: Jason Richardson delivers a facial
WHEN: 2003 Rookie/Sophomore Challenge, Atlanta
WHY: Next to the rookie game, the actual All-Star Game looks serious and conservative. In the ultimate display of “This doesn’t count, right?” playground-style ball, J-Rich pulled one of the park’s most disrespectful moves, whipping the ball off Carlos Boozer’s forehead before dropping a three on him. J-Rich went on to win the dunk contest that same weekend — surely to zero applause from Boozer.

#9: Yao Ming’s dance party
WHEN: 2006 All-Star Game, Houston
WHY: This was the first year we saw the choreographed team dances that are now standard. The West was already at an, um, rhythmic disadvantage with Steve Nash and the TimDuncanTron, but they had a decent little snake move going (skip to 2:44) … until Yao got involved. Let’s just say Yao probably won’t be guest-judging on “America’s Best Dance Crew” anytime soon.

#8: LeBron’s game-winning dunk
WHEN: 2008 All-Star Game, New Orleans
WHY: Who needs free throws when you can just smash on a 7-footer’s head? After the East had blown a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, LeBron put them back on top by going coast-to-coast and catching Dirk Nowitzki before he had a chance to jump. It was the punctuation on LeBron’s second All-Star Game MVP, for which he posted 27 points, eight rebounds and nine assists.

#7: The Shaqawockeez
WHEN: 2009 All-Star Game, Phoenix
WHY: All-Star Weekend just doesn’t feel official without Shaq, and here’s another reason why. The ’09 game was something of a farewell for the big fella, as it was held in Phoenix while he was playing for the Suns, and was honestly the last season where he played like a legit All-Star. During the pre-game intros, Shaq donned a white mask and danced with the Jabbawockeez crew, and somehow didn’t look silly doing it.

#6: T-Mac goes off-glass to himself
WHEN: 2002 All-Star Game, Philadelphia
WHY: Often imitated but never really duplicated, Tracy McGrady’s version of the self alley-oop made its ASG debut in ’02. Watching it live, everybody in the crowd and on the court figured T-Mac was throwing a lob for somebody else — after the dunk it took a second for them to realize what had just happened.

#5: Steve Francis’ silver medal
WHEN: 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, Oakland
WHY: Any other year, any other dunk contest, Stevie Franchise’s performance would have easily been enough to win. Just not this year. Francis would do something spectacular, and then Vince Carter would follow it up with something ungodly that made Francis’ previous dunk obsolete.

#4: Dwight Howard’s “Superman” dunk
WHEN: 2008 Slam Dunk Contest, New Orleans
WHY: How high were the stakes for Dwight with this one? If he makes it, he’s got an easily marketable nickname and one of the top dunk-contest memories of all-time. If he misses, he’s known as the Carrot Top of the dunk contest. He made it.

#3: Jordan’s shoulda-been game-winner
WHEN: 2003 All-Star Game, Atlanta
WHY: Some guys just don’t appreciate a storybook ending. In the last All-Star appearance of Michael Jordan’s career, the G.O.A.T. capped what had actually been a bad game for him by sticking a vintage baseline fadeaway with four seconds left to put the East up by two. That should have been the game-winner, but Jermaine O’Neal fouled Kobe Bryant just before the buzzer, and Kobe’s free throws sent the game to overtime, where the East lost. This narrowly edged out Mariah Carey’s halftime stroke show as the game’s enduring image.

#2: Iverson and Starbury lead the East comeback
WHEN: 2001 All-Star Game, D.C.
WHY: Non-competitive blowouts are something of an All-Star tradition, but in ’01 it was different. The East was down by as many as 21 in the fourth quarter, but led by Stephon Marbury and eventual League/All-Star MVP Allen Iverson, came back to make it a ballgame. Marbury’s three with 28 seconds left proved to be the game-winner in the best All-Star Game we’ve seen since the Rolando Blackman Confidence Bowl.

#1: Vince Carter
WHEN: 2000 Slam Dunk Contest, Oakland
WHY: Even from the upper reaches of the Golden State Warriors’ arena where some of the Dime crew was seated, the buzz throughout Vince Carter’s breakout moment is still unmatched by any NBA event outside of a playoffs or Finals game. As it was happening, you knew Vince was setting the bar for how every other dunk contest would forever be judged. Vince never did an All-Star dunk contest again. He didn’t have to.

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  • http://www.dimemag.com 40 Bars

    Good Article Austin! and belated happy birthday!

  • nckdmss

    A couple comments:

    J-Rich – cold.
    “Superman” – not a dunk.
    Vince Carter – ill.

  • Orickle

    God dizzzzzaaaayuuuum!!! thx 4 the trip dwn memory lane, austin! str8 up money!

  • ab_40

    if only they didn’t snub lebron in 04 if he would’ve been an all star he would have been in the dunk contest.

    This year there is no star power. G-Dub is nice but they havn’t done anything spectacular.

    Man I’m spoiled most of us are we saw VC in his first 4 to 5 years he’s the most athletic dude I’ve ever seen. in terms of jumping and finesse in the air. the best athlete I’ve ever seen is LeBron

  • Orickle

    oh and happy birthday, hope it was a blast, only comes once a year

  • http://uoregon.edu sans

    very nice…nba tv kept it real last night rolling every dunk contest out, replaying the Cavs and not the Spurs game, then back to more dunks….

    Question: Does derozan break out his “tap-thebaby” dunk tonight or in the actual comp? No way Gordon beats him…

  • http://wwww.kikaayacollegeschool.net smity far away

    lol at jrich and boozer. i remember that clearly,

    all of these are good picks. I whenever i think of the rookie sophomore game i think of Jason Williams’ behind the back elbow pass.

    that jordan shot/moment was a great one.

    and you are definitely right about francis. any other year…

  • Mike Honcho

    Good stuff, I still get chills watching Vince’s dunks from back then…..but umm, I’m offended that 28 is considered old! I’m knocking on 30 this year!

  • jryu

    i remember that jordan shot so well..
    i was pissed at JO for a while..

    and yeah, i’m with post #2 on all 3 of his points..

  • Ian

    that superman shit was pure luck the man threw it in
    it wasnt a dunk

  • cesar

    no mention on shaq/lebron/d12 dance some years ago??

  • yoda

    imo, best thing was shaq vs. dwight and lebron danceoff. i know it wasn’t during the all star game, but still, it was amazing

  • fiyaman

    shaq and jabbawockeez was the best and I dont even like Shaq

  • bsteezy3

    You guys got Steve Francis up there for his dunks in the “Contest that was won by Vince before it even started”, but do you remember who went right AFTER Vince? Jerry Stackhouse! And he did some NICE dunks! But everyone was still “oooooh”ing and “ahhhhh”ing over Vince’s dunk, so it’s like they hardly noticed the poor guy. Someone needs to imitate his dunks in the next dunk contest…

  • Brown

    I had a poster of that VC between-the-legs dunk on my wall for years. I took it down when he cried to the media saying “I don’t wanna dunk no more” and was traded shortly after.

    I ain’t mad at him any more, but I’m definitely not a fan.

    I’m the same age as T-Mc, but I can’t feel old knowing his body is falling apart and I’m in the best shape of my life.

  • SWAT

    wow. good article austin. i turn 28 in May and its crazy to think i graduated high school a decade ago…damn time flies.
    Anyway, I actually went to the all star game in Htown and had VIP @ club hush where Nelly was hosting his party. I had just got paid and my income tax came in so i was perping like i major bread (knowing damn well bills were due-lol) but the highlight of my evening-other than seeing Diddy, dwade, bron, keisha cole, was trying to get at one of the miami heat cheerleaders. i blew about 600 at the bar easy tht night and her girls were looking at tht like chump change. haters. Still, id like to think i held my own that weekend. ahh…the memories.

  • http://w-onthenet.blogspot.com/ Khalvin

    Yeah I am knocking on 30 this year too.. I don’t feel that old though. Vince killed it that year, I was a fan… Can’t say I hate him anymore (yes I am from Toronto) but can’t say I like him I figure never winning a ring (I hope) is enough punishment for him.

  • http://housethatglanvillebuilt.blogspot.com Reverend Paul Revere

    I’m gonna have to agree with everything on this list.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    Steve Francis did not have that great of a showing. He even repeated his own dunk. T-Mac is the one you should be giving credit due. TMac was doing some crazy shit, that 360-touch the taint- two handed dunk was sick. Francis wasn’t f^king with that at all. the only thing Franchise did was score high on the vert meter. That was about it. For someone as flashy as him, he came kinda weak. TMAc, Stackhouse, Ricky Davis all had nice dunks. Ricky hit them with the reverse-between the legs dunk and didn’t even get a 50. hate-ers.

  • http://dime eyes

    A lot of people may not remember what Flip Murray was doing to Lebron,Wade, & Kirk Hinrich. Abusing them in the Rook/Soph game. He actually made D.Wade turnaround to avoid the mix.

    J.Will of the elbow pass didn’t make sense. Good Call. I also think it was great just seeing that 04 class starting what they’re still building on. Which is a great new Era. Good Luck to you all on your quest to the top. The list overall was pretty much on point. I somehow could think of a few over the Lebron Dunk. AB just kidding I know you had to big up your guy.

  • Tom

    “Look at him go through four, five guys…”

    Was one of them Peja? Doesn’t count.

  • http://fatshawnkemp.tumblr.com Zack

    that Dwight Howard non-dunk was CRAP!

  • Chitown 23/33

    I’m still waiting for Dwight Howard to actually dunk that ball.

    T-Mac had a better dunk contest than Francis and Stackhouse shouldn’t even be in the conversation he was terrible.

    Did anyone else see the look on Kobe’s face after they lost that ASG. Some of the other West guys were laughing and Kobe looked like he wanted to stomach punch Tim Duncan.

  • Fadeaway J

    Chicagorilla – “TMac was doing some crazy shit, that 360-touch the taint- two handed dunk was sick.”

    Was that supposed to be touch the paint, or did he actually touch his taint? If he did, that would straight up have to be one of the (litterally) grimiest dunks ever!

  • Fadeaway J

    Oh and how about Destiny’s Child getting booed in Philly for wearing a Lakers jersey. Philly would litterally boo anyone!

  • dragonyeuw

    Wow… I remember the 2001 ASG like yesterday, that game featured all the ‘new’ stars like Kobe,Duncan, Tmac, Iverson, Garnett, etc. Crazy how those guys are the old-timers now and a new generation is upon us, Lebron, Durant, Rose, Wade, Melo etc.

  • QQ

    VC was that arrogant and cold baller making the dunk contest a showcase. And EVERYONE LOVES IT. Good number 1.

    Gotta give props to Dwight though. Cat made the dunk run fun again. Fly, Superman, fly.