I’m back in here like Jordan with the 4-5. The NBA All-Star Game is set to “tip off” in exactly 54:40, according to the shot clock, and unlike last night, I did a better job navigating the traffic. No late bus ride. No idiot drivers. No being stepped on and abused by Ne-Yo and his entourage. No awful elevator system. Of course, my incredible security checkpoint luck continued. As I said, last night, I went through with Ryan Howard. Tonight? David Robinson.
Anyways, I’ll be providing updates all night from inside the arena, hopefully giving you a few details that you aren’t getting on TV. Hopefully. For instance, here’s one: Two nights ago when I showed up a little early, the TNT set was vacant outside of Ernie Johnson pretending to take notes. Tonight, all of the shiny bald domes are already in their seats, and so is the NBA grandfather hipster, Chris Webber.
All signs point towards this All-Star Game being better than last night. Or at least I hope so. At the very least, stay here and talk some junk.
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6:22 ET: While we’re waiting for the real game to start, let me tell you a story from earlier today. I was invited out by Jordan Brand to ball at their open run they were putting on. I figured it would be just us media members going. Then I show up and it becomes clear I’ll be hooping with Jadakiss, DJ Clue and Wale. The worst part about the whole thing was those boys could actually play. Kiss scored on me three or four times (What’s my excuse? I’ll say I let him score because I just wanted to hear him scream “Ha Haa.”)
As for myself, I need to get back in basketball shape. I did have one lil’ highlight: dropped a dude on the break. He said he slipped. I’ll say I got him. Either way, more on this tomorrow…
6:31 ET: It’s funny how many people are now stealing Dirk‘s one-legged fadeaway. Is that just a byproduct of him winning a title? Kobe added it to his System. And out here during warm-ups, Marc Gasol and Kevin Durant are both working on it. A part of me says way to do your homework. The other part just says “These guys are so bored with being so ridiculously good that they’re just messing around off one leg.” Also seen in warm-ups: another Blake Griffin free-throw airball. There was no one around him. Only in 2012 can you become perhaps the NBA’s biggest young star and yet you’re also airmailing freebies.
6:36 ET: Email alert: I received one tonight about some major announcement Dennis Rodman will apparently make on the first of March. The tag line reads: “Reveals Naked Truth About Game.” I’ll be the guy not tuning in.
6:40 ET: On the bus ride in, even a non-basketball fan could’ve figured out tonight was a big night. There were TV trucks everywhere and the difference in security was like the difference in security between a Taylor Swift concert and a 2000 Ruff Ryders one. My favorite part was the random wannabe sneakerhead on the corner with a red video camera, holding it up in the arena’s general direction. Dude, who are you expecting to see? It was like he was trying to will one of the players into walking out into the middle of the street as if we were in Detroit and nobody cared.
6:49 ET: The media dining went hard tonight. They even had a sundae table. Vanilla ice cream. M&Ms. Chocolate sprinkles. I decided I’d stay strong on my new eating lifestyle (My boy is getting married in Cancun this summer. I’ll be hunting more little Mexican girls than Karl Malone.) and instead stuck with the regular dishes. It was one of those weird Lo Mein, fake Chinese food recipes that looked like someone went through the garbage and pulled out the remains.
7:00 ET: The Eastern All-Stars just took the court, but I’m more concentrated on all the talk about Steve Nash‘s “lesbian” haircut. Don’t you dare talk bad about my boy Stevie Nash.
7:01 ET: They showed Lil Wayne with the Magic’s mascot on the JumboTron a few minutes ago. Wow, that dude looked TORE UP. I really hope he was just extra happy, and not on his eighth Long Island.
7:10 ET: I love NBA warm-up lines. It’s the only place in the world where you can see the best players in the world miss five consecutive layups. The East just had a nice little run of gimme bricks, eventually stopped by a Derrick Rose scoop shot. Derrick, don’t you know it’s part of the program to go in and take a shot that you never, EVER think about shooting in a real game? Either way, this is at least better than Slam Dunk Contest warm-ups… you know, when guys do everything BUT dunk.
7:15 ET: To get back to my earlier story about the media dining room. Will Perdue was in there with me a little while ago. I also ran into Dennis Rodman earlier this weekend. I wonder if they ever met up? How funny would that be? “What up dude? Remember that time we were traded for each other in a deal that basically jumpstarted a dynasty?”
7:19 ET: I LOVE Nicki Minaj. Now shut up.
7:34 ET: Great introductions and a phenomenal anthem by Mary J. Blige. Nicki Minaj is also the hottest green-haired stormtrooper I’ve ever seen.
7:42 ET: How funny would it have been had Dwight just announced his “Decision” right there? Do you think that would’ve been even worse than what LeBron did? I would’ve laughed my ass off.