NBA All-Star Weekend 2017


NBA All-Star weekend was chock full of basketball talent.

Isaiah Seo, Photojournalist

On the third weekend of February, the best players in the National Basketball Association gathered in New Orleans for the traditional All-Star festivities.  All-Star weekend is one of the most entertaining sports events in the United States, and it draws a huge crowd every year, including many celebrities.  On Saturday, the main events were the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest, and the actual game was on Sunday, with the East facing off against the West.


All-Star Saturday Night is arguably more anticipated than the actual All-Star Game.  Legends are made in the Dunk Contest and each year the contestants try to up the ante.  Last year’s Dunk Contest was one for the ages with Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon going several rounds into overtime and each showcasing an array of jaw-dropping dunks.  Even the 3-Point Contest last year was exciting with Klay Thompson knocking off his teammate and MVP Steph Curry in the final round.  Following such a year, the contestants this year already had their work cut out for them.  However, some say that the performance this year was even worse than expected.


The 3-Point Contest featured eight players, including reigning champion Klay Thompson, star point guard Kyrie Irving, and sharpshooter Eric Gordon.  In the first round, several players performed very well, and Irving, Gordon, and Hornets guard Kemba Walker made it to the final round.  Surprisingly, the returning champ and favorite, Thompson, performed poorly and got knocked out in the first round.  Walker fell short in the final round with a score of only 17, but Irving and Gordon tied at 20 to force an overtime round.  Gordon pulled out the win with a score of 21 compared to Irving’s 18 and became the Rockets’ first player to win the 3-Point Contest.


The more disappointing event on Saturday night was the Slam Dunk Contest.  The four contestants were Clippers center Deandre Jordan, Magic forward Aaron Gordon, Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III, and Suns guard Derrick Jones Jr.  The overwhelming favorite for the contest was Aaron Gordon after his amazing performance last year, but he disappointed with a less than mediocre performance.  He struggled to execute his first dunk but got it on his last try, and he missed all three attempts at his second dunk, so he was eliminated in the first round.  Jordan also threw down a couple of decent dunks, but nothing worthy of a 50 and he was also eliminated.  Robinson III and Jones Jr., both first time contestants, hit a couple of nice dunks each which was enough to get them to the finals, but, again, nothing breathtaking.  In the finals, Jones Jr. struggled on his first dunk but threw down a nice one on his second attempt to give him a total score of 87.  Robinson III’s second dunk in the final round was probably the only one worthy of a highlight reel.  He jumped over three people, including his All-Star teammate Paul George, and nailed a reverse dunk.  That perfect 50 earned him the victory in the 2017 Slam-Dunk Contest.  Many people reacted negatively to the Dunk Contest on Twitter, saying that it was a “waste of their Saturday night” (Bleacher Report).


The actual All-Star game was played on Sunday.  It was the best from the West versus the best from the East.  The West featured players such as Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and reigning MVP Steph Curry.  The East showcased the likes of Lebron James, Jimmy Butler, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.  Many people condemn the All-Star game because players play very little defense for fear of someone getting injured.  This makes the game boring as there is all offense and no defense.  Rhys Weingarten (9) states his opinion that “the game doesn’t seem like a basketball game anymore.  It’s just a practice with fancy uniforms and people in the stands.”  At the end of the game, the East came up short as the West won 192-182.
Overall, All-Star weekend seemed to be a bit of a disappointment.  However, the NBA can look to regain its hype next season.