Issue 63: 7 Delightful NBA All-Star Weekend Moments

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Another All-Star weekend is in the books! This year’s event looked a bit different with everything jammed into one day thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. But you know what? We persevered, and that’s what’s most important.

In a previous issue, I explored some of my favorite slam dunk contest dunks. We’re opening things up to include the entirety of All-Star weekend — and here are seven of the top moments.

As always, if these videos don’t load in your email browser, you can click the title to check ’em out in all their glory.

Rolando Blackman: “Confidence, Baby, Confideeeeence!”

The 1987 All-Star Game was one of the wildest ever. The situation: the West was trailing the East 140-138 with three seconds to go. The West’s Rolando Blackman took the inbounds pass and drove to the hoop, where he was fouled as time expired.

With no time on the clock, Blackman had two free throws all by himself. No one standing in the lane, just Blackman and a bunch of screaming fans. That’s INTENSE.

But no worries, Blackman calmly stepped to the line and knocked down both free throws. The West ended up winning 154-149 in overtime.

There’s a terrific camera angle focused only on Blackman’s face during this. That was the correct decision, because we were rewarded with greatness. And confidence.

Jason Richardson Bounces the Ball Off Carlos Boozer’s Head

Perhaps the most insulting thing you can do on a basketball court is hit someone in the noggin with the ball. Yet in the final minutes of the Rookie Sophomore Game in 2003, young Jason Richardson was feeling feisty.

With his team up 129-112, Richardson was showing off his dribbling skills when he noticed an opportunity. He doinked the ball off the forehead of the defender in front of him, which just so happened to be poor, hapless Carlos Boozer.

Boozer legitimately appears stunned here. He reaches up to block Richardson’s shot well after it’s already been released. But to be fair, I would also have a delayed reaction after being punked like that.

On the bright side, later in his career, Boozer appeared to spray paint fake hair onto himself, so this isn’t even the worst thing that’s happened to his head.

Andre Iguodala Goes Off the Back of the Backboard

When I shared some of the more ridiculous dunks before, I didn’t include any that I thought were the best dunks. They were all silly and goofy, which is sometimes all you need in life.

But if you want my opinion on the greatest dunk I can remember watching? It was this dunk in 2006 from Andre Iguodala. I’ve probably watched this replay like 80 times and I’m still not entirely sure how he does it.

Iguodala has his teammate Allen Iverson throw a ball off the back of the backboard. Iguodala gets a running start, catches the ball, and neatly dunks it. ON THE FIRST TRY.

Iguodala’s opponent in this contest was Nate Robinson. Robinson took 14 attempts to do his dunk, but he’s only 5’9”, so he got the benefit of the doubt and won. But Iguodala had the better dunk, by far.

Karl-Anthony Towns Gets BIG

The NBA Skills Challenge has been around for a hot minute (I even participated at a makeshift event in 2011), but 2016 was the first time they allowed “bigs” into the action. And Karl-Anthony Towns took advantage.

Typically, this contest only featured small, quick guards. But there’s something soothing about watching a man that’s nearly seven feet tall handle the rock.

I just enjoy everything about this clip. Look at how happy all the bigs are when Towns hits that three to take home the victory. I wish we could all find such joy.

Chris Andersen Reminds Us It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

Chris Andersen is tall and lanky and has a lot of tattoos, which earned him the nickname Birdman. I guess he was also supposedly good at dunking, and birds can fly. But woof, he did not show us anything in 2005. Well, except how to miss dunks. We saw a lot of that.

Andersen needed nine attempts for his first dunk and six for his second one. That’s a grand total of 15 tries for two dunks that were just so-so overall.

In fact, the NBA deployed a time limit the year following this. Andersen was so bad, they made a rule to try and limit his mediocrity in the future.

There’s something relatable to that. Way to do us common folk proud, Chris.

Craig Hodges Makes 19 Threes in a Row

Only two players have ever won three consecutive three-point contests. One was Larry Bird, one of the best players ever. In fact, after winning in 1986 and 1987, Larry Legend famously asked the other participants “who’s coming in second?” before the 1988 contest. Truly magical.

The other player to win three in a row? That would be Craig Hodges, who won in 1990, 1991, and 1992.

Hodges saved his best performance for 1991, when he hit a whopping 19 three-pointers in a row to begin his round. You get 25 shots per round, so, by any metric, that was a phenomenal start.

Hodges only hit two of his final six shots, but we ain’t too worried about it. He still dropped an impressive 24 points, which at the time was just one shy of his own record of 25.

There’s a bit of a sad ending to Hodges’s tale, though. He joined the Chicago Bulls in visiting the White House after the team won the 1992 championship and delivered a handwritten note to then-President George H.W. Bush.

The note was critical of the administration’s policies, particularly against minorities and poor people. Hodges was also critical of his teammate Michael Jordan, saying he thought someone of his influence should be more vocal.

Hodges was ultimately released by the Bulls and then the other 29 teams avoided him like he was a matinee screening of Gigli. Hodges filed a $40 million lawsuit against the NBA but never played in the league again.

At least we’ll always have our memories of that smooth jumper.

Bill Sharman Tries to Throw a Pass, Instead Hits a 70-Foot Shot

At the end of the first half during the 1957 All-Star Game, Bill Sharman chucked the ball entirely down the court.

By some accounts, he was trying to throw a pass to his teammate, Bob Cousy. Instead, the ball flew 70 feet and went right into the basket.

Of course, in 1957, the three-point line didn’t exist yet, so this shot was only worth two points.

It’s the longest shot in any All-Star Game, and it may have been an accident. Life sure is funny, ain’t it?

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Other Reads and Watches

James Harden’s bizarre NBA All-Star Game outfit led to so many jokes

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Power Rankings: The NBA at the Halfway Point

What Armenia’s Rising Basketball Star Can Teach Us About Building A Brand

That’s all ’til next time. Thanks for reading!


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