NBA All-Star 2016 began with a bang on Friday. Here are 10 key takeaways from Donnovan Bennett.
Sixers wins vs. Warriors losses
As the Golden State Warriors pursue the all-time wins record and the 76ers chase the first-overall pick, I wondered what would be greater in the second half of the season: Philadelphia wins or Golden State losses. Brent Barry weighed in:
“Well for Golden State to get the record they’d have to lose less than six. I think they can do it. So it has to be Philadelphia wins.”
All-Star Weekend Blockbuster?
The biggest buzz talk among the assembled media is the rumoured three-way trade between the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks that would send Carmelo Anthony to Cleveland.
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It has to be mentioned that the forward has a no-trade clause. Despite that fact, the prospect of Eastern Conference all-star teammates and good friends, LeBron James and Anthony, becoming teammates for the defending East champions by the end of the weekend is tantalizing fodder.
Mr. Big Shot on the Red Carpet
Chauncey Billlups style was by far the best. Red carpet ready with marsala red wide collar sweater and the leather red sneakers to match. Marsala was the pantone colour of 2015 but Billups is rocking red back in Canada once again and he pulled it off flawlessly.
Key to the City
More media were interested in Drake being presented a key to the city than the actual celebrity game. Unsurprisingly, Kevin Hart told me he wasn’t impressed with the gesture. “It’s stupid. The key doesn’t open anything anyways,” the comedian said. When I followed up to see if he had a key to his hometown Philadelphia he responded without blinking “Yes, and it opens stuff!”
Drake channels his inner Gregg Popovich
The winning coach was all business pre-game. Drake had a clipboard that wasn’t just a prop. In the tunnel before his team took the floor he was meticulous.
Drake gave instruction to Milos Raonic and Tracy McGrady as he assembled the team coming out of the locker room. He had a really big team, who may not have won some really big rings, but they got a trophy and some bragging rights thanks to their focused leader.
When asked what nickname he preferred for Toronto, John Tory told me “has to be the six. Thanks to Drake it is known worldwide.”
Former Toronto Raptor Tracy McGrady disagreed “T. Dot all the way. I’m an old school guy. To me it will forever and always be the T. Dot.”
The amount of balls the celebrities had to sign pre-game alone would give you a cramped hand. It was staggering to see. Their locker room was basically filled with memorabilia that has now gone up infinitely in value. Not often do you have that many diverse stars together at one time.
Junior as serious as Senior
O’Shea Jackson Jr. literally looked like he was getting ready for Game 7 of The Finals pregame. He was bobbing up and down to the music, getting fully in the zone at his locker. I assume the intensity is passed down from his father Ice Cube, as were his acting skills.
Less Space, Less Tickets, More expensive
Want to know why All-Star weekend tickets are so expensive? Part of the reason is supply and demand.
The pool of tickets up for grabs is so much smaller because a large number of people in seats are media, family members, team officials, or corporate sponsors.
Other logistical issues cut deeply into the amount of tickets up for grabs as TV broadcast sets and makeshift stages take over the lower bowl and eliminate full sections of seats. The main stage behind the basket takes up the first half of the 100-level seating on the baseline.
What’s all-star food like? It’s virtually the same as a traditional Raptors game except some new Drake inspired additions. 6IX poutine is the traditional poutine topped with Canada’s favourite meats. Hot-lime Bling is a spinoff of Chicken Tenders. For a couple dollars more you get your chicken fingers smothered in a spicy lime sauce and top with Parmesan cheese.