The NBA Shine
By: Jesse Taylor
There was a 3-day shine emanating around my house this weekend. It felt so good to have it back.
I was once a cynic. I gained more pleasure from griping about NBA All-Star Weekend than I did from the festivities themselves.
But there are enough cynics; just read Twitter. The world doesn’t need me adding to it.
For bringing that NBA shine back, I’d like to thank my 7-year-old son (pictured with me above) and Jordan Ramirez of WarriorsWorld.
The Monday after All-Star Weekend was a holiday – no school, no work. As I enjoyed my morning coffee, a bright light moved down my stairs and into the kitchen. The shine was being pushed forward by my son, who arrived in the kitchen in full hoop attire ready to start the day. He had on his Air Jordan’s, knee-high socks, and his Warriors shorts, jersey and hat.
On his day off, he didn’t want to play video games. He didn’t want to watch cartoons.
He wanted to go outside, set up five shooting stations and take on his dad in a 3-point contest. After he tallied a high score of 19 to my 14 (his stations were a bit closer than mine – no really, they were), he was ready for the next challenge.
“Okay, you’re Team Chuck and I’m Team Shaq,” he said.
“You’re damn right I’m Team Chuck,” I thought to myself.
He set my iPhone timer for two 20-minute halves. I played it just right and he did the rest, hitting a game-winning shot with no seconds to spare. As the ball left his hands and floated through the air before swishing through the net, the sun parted ways with the clouds and blinded us both.
His excitement and reminiscing’s of All-Star Games past took me back. Gotta respect a young guy making his first All-Star trip as a media member who refuses to take one second for granted.
He had Vince. I had Jordan, Spud and Dominique (and don’t think I forgot about Terrance “Statue of Liberty” Stansbury).
Somewhere along the way, the All-Star Weekend glow began to dim for me. I still had it in my late 20s thanks to Vince and J-Rich. You can probably blame Dwight and Nate for causing the fade as I got higher into my 30s.
But it was more than just the impact from my son and Jordan’s writing that brought back the shine. It was the action on the court.
To clarify, not the side entertainment. A DVR and a fast-forward button are so beautiful.
I only had to read that Alicia was out of key, not actually sit through it.
Peace out Fall Out Boy, 2 Chainz, blonde girl I don’t know and dude on the acoustic guitar.
Is that Vanilla Ice and MC Snow rapping over a children’s gospel choir wearing NBA jerseys? I don’t know and I don’t care.
What I did care about was Kyrie Irving announcing to the world that he belonged in the NBA’s top tier. Even better was Chris Paul’s reaction to that announcement, basically telling Irving he wasn’t the game’s best pure point guard – at least not yet. Paul pushed and bullied Irving on Sunday, a day after Irving did the same to Brandon Knight. Actually, Irving straight up embarrassed Knight.
But when a TNT announcer claimed Irving had the best handles in the game, Paul shut that notion down on Sunday – dribbling and spinning the ball around like a string connected it to his hand.
He actually threw passes into the key that had so much spin on them, they came right back to him.
These games are not meaningless because of the impact they have on guys like Irving. Holding your own against the best in the world boosts your confidence and elevates your game to another level.
Meaningless? Tell that to Kobe Bryant. These last two All-Star Games, he has been out to prove something. His end-of-game defense embarrassed the greatest player on earth. Kobe will be missed when he is gone.
The silky-smooth play of Kevin Durant was another highlight.
As a Warriors fan it was nice to see David Lee, in limited minutes, play like he belonged out there. With all the talk about Steph Curry being snubbed, we seem to have forgotten about Lee, the first Warriors in over 15 years to make the All-Star team.
Do they need to fix the Slam Dunk contest? Of course they do. These multiple missed dunks followed by a make and a “50” have got to go.
Do the players and celebs try too hard to be cool? Yes. Leather pants and Eskimo parkas with hoodies do not belong at a basketball game.
But while many cracked jokes at LeBron and Wade’s pants in this photo, I focused on Tim Frank.
Tim’s the guy next to Wade’s right arm, behind the computer screen in the suit. He has spent 19 years as a PR man in the NBA. I admire that look on his face. After all these years, he is still awe-struck by what NBA players do on the court. I enjoy that look more than I do making fun of LeBron and Wade’s pants (it is pretty damn close though).
As my son fell asleep on the couch Sunday night, I pulled up my iPad and checked Twitter. Too many comments about a boring game and a waste of time caused me to quickly set the iPad back down.
Boring? Waste of time? Tell that to Jordan Ramirez. Tell that to my son, who was most likely dreaming of his plans to beat me in our version of the 3-point contest and the Chuck/Shaq game as I carried him up to bed.
I got my NBA shine back. If you’ve lost yours, I hope you can get it back like me one day too.
Follow Jesse on Twitter, @GSW_JesseTaylor