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Winners And Losers of NBA All-Star Weekend

Josh Parcell
February 18, 2019 - 1:47 pm

For the first time in 28 years, the eyes of the NBA were focused squarely on Charlotte this weekend for the NBA All-Star Game. There’s not another spectacle in sports quite like it. It’s not so much a game as it is a 72-hour block party if block parties were sponsored by Nike, State Farm, Foot Locker, TISSOT and Flavor Flav.

The game is almost an afterthought; that’s nothing new. But for Charlotte, which hasn’t witnessed so much as a 50-win season in more than two decades, this was the pinnacle of an entire generation of basketball fans’ lives in the Queen City. The winners Sunday night? Team LeBron, which came back to beat Team Giannis 178-164.

But there were many more winners this weekend, and just as many losers. Here they are:

WINNER – J Cole

The All-Star halftime show is reserved for rappers, usually ones that represent their city or state. North Carolina had a tough choice between J Cole and…Petey Pablo? Okay...so it wasn’t tough. But J Cole delivered. Dennis Smith broke out J Cole’s high school jersey for his second dunk on Saturday night, which hyped the crowd enough…but J Cole nearly shut the building down with a dunk of his own.

Damn.

Sunday night was Cole’s night too. I don’t know how it looked on TV, but the halftime show felt like a real moment for Carolina. A banger set and an absolutely perfect outfit, complete with the Hornets’ starter jacket that would sell out in seconds if it popped up on the Internet today.

J Cole owned the weekend.

LOSER – Steve Smith

Eighty-nine looks like he could still go out and get you 100 yards and two touchdowns. But please please please no one make him take a jumper again.

Ice up, son?

WINNER – Dirk

Dirk Nowitzki’s 14th and final All-Star Game couldn’t have gone any better. First off, there was the greatest in-game, these-are-usually-terrible-but-we-have-to-fill-time-somehow video on Saturday night:

We don’t deserve Dirk and Luka.

Then Sunday, Dirk went OFF. On his first offensive possession, he buried a three. He drained two more in the next few minutes for a season-high three triples. Then he went out on top with some SERIOUS shade at LeBron.

LOSER – The Wright Brothers

Look, I get that the Dunk Contest had absolutely zero star power. We needed something to pump some life into the crowd. Couldn’t roll out a Kia, that’s taken. Mascots on hoverboards was off the table, too.

John Collins tried. He really did. He pulled out a replica of an airplane from 1908 (or something) in a Wright Brothers tribute. It…didn’t work. Rule number one of dunk contest props: DON’T BREAK THE PROPS.

Mission failed:

My favorite part of the whole thing was the in-arena MC’s reaction: “THAT’S HOW YOU PAY HOMAGE TO NORTH CAROLINA!”

I…don’t…think so.  

WINNER – The Black Steph Curry

“Steph Curry is black!”

Hands down, the line of the weekend.

LOSER – Lists

It was only a matter of time for an update on DAVIS WATCH 2019 (patent pending). On Friday, it came in the most absurd manner.

It is absolutely hysterical that Anthony Davis is so lost on how to move on from failing to engineer a trade to the Lakers, that he tried to talk his way out of it by saying he wants to play for 29 teams…but not his own. This should be a bigger PR nightmare for the NBA. Instead, it’s the elixir to sports talk shows everywhere who are thirsty for literally anything to get them through the day in mid-February.

WINNER – Steph to Giannis

I could watch this 100 times and it wouldn’t get old.

LOSER – Tourists

Marcel is speaking the gospel here.

Midnight Diner is a great spot…at midnight. Whoever fed such bad info these completely innocent people should be outed. This is unacceptable behavior.

WINNER – Klay Thompson

LOSER – Klay Thompson

The real winners this weekend? Charlotte. For a fleeting moment, Charlotte was the center of the basketball universe. It felt good. Yes, Kemba flamed out in the three-point contest and was a non-factor in the game itself, not to mention Miles Bridges’ first-round exit in the dunk contest. But for a city that’s starving to be a relevant market in the NBA, it was nice to get a taste of it for a few days. There may not be another All-Star Game in the Queen City for a few decades but hey…at least J Cole should be back before then.

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