All-Star Weekend 2015 is in New York City. We’re seven months and an entire football season away, but I repeat, All-Star Weekend 2015 is in New York City.
A cultural hub seen as perhaps the media capital of the world somehow becomes even busier when the world’s greatest basketball players descend upon The Big Apple for an annual display of hoops traditionally defying logic. All-Star Weekend is always a spectacle regardless where it’s held: Houston, New Orleans, Orlando and Los Angeles in recent years.
But it’s New York City with names like James, Durant, Curry, Davis, Griffin, Anthony, Rose (hopefully) and more under one roof executing theatrics that otherwise only seemed feasible on NBA Street. Yet, for the NBA’s best interests, the appetizers must match the entree.
By that I mean everything leading up to Sunday’s main event at Madison Square Garden has to be – with respect to cross referencing sports terms – a home run. Enough with the weird niches to the contest. Stop with the teams. The pin wheel was atrocious. Revert to the OG contest.
Of more importance than anything else, under whatever circumstances, ensure Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins are in the Barclays Center Valentine’s Day 2015. LeBron’s flirted with the idea of participating in the dunk contest for years, and with him inching closer to 30 that ship set sail years ago. Dwyane Wade, well, he’s not the Dwyane Wade that catapulted Anderson Varejeo through the backstand of the basket five years ago. Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook’s injury history more than likely axed their participation. And Blake Griffin already has a championship under his belt.
So, there’s Kevin Durant’s dream lineup, disintegrated into thin air. Adam Silver’s best bet is convincing the league’s influx of neophyptes the benefits in participating. With everything they’ve done in high school, college and the abbreviated time they’ve been professionals, LaVine and Wiggins are no-brainers for three reasons.
1. Both are recognizable names.
2. This could be off-base, but neither come off as the Nae-Nae’ing type.
3. They’re powerful and creative as hell.
The third is the one that truly matters here.
I’m as big a sucker for nostalgia as anyone on the Internet, especially when it involves sports. Next February marks 15 years since Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis turned Oakland into their own shop of horrors in the NBA’s last transcendent dunk contest. Columns will be penned, oral histories translated and interviews of those in attendance will circulate when the time comes next February. We’re all going to start every conversation on the topic with “Remember when…”
I miss that. I want that feeling about the dunk contest again. At least for one year.
Not going as far as suggesting either Wiggins or LaVine would stick their hand through the rim a la Vinsanity – though not totally impossible – but the two represent the possibility to ignite a magical hour the league hasn’t seen on an All-Star Saturday night in years.
The elephant in the room in all this is both could be teammates if Kevin Love-to-Cleveland becomes a reality. Electric fast breaks aren’t the secret ingredient to winning an NBA championship. But there’s something in a Kyrie-LeBron-Wiggins fast break that screams “holy shit,” “let’s see how these guys play together the first month before pulling the trigger,” “there’s an outside shot you could keep Wiggins and get Love” and “did this dude just did this?” Word to John Starks.
Meanwhile, the Wolves aren’t scaring a soul in the Western Conference and Ricky Rubio’s shooting continues to resemble Tyrese’s Twitter mentions. But nightly Rubio-to-LaVine highlights are at least something to hold your hat on.
I’m not guaranteeing Wiggins morphs into the Rookie of the Year and LeBron’s ideal wing sidekick he unleashes on the league’s scariest perimeter threats or LaVine breaks out of the gate as a 20-point-per-game scorer. It’s still too early and to be quite honest, the impending return of college football and the NFL gains added importance by the day. This is simply submitting the request before I forget and/or two of the NBA’s freshest faces make the case for me.
I’m just saying what the title says. Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins should be two of the six names on All-Star Saturday night’s biggest stage. Plus, like Zach Harper notes, with the video below, LaVine may have already won the contest this past weekend at Seattle’s Pro-Am.
Now imagine the last dunk – the one from the foul line – taking place in Barclays with the contest on the line.