In The Place To Be: Live From NBA All-Star Saturday Night

Took me long enough. Some media members have been complaining all weekend about how this All-Star Weekend seemed like one of those high school Friday night bashes when the rents don’t tell you they’re bouncing until 9:30 that night, and you call up a few friends, they call a few friends, you hit up your beer connect, charge up the iPod and yet everything feels rushed and crowded. That’s what a lockout will do to you.

But here we are. I’m in the media section for All-Star Saturday night and will be here live blogging all night for y’all. So stick around because I’ll tell you some crazy stories, like how I was just nearly trampled by Ne-Yo and his entourage trying to get on the elevator.

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8:32 ET: To quickly recap, here’s how we got here. I spent nearly an hour on the freakin’ bus trying to get over. Traffic, a driver that seemed way too much of an airhead to be doing this and wrong directions (or something) all combined to make me extremely flustered and aggravated. Instead of getting here early like I planned, all of a sudden it was a race to get ready.

Anyways, I skip out on dinner, then decide to grab some, then am the first guy in line when the food runs out, then I come back out and there are probably 80 people waiting to get on the elevator.

8:35 ET: The Haier Shooting Stars are ready to go, starting with Team Texas…

8:37 ET: 42.27 seconds for Team Texas (Chandler Parsons, Kenny Smith and Marie Sophia Young). You know Parsons was feeling good. He lives 10 minutes away and told me yesterday he brought basically his entire hometown.

8:39 ET: Allan Houston though….

8:42 ET: We have a little break in action, so I’ll continue with my ridiculous travel story. As I said before, I was really late. It turned out for the better though. I went through security with Ryan Howard, which was almost as cool as meeting Ken Griffey Jr. but not quite.

8:44 ET: By the way, here’s your daily JaVale McGee update. He tweeted this earlier: “Tired As a house.” Washington, you can come claim him now.

8:45 ET: Atlanta’s Shooting Stars team has now been eliminated with a 55.3. That’s what you get for fielding two retired players (Steve Smith and Jerry Stackhouse, who should count as a retired one).

8:49 ET: For some reason, I really wish Roy Hibbert was MC-ing tonight. Over the past week, I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for his swag. One, he’s hilarious. Two, he’s really random. And three, he actually admitted yesterday that he sucks at a video game. These days, that’s like finding an NBA All-Star that isn’t obsessed with hipster glasses.

8:52 ET: Well, New York just won the Haier Shooting Stars competition after they blew away Texas by over 10 seconds. The legend, Allan Houston, hit the clincher. In D’Antoni‘s offense, he could still hit three or four Js a game.

8:53 ET: They have State Farm/All-Star commercials running on the JumboTron with NBA stars like LeBron and Deron Williams speaking. AWFUL. Someone gave these dudes a shot of Helium before they filmed these. D-Will spoke like he was talking to a fully undressed Kate Upton.

8:57 ET: By the way, why didn’t Orlando win the Shooting Stars Challenge, considering they had one of the classic three-point bombers, Dennis Scott? Scott told Joshua Robbins beforehand that shooting is “like riding a bike.” Scott looks like he hasn’t ridden a bike since people actually listened to 50.

9:02 ET: Rajon Rondo just went through the Skills Challenge course in 32.8 seconds. So how’d he learn skills like that? What point guard influenced him? Apparently no one. That’s what he told us yesterday. Oh Rondo…

9:04 ET: Overheard a few media members saying earlier that the NBA is trying to claim the D-League made Jeremy Lin. No that’s not true. The NBA just f—– up.

9:13 ET: With John Wall and Rondo going into overtime in the first round of the Skills Challenge, Rondo went out and dropped the fastest time. He just needed a warm-up round.

9:16 ET: They just ran a video on the JumboTron where Deron Williams had a minute to name every ‘Williams’ in the NBA. Dude was obviously reading off some cards, with a few jokes (Venus and Serena Williams) sprinkled in there. But one of the guys he didn’t name was Terrence Williams. He’s not the only one who’s forgotten about T-Will.

9:20 ET: Rondo is going to lose this thing because his passing failed him while he made his first shot. What?

9:24 ET: After Tony Parker won, they played “All I Do Is Win.” He’s used to that song; They play it at every Spurs game. He’s also used to winning a lot.

9:28 ET: Dwyane Wade and Kevin Love just presented a video on NBA Cares, and Wade is just another cat who’s taken the dive into wearing hipster glasses. Five years from now, it’ll be a requirement to play in the NBA.

9:30 ET: They just had a video of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin playing a game of Charades, and for “aquarium,” Chris Paul told Blake “big whales live in here.”

9:36 ET: While these guys warm up for the Three-Point Contest, I’ll continue my rant about the pre-game. After waiting in line to use the elevator for about 10 minutes, Ne-Yo and his entourage come storming through, asking everyone to move out of the way. Ne-Yo’s got some weird glasses on with writing on the lenses. Well, there was one huge cat standing behind me. He was broad-shouldered and was probably 6-5. As they’re coming through, he moves away and says “I don’t want no problems.” Um, this IS Ne-Yo we’re talking about. Not exactly Ghostface Killah.

9:43 ET: Anthony Morrow scored only 14 in the first round of the three-point shootout, which basically means he’s done after Chalmers and Love both had 18. Either way, Morrow is winning with the Dražen Petrović jersey he’s wearing.

9:47 ET: We guarantee we know one guy who didn’t want to see Craig Hodges shoot a round: Michael Jordan

9:53 ET: It’s worth mentioning: This Three-Point Contest has been awesome. No one’s looking foolish. James Jones even showed a little emotion.

9:56 ET: During a break, they have a mascot spinning the “hottest records” of the year. They just played LMFAO‘s “I’m Sexy And I Know It” and a bunch of other mascots came out to shake their booties. Get me out of here. Then, Benny The Bull did the Will Ferrell in “Old School” gymnastics act, dancing to Adele.

10:01 ET: Remember how I complained about the ridiculously loud rim mics last night? Now that we’re in the shootout, it’s turned into a good thing. And no swishes sound like Kevin Durant swishes. They should just have him shoot the rounds for everyone else.

10:06 ET: By the way, who caught the outfits Wade (we already told you about his glasses) and LeBron James? As Holly MacKenzie tweeted, “I think that LeBron and Dwyane both think they are Kanye.” Perfect execution.

10:07 ET: And the white Kevin beats the black Kevin in the Three-Point Shootout finals, 17-14. So you really don’t need hipster glasses to shoot it well from deep.

10:14 ET: Flo Rida came out to perform one of our favorite “Get to the club and get twisted” songs: “I Got A Feeling” (I’m assuming it’s called that. I never bothered to look up the real title.). They’re playing it so loud to hopefully convince Flo Rida that more than 10 percent of the crowd actually cares.

10:19 ET: And now for the best part: THE SLAM DUNK CONTEST WARM-UPS! Where no one actually dunks! Derrick Williams was actually practicing lay-ups. That’s not a lie.

10:25 ET: I’m guessing Paul George does – at worst – 2.7 Dominique Wilkins dunks. It’s a good thing the Human Highlight Film is in the house. He was rocking a carmel-flavored/colored suit by the way. Swagged out.

10:29 ET: Extra points for the White Men Can’t Jump routine from Chase. Big ups to our man, and also Diddy for throwing a great alley-oop despite being smashed. But then Jeremy Evans followed that up with dunk that caused boos to rain down pretty harshly. The crowd was not impressed with his simple reverse lob.

10:34 ET: Okay, Paul George nearly just broke his hand on the rim jumping over a 7-2 guy. Even Mary J. Blige was impressed. That was awesome.

10:37 ET: Tweet from J.R. Smith: “By far the worst dunk contest I’ve ever seen!”

10:42 ET: There’s a guy to my right who is booing the s— out of Budinger’s second dunk, which was basically a plain windmill. We feel bad for these guys. What do people want out of them? To come spinning out of the sky, dunking nine basketballs at once?

10:44 ET: After Evans’ double-dunk, T.J. Ford tweeted this: “Dunk Contest the worse I’ve seen.. #disappointed.” Damn. A lot of hate going on in the NBA. Someone call T-Dub.

10:46 ET: Paul George just recreated Vince Carter… and no one could see it. Damn you props.

10:53 ET: Receiving constant stat updates are a big help when you’re a credentialed media member. But tonight, they are seriously passing out “statistics” … like okay, this dude took four shots to make one and he missed two bounce passes before getting one. There are a lot better things to keep statistics of, like perhaps the ratio of NBA players to groupies in here tonight.

10:57 ET: So now we’re down to shouting out Karl Malone and honoring Larry Bird in dunk contests? I never thought I’d see the day. Paul George then went out and missed about five dunks in a row. Actually, come to think of it, honoring Larry Legend with a bunch of missed dunks makes sense.

11:02 ET: Annnnd the dunk contest ends as only this one could: with a ton of missed dunks. Derrick Williams came out to do a dunk (off-the-glass, between-the-legs) that I’ve seen him do easily before, and couldn’t get one to go down. On the other end of the court, Benny the Bull was crawling around, smashing his head against the floor. When a mascot is clowning you, it’s time to wrap it up.

11:07 ET: The fans have spoken: Jeremy Evans is your 2012 NBA dunk champ. Even though this thing kind of sucked (and Paul George kind of got robbed), we feel good for Evans. Yesterday at the media session, he had maybe four journalists around his table. Then to rub in how bad this thing sucked, they had street dunker Kenny Dobbs help present the trophy. He was the best dunker in the arena BY FAR.

11:09 ET: Alright y’all, I’m done with this thing for now. We’ll resume tomorrow night for the All-Star Game. Bring your friends then so I don’t feel so lonely and neglected. For now, it’s time to go bang out a little more work. Then, I’ll head off to an All-Star party to have too much to drink and recite bad pickup lines. Peace.

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