Jay C. Brandriet
The NBA All-Star game has hit new lows in the last decade. It’s not Pro Bowl bad, but the competition part has faded. The NBA is well established at this point, and these athletes are so valuable. People often mention how pro ball was played differently a few decades ago. They will also bring up how exhibition games used to be taken more seriously. Is it true they used to play harder in this mid-season classic? Every generation, and every contest has its own story.
Here are some thoughts I jotted down as I re-watched this 1988 showdown in Chicago.
Off the opening tip, Larry Bird steals a Magic Johnson pass with the back of his hand.
Magic breaks up an alley-oop on the next possession.
Karl Malone scores his first ever All-Star bucket. A hustling Moses Malone falls to the ground.
Pat Riley asked Magic who he wanted to guard. He said with a snarl, “Michael Jordan.”
Jordan swats an Alex English floater out of the air. Mike grabs the board, makes an outlet pass to Dominique Wilkins for the pretty jam.
Dream Olajuwon rejects Moses with authority.
Larry Bird is trying to back Karl Malone down. Karl wont let him move. Larry swings the ball to Isiah Thomas, and Karl switches on Thomas instantly. Isiah can’t see, and has to get rid of the ball.
There are semi hard fouls over and over.
Magic’s passing has the crowd buzzing.
MJ makes a sweet dribble move, makes a no look pass…that Fat Lever quickly knocks out-of-bounds.
Doc Rivers and Alvin Robertson always play hard. They wont let up today.
Magic and Isiah are making sure it’s still showtime. The tempo is fast. The intent is fancy, while guys are knocking each other around.
Karl Malone lets out his traditional scream after grabbing a rebound. He sprints full speed to get a lay in.
“For an All-Star game, we’ve had a lot of guys hit the deck so far.” (Dick Stockton)
Isiah tries putting the ball behind his back, and has nowhere to go. The lanes are clogged. You can feel the lack of space. Today’s game has more room per the three-point love affair.
Dominique fronts the “The Mailman” and steals the rock.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar just checked in. This is his 18th time being selected with this honor.
Danny Ainge is already irritating the Western Conference.
Karl Malone just attempted a powerful hammer dunk. Barkley fouled him and the ball went back to half court. I can’t believe Charles put his arm in the way.
Kevin McHale and Ewing take away Kareem’s view and Jabbar turns it over.
The next time down, Kareem makes Pat Ewing change his shot.
Mark Aguire is really scrapping with Barkley.
Ewing closes out fast on Clyde Drexler, and fouls him 18 feet away from the rim.
Ainge and Xaiver McDaniel get in a wrestling match over the basketball.
On the jump ball, Ainge is penalized for being too eager.
That was the end of the first quarter.
You wouldn’t recognize the All-Star game in 1988.
Jay C. Brandriet