Jay C. Brandriet
You don’t like the All-Star Game?
I’m alright with that.
My peak of loving it was age 14.
It’s fun. It’s showtime. It allows the games finest players to find mano a mano competition against each other.
They are allowed to attack, without the fear of mistakes.
Defense was more commonly played thirty years ago.
In the early 2000’s, with a competitive score, defense would usually announce itself in the final eight minutes or so.
My low point of interest was five years ago. I saw ten straight uncontested dunks.
It was Pro Bowl bad.
Mostly, it is what it is.
HOW ABOUT 2020?
This year was different. This was like nothing we had ever seen.
Don’t get too used to it.
This was more likely a one hit wonder than a pattern.
THIS TIME THE SET UP WAS DIFFERENT
The entire weekend was a celebration of Kobe Bryant.
His presence was everywhere.
This contest was for charity. The kids receiving the potential gifts were court side.
They were screaming. They were shown by the cameras every ten minutes.
What was really unique, was the format.
Each quarter was its own game.
The fourth, would not be timed.
The team in the lead would need to score 24 points. The target score became 157.
“Team LeBron” entered the last period, down nine points.
This was the most epic stretch of exhibition basketball I’ve seen.
Kyle Lowry was taking charges.
Giannis and LeBron were colliding. The effort on the defensive end made it feel like the Finals. Seriously.
The intensity was dripping off the television.
The referees found themselves earning a paycheck.
Guys wanted it bad!
Something about a target score, as opposed to a clock, created an unfamiliar urgency.
A clock ticks. It always runs down like an hour glass.
It goes lower and lower and represents an eventual end.
The point total of 157 stood for a hill to climb.
It stood for a hill to defend.
Someone put a basketball in the middle of a wrestling match.
THE FOURTH QUARTER LIKE NO OTHER
The other aspect late, became the glow of Kobe.
These athletes wanted to not just win, but to be THE guy.
There would only be ONE player in history, to be the FIRST to take home this trophy with Bryant’s name on it.
LeBron took a deep, gutsy three to win the game.
The miss will not be remembered.
A make would have been an iconic image in LeBron’s career.
I told a buddy this today. He laughed at me.
He said “the game itself and LeBron’s shot attempt were both irrelevant.”
It makes sense he did not appreciate my angle. He didn’t watch.
I can think of another guy who played in nine Finals, who had one of his crucial moments in February as well.
Remember when Magic came back to the NBA after announcing he had HIV?
It was an All-Star Game. It was a typical, up and down mid season event.
Johnson nailed three clutch, three point shots.
It was one of the most iconic moments of his NBA journey. It still is.
This happened in a “meaningless game.”
My point is not trying to compare Magic’s makes, to LeBron’s one miss.
It’s not always the label a game is given, or when it’s played.
It’s not always how a game affects the standings.
Sometimes circumstance decides the impact of a moment.
Anthony Davis ended the drama with a walk off foul shot.
That crazy All-Star Game will be hard to recreate.
Jay C. Brandriet