The 2021 NBA All-Star experience was as distinctive as you might reasonably expect, but like every other sports competition held in the past year, things just felt a bit far away.
Instead of a high level of enthusiasm, many players expressed apprehension about gathering in Atlanta. Unlike some days of skill competitions and the All-Star Game took place during a few hours. There were incredible feats of skill and athleticism, but the main reactions came in the form of fake crowd noises. The actual “ooh” and “aha” were badly missed.
It wasn't all bad, though. TNT's All-Star telecast gave some entertaining moments, and the NBA historically gave millions of dollars for relief to Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and COVID-19. Just like the regular season, you can find brief, wonderful parts of normalcy – even if the strangeness of reality is essentially back.
Before NBA teams play, let's break down the biggest winners and losers from Sunday's All-Star celebration.
MORE: Best Highlights from the 2021 All-Star Game
NBA All-Star Winner
Four appearances as All-Star Captain, winning four All-Star Games. James did such a great job building the Team LeBron roster that his squad crushed Team Durant, as they scored four points in just under 13 minutes.
“I hope they allow me to retire by being an All-Star captain, so I can retire with a perfect 4-0 record,” James said during his postgame press conference. “I'll keep it forever. But we'll see what happens. I always try to pick the right team, and I've been lucky for four years to choose the right team. Guys go out and compete and play. Win. I I have won all four. “
James shouted out to his teammates on Twitter after the win, including All-Star Game MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who told James that he had a future as a general manager. It is difficult to argue with the results.
Speaking of “The Greek Freak”, how about that stat line? Antococompo finished with 35 points on 16-16 shooting, Set an all-star game record Makes the most without a miss.
Beyond the numbers, it seemed that Antetokompompo was the time of his life.
“You know, as once you start feeling happy and you don't worry about the outcome of the game, everything takes care of itself,” Entetokunempo said. “I believe that fear and fun can't go together. It's either one or the other. This year I've chosen to make it fun. Every game I step on the floor, fun. Pregame, fun. With your teammates, have fun. ” My team, fun, want to be around energy. “
Be like Giannis. Always choose fun over fear.
Given Jazz's record and Conley's performance through the first half of the season, it felt like it was his best (and perhaps final) shot to finally earn that elusive All-Star nod. He didn't initially make the cut, but an injury to Devin Booker opened the door for the 33-year-old.
Now we only present him as “NBA All-Star Mike Conley”. Come on. How could you not be happy for this man?
Long range 3-point shooting
Earlier in the night, Stephen Curry, who won the 3-point contest, featured Damian Lillard in an outrageous All-Star Game shooting performance.
Cue the footage.
Curry and Lillard went from 8 each and removed a 3-pointer from beyond the arc with Lillard ending the exhibition game.
“I think me and Steph are two people who shoot a lot of threats, we shoot deep throws, we play an exciting game,” Lillard said. “A pair shot can change the game as if in the second quarter of the game tonight, it was close, and then in two and a half minutes it was like three, three, three, three, three, and it was a 20-point one. Victory in the fourth.
“It was fun. It was exciting to just run out there with a guy like that, and that's what makes All-Star Weekend All-Star Weekend.”
– LeBron James (@KingJames) March 8, 2021
Nikola Jokic's imprudence
So we have done a jock dance.
We have also talked about not having a street pass from the backboard to the jock.
Jock did not try to throw Giannis behind him in the second quarter: “I would have remembered if he had given me the ball.”
– Harrison Wind (@HarrisonWind) March 8, 2021
And, of course, we have Jonk taking the Giannis trophy and showing that he is the true MVP.
“Joker,” indeed. Delightful.
HBCU Pride of Robert Covington
Covington, a graduate of Tennessee State University, is the NBA's current HBCU alum, so naturally the aspect of All-Star events meant a lot to him. He was seen rocking in a Tennessee State jersey for the Skill Challenge.
More importantly, Covington announced that he would give a $ 25,000 scholarship to Michael Thompson and Mickley Ngee, both Tennessee State student athletes.
“I was there before and I didn't have anyone who could really bring that change and seize that opportunity,” Covington said. “This is me using my platform. I love the state of Tennessee.”
Well done, RoCo.
NBA All-Star losers
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
Embee and Simmons were not available for the All-Star Game according to the NBA's health and safety guidelines. The two players reportedly visited a barber who tested positive for COVID-19, forcing them to remain isolated in their hotel rooms before traveling to Philadelphia.
As of Sunday night, it was unclear whether Embiid and Simmons would miss several games after the All-Star break.
“They feel great. They both clearly wanted to play,” said Doctor Rivers, the 76ers and coach of Team Durant. “We're disappointed. Both of them, their biggest concern will be if they come back they can play the first two games. So we don't know the answer yet. It's really important to us.” Starting the second half of the year will be difficult and there will be none. “
How tough was Doncic's performance in the skills competition? He was beaten so badly by Domantas Sabonese that Doncic's own Mavericks teammate, Jalan Brunson, publicly kicked him out.
I did not get hot pressure pressure I got 🙁
– Luca Doncic (@ luka7doncic) March 8, 2021
If you are an All-NBA player and you do not survive the first round, the tweet will be closed. They are the rules.
Slam Dunk Contest Judges
The slam dunk competition scoring system is a mess.
Last year, the incident sparked controversy when Aaron Gordon found 47 to dip into the Celtics Taco Fall. This time around, Cassius Stanley got 44 runs for their opener, an intermittent jam that sounded better than other contestants' first attempts.
“I think my sting was very good, and the judges thought it was the lowest sting of the round,” Stanley said. “This is what this is. This is a concoction. … Everyone around me thought I had found 50.”
Want to set a high bar for a 50? OK sure. No problem. But this did not happen here.
Magic Johnson will not stand for this!
TBH This was not the most exciting slam dunk competition I have ever seen. 4
– Irwin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) March 8, 2021
Clouds hang all over
In their All-Star press conference on Saturday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver began with a statement explaining why the league moved forward with its All-Star plans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have tried to find the right balance between the health and safety of our players, the community involved in the production of NBA basketball, and of course the economic interests of our fans as well as in our community. ” “Add to that the social justice issues. So it's all in our minds since about a year ago when we shut down the NBA. … We think we've struck a fair balance here, looking for everyone's interests.” Is in. Included
Silver has a difficult job. The financial impact of not having an All-Star weekend (or night, in this case) will be significant. The NBA saw an opportunity for its officials, coaches and players to use this phase to promote the matter. LeBron may have been bored, but for a first-time All-Star like Conley, the experience was special.
Still, from time to time it was hard not to watch the broadcast without thinking whether any of this stuff would be going on. The Embiid – Simmons situation did not change in the superspreader event, but it could. The players went along for the ride, but not many of them were completely pumped about it.
The dark cloud did not ruin all the fun, but it did bring the pleasure factor down a few notches. Hopefully, next year's All-Star celebration will see more sunshine.