NBA To Sort Of Miss The Point Of Annual Celebrity All-Star Game

The best part of the NBA season is nearly upon us. In just a few hours, the festivites of All-Star Weekend will kick off with the 2009 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, which I’ve often found to be the most entertaining and enjoyable game of all-star weekend — mostly for the trainwreck aspect — since the NBA blatantly stole Rock ‘n’ Jock Basketball from MTV.

Though, to be fair, all-star weekend trainwrecks are not limited to the celebrity game. Observe:

Generally, the game features about four competent celebrity players — usually a pair of rappers, a football player and the kid who’s like 12 years old that nobody wants to defend against — along with a pair of upper-mid-level WNBA players. It also tends to feature at least one rapper who it turns out is in way over his head even against other celebrities and a couple chicks, and the white guy who takes the game way too seriously. I can’t remember who was the last guy to earn the former distinction, but James Lafferty from One Tree Hill who played last year seemed to live up to the latter billing. Also, I seem to recall Chris Tucker playing a lot. He pretty much sucks.

By far, the star of last year’s game was Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens. Again, I’m basing this on memory, but he may have arrived at halftime and been arbitrarily assigned to a team. Anyway, in addition to being, ya know, a ridiculous athlete, T.O. played college ball, so he overmatched everyone else on the court. This being the highlight:

Apparently Owens was such a big hit last year that he was asked back to play in this year’s game as well. Which is more than could be said for Reggie Bush, who  scared the shit out of New Orleans Saints fans when he appeared to sprain his ankle in the game two years ago.

Owens is scheduled to be joined by a(n) wide array of celebrities which, according to the official site, includes:

Chris Tucker (Actor/comedian)
James Denton (Desperate Housewives)
Donald Faison (Scrubs)
Terrell Owens (Dallas Cowboys receiver)
Zach Levi (Chuck)
Michael Rapaport (Prison Break)

That’s right. They’ve wrangled a total of six people with no official ties to NBA basketball to participate in the Celebrity All-Star Game, including the mainstay Tucker. I’m pretty sure James Denton has also participated in this thing before, too, seeing as how he seems to go out of his way to participates in Celebrity anything. He’s probably also this year’s favorite for the white guy who takes the game way too seriously. I can’t see Chuck really being an issue, and while Rapaport might be good for a hard foul or two, I don’t really see him giving a shit either.

But hey, more importantly, what the hell was the recruiting technique for this game? Did they have someone flyer cars at the Universal lot or something? Who could’ve possibly be in charge of this?

Anyway, the Association apparently made the decision to supplement the six outside elements with an onslaught of pro and current basketball pros who will potentially overwhelm the Hollywood representation in this game, reducing it to a depressing old timers’ game, which, I don’t know, doesn’t seem like it’d translate well to basketball.

2009 Celebrity Game Participants

Clyde Drexler (NBA legend)
Dominique Wilkins (NBA legend)
Dan Majerle (Phoenix Suns legend)
Rick Fox (L.A. Lakers legend)
Lisa Leslie (L.A. Sparks)
Kara Lawson (Sacramento Monarchs)
“Wildkat” Edgerson (Harlem Globetrotters)
“Special K” Daley (Harlem Globetrotters)
“Scooter” Christensen (Harlem Globetrotters)
“Handles” Franklin (Harlem Globetrotters)

“Rick Fox (L.A. Lakers legend).” That’s rich. By the way, I take back what I said about James Denton. I can totally see Thunder Dan being the guy to go all ape shit and think this thing’s real. Seeing Drexler should be pretty cool too, if only because of that Rickey Henderson stage he was in a few years back where he was all ready to make his big NBA return if someone would just please find his number.

The game will also feature Magic Johnson’s triumphant return to coaching. And Harlem Globetrotters.

The Association may have missed the general point of the game, but one thing’s for sure: this thing is still going to be a trainwreck. And I can’t wait.


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