Thursday, 23 February 2012


Hey now, that's an All-Star!


If you can't wait for tomorrows big game, why not 'Take 5' and reminisce the five greatest All-Star games of the last decade? From self-assisted dunks to political statements, it's been a great and important 10 years for the NBA's favourite, weekend holiday. Now that's entertainment. Let's take a look back at the times when amazing really did happen.

5. DALLAS-2010: NBA history was made last year to the tune of 108, 713 record breaking, screaming fans. It took a couple of Dallas Cowboys to usher these hoop dreamers into an NFL stadium. Dwyane Wade took his deserved MVP award with LeBron James standing right behind him (who would have thought back then?) and with a 141-139 thriller over four quarters it felt like M.J was back in the building. It was Team Jordan that showed the flashes of brilliance however as Wade's performance looked as good as the half-time show featuring the beautiful Alicia Keys and Shakira. A big, big night all round. The NBA broke new ground with this sell-out as timeless basketball truly touched down. Forget the Superbowl, this was the sporting highlight of the first quarter of 2010.

4. PHILADELPHIA-2002: Out in Philly where Kobe Bryant was born and raised, the MVP made this court his playground with most of his plays. Despite the boos, Kobe's 31 point, 5 assist and 5 rebound performance could not be denied. As he took top honours the West cracked the East 135-120 at Philadelphia's First Union Centre. Home-team hero Allen Iverson may not have turned home-court advantage to a game, set and match, but by donning number 6 in honour of Sixers legend, Julius Erving he served up another special moment in a game of many. This was the last game where the players wore their respective team jerseys, but more importantly Michael Jordan's first All-Star game since coming out of retirement with his Washington Wizards. Mike played great, but on a break-away run to the basket, floor-Jordan clanged a dunk off the rim for a hilarious and unfortunate moment. Still, when Tracy McGrady passed the ball off the backboard glass to himself from just beyond half-court and slammed it home he gave the game it's greatest moment and re-set the trend for dunks and All-Star spectacles to come.

3. PHOENIX-2009: Nothing beats big-game side-stories and everyone likes a tale of redemption, even if you have to go through a desert to find it. Thanks to the Phoenix Suns, the 'Big Cactus', Shaquille O'Neal played on the same team as Kobe Bryant for the first time since their death of a dynasty out in Los Angeles. The last time these two played together in an All-Star game, the two Lakers combined for a Jerry West esque, 44 points, cementing the dynamics of their duo at their home-hosting Staples. Still, a lot had happened since then, but in Phoenix all those past problems dried up as the thought of foes showed they where really friends. Under the coaching of Phil Jackson it all felt like 2001 again as the West took a 19-0 run with Shaq and Kobe on the floor together. The pair combined for the West's 146-119 drubbing and co-MVP honours, in a story that sounded as good as John Legend's half-time show.

2. NEW ORLEANS-2008: It was a close 134-128 win for the East and LeBron James took the MVP honours with 27 points and was 1 assist and 2 rebounds away from a triple-double. New Boston Celtic player, Kevin Garnett was the top-vote getter while Dwight Howard put on a classic show, re-invigorating and revolutionising the dunk-contest. Yao Ming didn't play and Kobe Bryant almost joined him on the bench. Still none of this mattered compared to the biggest story of the weekend, where the game was played. New Orleans held the 57th All-Star game in the New Orleans Arena in Louisiana. In a statement of solidarity that others couldn't muster, the NBA showed they really cared, proving it wasn't just about basketball, or golf for that matter. Now watch their food drives. In return New Orleans as a city, just three years after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina proved they where perfect hosts. This wasn't just one of the best All-Star games it was also one of the NBA's finest and most proud moments.

1. ATLANTA-2003: Michael Jordan hit a fadeaway jumper over Shawn Marion with 5 seconds to go in overtime putting the East up by a bucket, showing that even with the future of The Matrix, Jordan's basketball creation was present and correct. In his last ever All-Star game, this signature move looked to score a storybook ending to the most legendary of careers. That was until the heir to the airs throne, Kobe Bryant re-wrote history. As Jermaine O'Neal sent Kobe to the line, Bryant's killer instinct must have felt a little bit merciful for his hero's last All-Star moment. Still, Kobe's no coward and he sent the game into a second overtime, where MVP Kevin Garnett did the rest. Still everything about their thrilling, hard-fought, long 155-145 Western win was classic. From Vince Carter standing aside to let Mike start, to the resurrection of the classic, East and West All-Star jerseys. Even the way the court and the lighting looked gave the evening a vintage feel and as for the basketball itself, timeless.

Now enjoy tomorrow!

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