Philadelphia, PA -- The NBA All-Star weekend kicked in full swing with its first major event: The Rookie/Sophomore game. This is the place that all those over-rated draft picks get to show how over-rated they really are, and where all the top rookies of last year try to prove that they havent fallen off in the dreaded sophomore slump.
Thats not to say the game did not showcase some terrific players. For the sophomores, L.A. Clipper Quentin Richardson led all sophomores with 22 points, 21 of which he scored in the first half. Also for the sophomores, L.A. Clipper Darius Miles scored 20 points, and New Jersey Net Kenyon Martin scored 17 points. Bulls Marcus Fizer pulled down 14 rebounds, and last years rookie of the year, Orlando Magics Mike Miller tossed out 11 assists.
But that wasnt enough to beat the rookies. Golden States Jason Richardson lead all scorers with 26 points. Also for the rookies, Memphis Shane Battier scored 15 points, and twelve in the second half. Detroit Piston Zeljko Rebraca scored 14 points, and Boston Celtic Joe Johnson and Washington Wizard Brendan Haywood each scored 10 points, to round out the rookie scoring. Also for the rookies, Indiana Pacer Jamaal Tinsley tossed out 10 assists.
Ok, enough of all the sports talk. The game, in itself, was fairly boring. Jason Richardson can dunk anywhere and on anyone and provided most of the entertainment. Miles was a big show-off, doing his best to showcase his skills but mostly screwing up, despite his points. Battier did very poorly in the first half, with two turnovers and only three points. But he came back in the second half, aggressively attacking on the defensive end, and calling for the ball on the offensive end, to good effect.
The play of both teams was especially poor in that each turned the ball over multiple times. 19 times by the sophomores, and 15 times by the rookies. Is it really too much to ask for professional basketball players to protect the basketball? I digress.
I had great seats, no thanks to the NBA press people. Technically, I was supposed to sit up in the rafters in additional press seating, snugged between Jet magazine and Esquire magazine who -- surprisingly -- rate just as low on the press chain as I do. However, undeterred by poor seating, I instead went down to the floor to sit at an open spot on press row. No one kicked me out, but I also made the slight miscalculation of sitting on the row reserved for Japanese press. And while I consider myself as international as anyone, I dont really look so Eastern. At any rate, my kindest wishes to Sports Nippon for not showing up at the game.
By the way, Gasol is an international phenomenon. The European press follows him everywhere. The Grizzlies PR staff has had no sleep with requests to meet Pau for dinner, in his room, and onwards, and onwards. Apparently Grizzlies games are drawing an audience of about one million per showing.
- And for all you people who think that Memphis does not need a new stadium for NBA ball, you have never seen a real NBA arena. Sure, the Memphis arena has a basketball floor, breakaway rims, and stadium seating. But the similarities between the pointed house and the Philadelphia First Union Center end there. The FU Center boasts state-of-the-art audio visuals, amenities galore, air hockey tables on every level, and other cool things like binoculars attached to all upper-level seating with steel cords. However, to be fair, the Pyramid does have one other similarity with the FU Center: both boast about three inches legroom per leg.
Sunday features the All-Star game, featuring some of the worlds biggest superstars. Come back then to read more.