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Two thrills are worth 100 yawns
Posted February 24, 2006

Nila Priyambodo
Editor in Chief

The NBA All-Star Saturday Nights in the past years have not been, shall I say, too memorable. If you asked me, I wouldn’t be able to tell you who won the three-point shoot outs or the slam dunk contests.

Not only that, but the “all-stars” that have been asked to participate aren’t even stars. In 2005, they asked people like the Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith and the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Andersen and J.R. Smith to compete in the slam dunk contest. And in 2004, the association asked the Indiana Pacers’ Fred Jones. “Who?” you ask? My point exactly.

Well last weekend, I decided to give them another shot. Thinking hey, just maybe it wouldn’t be disappointing. The night started with Shooting Stars, an event where four teams of three would shoot the ball from six different locations and compete for the best time. By the end of this competition, I lost hope for the night. The only thing I can remember is that the camera constantly turned to Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria, who is also the girlfriend of Shooting Stars winner Tony Parker. Like I really care Eva Longoria is there watching the game.

Then the Skills Challenge – an event where players compete for the best time as they pass, dribble and shoot the ball – came and went without adding any excitement to the night. With two contests out of the way, I was certain that this night would be like the past years’ Saturday Night competitions: dull.

I was hoping that the Three-Point competition would turn this boring night around. I must admit, it wasn’t a “sitting on the edge of the seat” kind of excitement, but it wasn’t as boring as I thought it would be. It helped that one of my favorite players, Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki, took home the trophy. I would have probably fallen asleep otherwise.

So now comes the what I hope to be electrifying Slam Dunk contest. Competing this year are Philadelphia 76ers’ Andre Iguodala, Memphis Grizzlies’ Hakim Warrick, New York Knicks’ Nate Robinson and Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith. After hearing this, I’m thinking “Great, I should just leave now. Why should I waste another hour of my life?”

But I’m glad I didn’t. I know they are not as well known as the household names, such as 2000 winner Vince Carter, 1997 winner Kobe Bryant or 1987 and 1988 two-time winner Michael Jordan. And they can probably never top Jordan’s “leaning” dunk or Carter’s “between the legs” dunk. Yet it was pretty exciting.

One of my favorite dunks was one performed by Iguodala with the help of fellow 76er Allen Iverson. Iguodala was standing behind the backboard while Iverson threw the ball, hitting the back of the backboard. Then Iguodala—in mid-air—grabbed the ball, went under the backboard and made a reverse dunk. I jumped out of my seat in amazement and started screaming. It was creative and impressive enough to be among the legendary Jordan and Carter dunks.

Then there was the 5 foot 9 inch underdog of the contest, Nate Robinson. Robinson soared over 1986 Slam Dunk winner Spud Webb in the final round of the contest, receiving a perfect 50 points. I didn’t think this could get any better.

Not only that, but after two rounds, Robinson and Iguodala had a tie, resulting in the All-Star’s first dunk-off. Although, the dunk off wasn’t as exciting, by this point I didn’t care anymore.

I watched the Saturday Night lineup hoping I would walk away with one memorable moment. Not only did I walk away with commentator and former basketball player Charles Barkely’s hilarious sideline comments, I walked away with two “jump out of my seat” unforgettable moments. With this in mind, I can’t wait until next year’s All-Star game.

Nila Priyambodo, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at npriyambodo@ulv.edu.