Yes, folks. On the 20th anniversary of Canada's own Toronto Raptors, they will be hosting the NBA All-Star Weekend. As a Torontonian, going down to the ACC to watch the Raptors play some ball is real fun. I've even gone to some Raps playoffs games, which were exciting as ever! But this will be a whole new experience! It's in three years and I'm already pumped and ready to go!
What I would mainly look forward to watching, of course, is the Dunk Contest. I mean, the All-Star Game would be great to watch; all the best players in the NBA okay each other, showcasing some hidden talents that they don't often show in non-exhibition games. Alley-oops, fancy passes, trick shots, all that jazz. And it would be fun to watch in person. But it lacks passion. It's like watching a 45 year old man play catch with his son during Monday Night Football, just to keep his son from tears. He's playing catch, but his head isn't. Same with the All-Star game. In regular season games, and, even more so, playoff games, the result counts. It means something. And every player (except for 2004 Vince Carter) put in every last bit of effort to help the team be successful. In the All-Star Game, they just don't have that enthusiasm. I can't blame them. There's no point in risking injury in a meaningless game. Don't get me wrong, the All-Star Game would be great fun to watch in person! But it's not what interests me the most.
Friday is probably the lest intriguing event, however, that doesn't mean it's a fun and new experience. To date, the Friday part of the weekend consists of the NBA All-Star Weekend Celebrity Game, which is pretty self explanatory. It's fun to watch people that tell jokes or sing for a living play a game of basketball. There is also the Rising Stars Challenge. In this event, there are two teams; they have nothing to do with conference or age, but are chosen by a fantasy draft between the two teams' honorary captains: Shaq and Charles Barkley. It consists of the top rookies and sophomores only, a great way to showcase the young talent in the league. The last event of the Friday is the D-League Dream Factory Friday Night. It is pretty much the NBA Saturday, but with all D-League players. And don't worry, we'll cover Saturday.
Saturday. This is the part that I plan on going to. If I had to pick between the three, I would, without a single doubt, pick to go on Saturday. It showcases young talent, and excitement. And young players tend to play more passionately than the player playing in the All-Star Game, who are just having a nice laugh. In these events, the players actually put in a lot of effort. First off, there is the D-League All-Star Game. Pretty self explanatory. The best of the NBA's Developmental League face each other in a regular, 5 on 5 game. Then, the best part of the All-Star Weekend. The part that I cannot believe I have a chance to see: THE SLAM DUNK CONTEST! Some of the league's best, young, talented, athletic, and amazing dunkers face each other in an epic showdown of dunking; the most exciting event! The players in this event actually put in amazing effort, because they plan out their dunks, and then execute. Depending on the difficulty level of the dunk, that is outstanding! And in my opinion, and many others', that is much more exciting than the All-Star Game. Then there is the Three Point Shootout. The league's best long range men go head to head to head to head, etc. These are the players that their teams give the ball to when they're down with less than two minutes to go. It's no Dunk Contest, but it sure is fun to watch! Then, there is the Skills Challenge! This is definitely a great one! It's an obstacle course made for the NBA's best passers, shooters, and dribblers! All in one! This event showcases agility, quickness, accuracy, and spot up shooting skills. I would definitely love to see this at the ACC! And then there is the Shooting Stars Competition. One retired NBA player, one current NBA player, and one WNBA player, represent their teams' cities in a shooting contest. To be honest, I've never seen this one before, but it sounds like it should be fun to watch! For me, this day is a must-go.
There is one event on Sunday: the NBA All-Star Game. Twelve of the best players from each conference plays in a regular five-on-five game. Not much like a normal game, since they mostly are on different teams with different coaches and different styles, but that's part of what makes it fun! Great players adapting to other great players' games!
All in all, I'm ecstatic that the All-Star Weekend is coming to Toronto in 2016, and even though it's in a few years, I'm definitely going!