NBA All-Star game recap: the games are better than the NFL’s

Last Sunday, NBA fans were treated to an impressive All-Star weekend. Or perhaps it was the boring Super Bowl and its awful Maroon 5 performance that made an actually typical All-Star game and disappointing Slam Dunk Contest seem so entertaining. Hamidou Diallo won the Slam Dunk Contest, Jayson Tatum won the Skills Challenge, and Team Lebron won the All-Star game.

Overall, it was a decent weekend of entertainment. The All-Star game itself was the usual chuck threes and dunk game without defense a fan could expect (save last year’s game which was pretty enjoyable). Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated the first quarter, and Team Lebron came back for the win. That’s essentially all you need to know. Otherwise, the NBA really managed to hit a home run that other franchises are really struggling to do. Just the draft itself was fun to follow. Giannis did his draft shenanigans, stealing Ben Simmons from Lebron’s draft plan only to trade him away later for Russell Westbrook.

That set up a bit of drama with Westbrook and Joel Embiid, where some holdover beef from a recent game between their respective teams got dragged out by the usual over-the-top nature of Westbrook refusing to drop it during an interview.

Although there were some pretty big snubs, like Rudy Gobert, old legends Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade got added to make it all up. Rest assured, all fans shed a tear seeing Nowitzki hitting those deep threes and Wade lobbing it up one more time for Lebron James. And it would be a travesty to not include the fact that Ray Allen demonstrated his beautiful form in the Celebrity Game, which treated us all with memes of Lebron trying to recruit Allen out of retirement.

The other fixture to note was the 3-Point Contest. Stephen Curry set the bar high in his hometown of Charlotte, but the dark horse sleeper, Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets, upset the festivities and shot himself into relevance. He earned the respect he deserves for what he does for the Nets. Harris drained the money ball racks in both rounds to just barely edge out Curry with 26 points to 24.
Perhaps the best part of all the festivities were the celebrities that the NBA brought in to perform. Meek Mill opened the All-Star game in what is perhaps the best comeback of all time — from sitting in a jail cell to an All-Star weekend performance. It made for out of this world player introductions, and everything was smooth and sleek from one thing to the next, unlike the transitions in the Super Bowl halftime performance.

J. Cole’s halftime show was an absolute masterpiece. He kept it simple, with just him, a stage, two backup singers, a band, and no overdone pyrotechnics or seizure-inducing lights. The audience actually looked into it, as opposed to the paid dancers at the Super Bowl show, and they were into it for good reason. The performance felt intimate, with J. Cole’s life on stage seen in his interaction with the audience. Most of all, J. Cole himself was into his own music, and the genuine passion was infectious even through the TV; it wasn’t a shirtless convulsion while belting out ear-splitting lyrics. Hopefully, other leagues can learn from the NBA on how to put on a show, and other celebrities will look to the masterclass performances of J. Cole and Meek Mill so that we can all get the relaxation and entertainment we deserve.