I’ve told you all before. I know next to nothing about sports. I root for teams based on a very arbitrary set of rules that can change at a moment’s notice. I find myself thinking about the color of the uniforms more than the technical aspects of the game. And this weekend, as I half-watched some of the All-Star Weekend events, I had some honest questions that I really need answered. Please help.
1. How come LeBron James has never entered the Slam Dunk contest?
I was doing some research on Nate Robinson, the winner of this year’s slam dunk contest. (He’s just three inches taller than me!) And I read somewhere that LeBron has never participated. Is that normal? Does he dunk? I have no idea what LeBron’s dunking skills are. But I thought all of the big names participated in that contest. There was some buzz that he’s hinted that he will participate next year. Why hasn’t he already?
2. Why is Dwyane Wade’s name spelled wrong?!
I know I am late on this. But I don’t care. I need answers. Don’t tell me it’s a unique spelling. I don’t want to hear it. I am one of the few people not offended by the extremely creative made-up names that Black folks often bestow upon their children. My Aunt Janet knows a set of twins named Da’Quetorius and Quin’Quetorius. And that is perfectly fine with me. I once had a student named Alpacino. That was his first name. All one word. Alpacino. Again, do what you want. Hell, I just got a friend request from a woman named Prittiface Johnson. That is fine. Be as unique and special as you please.
But do NOT misspell a regular name!
You can spell it Duane. Dwayne. You can spell it funky if you want: D’Wayne. Dwain. Dwane.
But don’t mix up two letters in the traditionally spelled version and call it different. That’s not unique. That’s a typo. Vent over.
3. Where was Carmelo?
All I know about Carmelo Anthony is that he came into the league at the same time as Lebron James. And that he has a child with La La Vasquez, from MTV. I don’t even know what team he plays for. But I know his name. And I know he’s a good player. So why didn’t I see him? There were players in the lineup that I’ve never heard of: Pau Gasol, Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis…Surely these people aren’t better than Carmelo.
I did some Googling and found out that Carmleo’s injured. So is that why he wasn’t selected? That made sense. Until I found out that Shaq’s been selected fifteen times, including two times that he was injured. I think even if you’re injured, you can still get selected to the team, just to recognize that you are an All-Star, even if you can’t play in the game. So why did Carmelo get snubbed?
4. Why did Tamia sing the Canadian National Anthem?
I’m still scratching my head over this one. I’m sure there’s a simple explanation. I love Tamia, (she’s got freckles like me) and I love her drama-free lifestyle with Grant Hill. They collect art by emerging Black artists for heaven’s sake. How could you not love the NBA’s Cosby kids? But I’m still not sure why she was singing O Canada. Were there Canadian players? I’m sure. But there are players in the NBA representing many different countries. Why Canada? She did a great job, lovely voice. And that Jordin Sparks killed the American anthem. Though neither of them can stand within a hundred feet of Jennifer Hudson…
5. How much do you love Shaquille O’Neal?
For me, the answer is…a whole lot. He reps Newark, New Jersey and I hear he’s putting up money for redevelopment near the Performing Arts Center. My dad, a barber who worked in a shop on Avon Avenue for years, swears up and down that he cut Shaquille’s hair when he was in the seventh grade, a few days before he left for Germany with his mother and stepfather.
I love Shaq because he’s married to a normal-sized Black girl with no weave and a short haircut. (I’m gonna pretend I’ve never heard rumors about sidepieces and pregnancy-payoffs.) And because he was a crime-fighter in his off hours down in Florida. And because he tried to rap. And wasn’t horrible. And because he smiles big and bright. And because he has a mellifluous name.
So when he came out and did a dance with the Jabberwockees, (who are these people?), I fell in love with him all over again. Dude was popping and locking like it was 1980. I love that although he’s a big huge star, he’s not afraid to have some fun with his celebrity. Can you imagine Jordan ever doing anything like that? I like my sports figures to have a sense of humor. Since I won’t be paying any attention to the game, you need to hold my attention another way.
6. How come I couldn’t see the crowd?
The entire game and the pre game activities seemed a little off to me. The players kept walking out to a stage. And I would hear what sounded like canned applause and cheers. But I couldn’t see anything else besides the players and the two feet of stage they were standing on. Did anyone else notice this? There was no electricity. I didn’t feel like I was there at all. Even at The Grammys, I got a sense of who got cheered, who bored the crowd and who got a standing ovation.
7. How come the All-Star commercials were better than the Super Bowl commercials?
Are basketball players funnier than football players? I don’t know. But the commercials I saw had me cracking up. Lebron James dreams that he joins the Cleveland Browns football team. After a hilarious montage of basketball moves on the football field, he wakes up and then does this little Heisman trophy pose. He’s so cute. Such star power. And all of the T-Mobile commercials with Dwyane Wade and Charles Barkley are adorable. Especially the one where they’re at the seafood restaurant with the live fish jumping off their plates. Hilarious.
8. Why was John Legend’s halftime show so lackluster?
I once interviewed John Legend and I asked him how it felt to know that the song he’ll probably be best remembered for (Ordinary People) has already been written. He said it was cool. And that he looked forward to touring nursing homes in sixty years, singing that song. Which I thought was pretty funny.
I really wish he’d performed Ordinary People last night. Or at least “Green Light.” Because the call-to-service anthem bored me to tears. And on top of that, he seemed to be straining to hit his notes. And then, he had some guy named Juanes performing with him. Google tells me that Juanes is a big old star in South America. Unfortunately, John Legend needed someone famous here in the States to ratchet up his performance into something watchable.
9. Is it okay to admit that I am tired of seeing my president’s face EVERYWHERE?
When President Obama’s speech was aired at halftime, TH and I both groaned at the same time. I can’t escape the man. He’s everywhere. I turn on Hot 97 and Jeezy and Jay-Z are rapping about him. He’s on the news and then his image is on a commercial for coins. Ugh.
Tog is not yet two. And on Inauguration Day, she learned how to say, “Whoo Hoo! Obama!” while shaking her fist in the air. She says it any time she sees him on television or on a commemorative plate or when she sees the laminated newspaper clipping at Grandma’s house. It’s all good. But the Obama image is being oversaturated. Obama’s message was a good one last night, urging Americans to log on to usaservice.org to find opportunities to volunteer. (The website is very clean and user-friendly. I quickly found a church in my area that needs specific clothing items that I happen to have.)
But I just don’t want to hear anything out of Obama’s mouth right now unless it pertains to the economy or the war in Iraq. And I don’t want to see him everywhere.
And finally, my last question. And the most pressing…
10. How the heck do they have co-MVPs?!
That is so whack. I didn’t watch the game closely enough to see which of the two should have really won. I saw Shaq doing his thing. I know Kobe is an amazing player. But isn’t that cheating to have co-MVP’s? And aren’t Shaq and Kobe mortal enemies? Was this some kind of attempt from the Commissioner to make the NBA look like an egoless happy family? A way to end the negative Shaq vs. Kobe stories? I don’t know. But I think it’s corny and dumb. It’s like NARAS awarding best rap album to both 50 Cent and Rick Ross. Now wouldn’t THAT be something?
Dear readers: Did you watch the game? Or any of the festivities? Can you answer any of the nagging questions I have? Or give me some of your own. I’d love to hear from you…