10 Honest Questions….NBA All Star Game


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?


Maybe we should be buying Mom a dictionary?

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…

Hawks Suns Basketball

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…

37 Responses to “10 Honest Questions….NBA All Star Game”

  1. Omar Says:

    4. Tamia is from Canada. (Windsor) its right outside of the “D” Detroit!

  2. Misha Says:

    Well Tamia is Canadian. but not sure why she sang the Canadian anthem either. Hmmmm.

  3. Robyn Curry Says:

    David Stern has got to go. The whole game was boring except for Shaq’s dancing.

  4. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Omar: But wasn’t the game in Arizona?!
    @Misha: Right. I know she’s Canadian. Still don’t get it. And is Grant even in the NBA anymore? What was she doing there at all? I’m confused.

  5. Peanut Butter Says:

    I’m assuming Tamia sang the Canadian national anthem because the league has 2 canadian teams (or is it one now?) and i neevvvvvverrrrrrrrr realized that Wade spelled his name wrong. his mother is dead wrong for that. i missed the game but will youtube the highlights

  6. Aliya S. King Says:

    @peanut butter: huh? wha? the league has two Canadian teams? I did NOT know this. Since when?

  7. Peanut Butter Says:

    lol @ aliya. the toronto raptors (vince carter was on it at one time) and the vancouver grizzlies (which no longer exists). they were created in the 90’s i believe. so now theres just one canadian team

  8. Aliya S. King Says:

    @peanutbutter: oh yeah! I do know the Toronto Raptors! Oops. Forgot about them.

  9. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Robyn: has it ever been exciting? I don’t think I’ve ever watched the game before…

  10. Anonymous Says:


  11. lucky Says:

    The game was so boring. As Peanut Butter said, the Canadian anthem was originally because of the Raptors and the now defunct Grizzlies :)

    I’ve wondered the same thing about Dwyane! lol. I’m telling you, his name is misspelled in a LOT of publications and websites as a result of that purposeful misspelling. It’s funny. In fact, you get more results googling “dwayne wade” than “dwyane wade” A big SMH goes out to Dwyane’s parents. Just remember “Y before A, as in Dwyane Wade” lol.

    LOL @ Alpacino. I think that was the (real) black guy’s name in Tropic Thunder

    Lebron is great in commercials and I want to have dinner with Shaq. he’s endlessly amusing


  12. Chris Wilder Says:

    1. Not since Dr. J in the ’80s has a big star participated in the Slam Dunk contest. A big star has more to lose than gain by being in this. A lesser known player can use the contest to raise his profile. Nate Robinson, for instance, isn’t really known that well outside of New York. Kobe was in the dunk contest when he was still new to The League. But since he’s been a big star, he’s steered clear of that.

    2. Well, the most glaring example of this has to be Anfernee Hardaway. I being a studier of Black English or ‘Merican, know that this is nothing more than a mother who can’t spell. It’s as simple as that. If you really wanna see some names, look at women’s basketball where you will encounter players like La’Tangela Atkinson and A’Quonesia Franklin.

    3. Carmelo was snubbed because he’s a bum. Fan voting determines the initial picks and the fans aren’t always the most savvy observers of the game. The fan voting is more like a popularity contest than a determination of who is having a good season. The popular players get chosen early each year and then it’s left to the coaches to pick the players that are actually having a good season to fill out the rosters. The Nuggets (Carmelo’s team) hasn’t been doing well lately even leading to the trade of Allen Iverson. This is supposed to be Carmelo’s team yet, Chauncey Billups was selected and he’s only been on the Nuggets for a couple of months. They got him when they traded Iverson. Also, Pau Gasol and Rashard Lewis ARE better than Carmelo… at least this season anyway… and that’s what the All-Star game is about. ‘Melo’s not having a good season so, once he didn’t win the popularity contest, he wasn’t going to get chosen along with the people who are actually playing well. Those spots are reserved for people like Devin Harris and Mo Williams, who’s team had to launch a media/marketing campaign to get him chosen.

    4. Tamia is from Canada. The Toronto Raptors were represented so, they sang both anthems. They always do that and since Grant Hill has been in the League (Yes, he’s still in the League, plays for last night’s host team, Phoenix, and is actually having a good year), they always use his wife to sing it.

    5. Shaq is cool. He is on the downside of his career right now. He is nowhere near his peak form of the late ’90s/early ’00s. He only made the team because he plays for the host team and is a big star/character. I’m surprised you don’t know the Jabbawockees. I would figure that your daughter watches MTV… unless MTV has gone the way of Facebook for her (private joke, everybody). They won MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew. My son watched that show like he was getting paid for it.

    6. The NBA is trying to market itself. These big over the top performances are part of it. They set up stages on the court with backdrops that block out the crowd for TV. They want to make it look like a real show as opposed to a performance at a game.

    7. The NBA is ten times better at marketing itself than the NFL. The thing is, there were no new commercials last night. Those commercials are all familiar to people that regularly watch basketball. For instance, the commercial you liked with the shrimp that jumped at Dwyane Wade, is a spin off of another commercial where Charles Barkley told D. Wade a long story that ended with, “…and that’s why I DON’T eat shrimp.” Then they made this commercial where they are in an extreme shrimp-eating situation. Add Yao Ming to the mix and bingo! International appeal. The NFL is light years behind the NBA on marketing. They still don’t allow players to remove their helmets during a game. But, how can you market a player if no one knows what he looks like?

    8. John Legend sucks. And he went to Penn so, I’m talking about my fellow Quaker here. The NBA is trying to move away from hip-hop now. They were always the sport that embraced it but, now they’re going hard with things like John Legend and those whiteboys that sing that song that Li’l Wayne raps on. They performed it without Li’l Wayne and I feel like it was the theme song for the weekend. What? What’s that? … My son just informed me that the song is called “Let It Rock.” That sucks, too.

    9. Obama has serious opinions on sports things like what the BCS should do to fix its’ broken system (Google it, Aliya. No time to explain here). The Steelers owner campaigned for him and then they messed around and won the Superbowl. The thing with last night is that everyone knows Obama plays basketball so, if he’s talking basketball it has more weight than say, Dick Cheney. When talking about what basketball can do for our community, he made a funny reference to plying against Michelle’s brother. Obama is an extremely popular president who plays basketball. How could they not have him speak?

    10. Co-MVPs is a fix. I’m sure they knew they were gonna do that before the game even started. It’s all marketing. They have a public beef. Let’s show that it’s squashed on the NBA’s largest stage. Whatever. The dunk contest was fixed, too. Howard got a 50 in the first round on a dunk that I could do because they knew he had a show planned for the second round.

    If you got anymore sports questions, feel free to hit me up.

  13. Chris Wilder Says:

    Ha! Grant Hill is on CNN right now with some other NBA greats. (Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Steve Nash) They are watching film of Barack Obama playing basketball and breaking down his game.

  14. Aliya S. King Says:

    @lucky: I would love to have dinner with Shaq and his wife. I think they’d be fun.

    @Wilder: I feel like I just completed my first day in Sports 101 with a professor who is moving too fast. I’m thisclose to going to the registrar and withdrawing. Cause I think I’m in over my head.

  15. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Chris: I feel so pathetic. I thought Grant Hill retired because of an injury. I thought Jordan had participated in the dunk contest. (That famous picture of him flying to the basket wasn’t from the dunk contest?) And you’re right. Obama did belong there last night. But I’m still ready for him to hang out in the Oval Office exclusively for a little bit.

  16. Chris Wilder Says:

    @Aliya: Jordan was in the dunk contest when he was young but, not after he became a household name.

  17. Aliya S. King Says:

    @wilder: so why wouldn’t Lebron compete when he was new?

  18. Robyn Curry Says:

    I think the NBA was most exciting during the Jordan years and not just because of him but because there was an intensity in competition you could cut with a knife which made it so fun to watch. Everyone knew Jordan was the best, so folks tried hard to beat the best which was good. (I.e. Knicks vs. Bulls) Of course, before then too (i.e. Magic, Bird, the Pistons, etc.); at least, that’s what the gurus of the game say which I agree with. After Jordan retired and maybe after the overexposure of Kobe (pre-rape allegation: remember all of those stupid commercials? my brother Mark does them dead on), something happened that made the NBA game boring. Keep in mind I have played and watched a ton of basketball in my 32 years, so perhaps I am biased. The older I got, the less the professional game (or the presentation of such) reflected the people that were playing it. I won’t even start on the mandatory dress code issues and things like that. Honestly, it doesn’t even look like the players are having fun most of the time, at least not to me.

  19. Chris Wilder Says:

    @Aliya: LeBron had so much hype in high school and legitimate talent, that he was a big star the moment he set foot in The League. Even Kobe and Jordan didn’t ENTER The League as stars. Big Stars don’t participate in the dunk contest. You have nowhere to go but down. Supposed LeBron loses the dunk contest next year. A little of his shine is gone. I little of the mystique is knocked away.

  20. Aliya S. King Says:

    @robyn: You are so right. It looked like it was in their contracts that they HAD to play. And all of the NBA Cares commercials and stuff made it seemed forced. Like the whole event was a carefully managed PR stunt. Which. Duh! it is!!

    @Wilder: okay. that makes perfect sense.

  21. Robyn Curry Says:

    Lol-exactly. I think the PR aspect has overshadowed the game in such a way that regular people have no desire to tune in. I went to a Nets game about a year ago with a friend. We had GREAT seats but spent most of the time talking about his relationship issues. It was that boring! (lol) Even the little kids there were taking naps or playing in the hallways with their friends. In the meanwhile, the players were going through the motions and that dated cheesy roller skating music was playing in the background. Oh, and the constant plugs telling me to drink Coke or buy some new Nikes. (yawn) I wonder who the intended audience is in David Stern’s mind. I think what is happening now is a result of a dated commissioner who lacks vision holding the reigns when he knows he should give them up.

  22. Chris Wilder Says:

    @Robyn: That Knicks/Bulls era you’re talking about was exciting if you lived in New York or Chicago. The rest of basketball fans could feel a little alienated by that. Now, there is much more parity in The League and therefore the NBA is more exciting overall.

    Also, if you were talking relationship issues at an NBA game, then you’re clearly not a fan of basketball. I understand if the marketing and so forth bothers you but, to a fan of basketball, once they start playing the game, all of that is out the window. You either like the game or you don’t. You can’t sit here and say how much of a fan of basketball you are and then turn around and say, that a few commercials turned you off of the game.

    Also, no child has the attention span for an entire sporting event. Even if Jordan was battling against Larry Bird, kids can’t watch a game for two hours and forty-five minutes. That’s why they have stuff for kids to do at arenas. You must not have children.

    Just come out and say that you don’t like basketball. Don’t imply that you like it and then continuously dis it.

    There are people reading here that don’t know much about basketball and you are misrepresenting it.

  23. Robyn Curry Says:

    Hello Chris. You must not know me.

  24. Robyn Curry Says:

    It’s important to note that you don’t have to love the NBA game to love basketball. College games, high school games, summer league games, little league, etc. are all still thoroughly watched by me. It’s the NBA that is boring. I stand by my argument.

  25. Chris Wilder Says:

    @Robyn: Um… no, I don’t know you. How are you? My name is Christian. I’m from Philly and have put in 15-plus years in Brooklyn. Nice to meet you.

    Well, I thought this conversation was about NBA basketball not college or little league (as you put it)… However, you’re saying that the marketing of the game has turned you off of it. But how can that be? What does the marketing have to do with the actual game that’s being played? (Other than the tweaking of the rules to make the game more palatable to the European style of play so that they can bring in all of these garbage European players)

    Also, you can’t think that the NCAA is a better game than the NBA is right now. I’ll admit that college basketball was my favorite sport back in the ’80s. But now, all of the really talented players go to the NBA after one year. So, there is a lack of talent in college. You can see it when you watch the games. They can barely make shots in college. Stephon Curry is a star… Gonzaga wins games… All kinds of ridiculous things go on in college. You cannot stand here and say that in 2009, the college game is better than the NBA.

  26. Robyn Curry Says:

    Lol — Christian, you’re funny. ; ) And you’re putting a lot of words in my mouth but it’s cool.

    Let me clarify: I LOVE basketball. I love sports in general. I come from a long line of competitive athletes in New Jersey.

    I have lost some of my love for NBA basketball as of late. I wish that there was excitement in the game like before (see above). What will it take to get that back? I don’t know. But I think good games are the best selling point of the NBA, not the reverse. The image is not as important as what it is. It seems like more is invested in the image than the league. Granted, just my opinion. I’m not trying to persuade anyone. Just chatting a bit on a blog.

    And I see you’re a blogger/writer. Kudos! I’ll be checking out your stuff.

  27. Aliya S. King Says:

    @wilder: Um. yeah. You don’t know Robyn at all. I’ve known her since she was born. And she came out of the womb dribbling a basketball.
    @robyn: you are such a good sport to deal with the extremely, um, intense, Chris Wilder.

  28. Chris Wilder Says:

    @Robyn: I apologize if I put any words in your mouth. However, I read over it and don’t see where I did that but, cool. My bad.

    @Aliya: Hold up! Why you taking sides? Why am I intense? Because I pointed out some things? I felt like Robyn was saying the game was bad because of the marketing. I don’t believe marketing affects the actual game on the court. That’s all.

  29. jay1 Says:

    Da’Quetorius and Quin’Quetorius?!

    That’s just awesome!

  30. Aliya S. King Says:

    @Wilder: yes, you’re intense. That’s a nice way of saying that you’re over-the-top, presumptuous and bordering on rude. Your initial response to Robyn contained statements like, “you’re clearly not a fan of basketball” and “Just come out and say that you don’t like basketball. Don’t imply that you like it and then continuously dis it.”

    You couldn’t have been more wrong about Robyn. (I can only say this because I’ve known her family since 1978.)

    And I thought your tone was just way extra for a post that was lighthearted and off-the-cuff.

    You and I know each other in another format, in which this kind of comment would be par for the course. But here, it was jarring.

    And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love when you comment on my posts. You are always insightful and thought provoking.

    But yeah, you’re intense too.

  31. Timothy Says:

    whoa, i hate i missed this blog…more interesting that legend’s performance for sure!

  32. Chris Wilder Says:

    No, problem, Aliya. I’ll stay away from your sports posts. No problem.

  33. Aliya S. King Says:

    @chris. so you’re intense and sensitive? nice.

  34. Robyn Curry Says:

    Thanks Aliya~and Chris, if nothing else, you have a new reader. =)

  35. 6 Things I Learned This Week « Aliya S. King Says:

    […] 4.There’s a Canadian team in the NBA! Used to be two of ‘em! And that’s why Tamia was singing O Canada at the All Star Game!! […]

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