Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
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Lasting impression from NBA All-Star 2016?
: Relive the best moments from NBA All-Star 2016
> Your one lasting impression from All-Star 2016 in Toronto?
David Aldridge, TNT analyst: Brrr. Well, that and how polite Canadians are, every time I engage them. I really do enjoy Toronto, and would be delighted to go back–in May or June.
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: The game needs to be dialed up. I get it that the weekend is about fun for the participants and, for fans, gawking at an assemblage of bubble-gum cards come to life. But what we saw Sunday was not entertaining — not nearly enough, anyway — or even a good advertisement for the NBA. This league is, yes, about entertainment and basketball, but it’s also about competition. And competition means two sides — offense and defense — putting forth effort. Athletic prowess needs resistance to fully show itself. I get it, that in the hierarchy of defensive intensity, we won’t get (and don’t need) hard fouls and charges-taken. But moving one’s feet, contesting shots, occasionally double-teaming and being a little more bull than matador would benefit everybody. There are some All-Stars who have defense in their portfolios, y’know — Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Chris Paul, Paul George — and it’d be nice to showcase that too. I perversely was rooting for the West to crack 200 points, hoping it would be embarrassing enough — so little in common with real basketball — that the league would feel compelled to do something. Please let 196 be close enough.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: Aaron Gordon’s “sitting in the chair,” passing the ball beneath both legs was the most memorable dunk I’ve seen since Spud Webb in 1986.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: The Verizon Dunk contest, and I don’t think I’m the only person who will say that. Kobe Bryant’s farewell to All-Star weekend was nice and the lack of even decent effort in the Sunday main event was a concern that may have to be addressed one day in a message from the commissioner to players, making it a lasting impression of the bad variety, but Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show. The All-Star game you wanted to be called after the second quarter. The dunk contest could still be going on, tied and LaVine and Gordon with barely enough energy to get airborne, and people would be happy. The two finalists pumped more energy into the contest than anytime in years.
Shaun Powell, NBA.com: I went to sleep Saturday night thinking about the Verizon Dunk contest. That says it all. It was a sensational series between Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine and breathed life into All-Star Saturday and particularly a dunk contest that absorbed lots of backlash, most of it deserved. Did Gordon really dunk off a rotating mascot? Or did I dream it?
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: How high Aaron Gordon can jump. No matter how many times you watch them, those dunks are incomprehensible.
Sekou Smith, NBA.com: All-Star Saturday night will be a hard memory to shake. The competition was top-flight, from the skills challenge to the 3-point shootout and the epic finish to the Verizon Dunk contest. I know the weekend was supposed to be about Kobe Bryant riding off into the sunset in his final All-Star Game appearance. But the next wave of stars that will carry on the legacy of great players in the league is what resonates with me. That and the fantastic job the city of Toronto did hosting the festivities. It was a freshening up, if you will, of an event that never gets old to me.
Ian Thomsen, NBA.com: The players need to start policing themselves. Do they grasp the harm they did to themselves by not even pretending to compete defensively? During the playoffs we’re all going to see how much they care and how committed they are to the best qualities – so why, on this great stage, did they sabotage their own reputations by not giving a decent effort?
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: Well, I’m still defrosting. For a weekend that was supposed to be all about Kobe, I thought Saturday night, from top to bottom, was the best All-Star Saturday I’ve ever seen in 14 years of going to All-Star. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge came down to the wire, the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest had drama, and the Verizon Dunk contest set up a rivalry that could last for a decade. To me, it was the second-best dunk contest of all-time. (In my book, 1988 was the only one that was better, when Dominique Wilkins beat Michael Jordan but got done in by suspect judging. And I rate ’88 better than ’16 only because they didn’t use mascots or hoverboards back then.)