Posts Tagged ‘NBA All-Star Weekend’

Stars Awkwardly Set Aside Dislike


VIDEO: Joakim Noah is happy to be at the All-Star Game with his friends

NEW ORLEANS – Working up a genuine dislike for an opponent is one of the best motivations available for NBA players. And one of the biggest challenges for some on All-Star Sunday, not just on the court but before and during the game in the locker room.

“It’s always awkward,” Chicago center Joakim Noah said. “All-Star, that locker room, it’s always awkward. At the end of the day, you realize you compete … even a guy like [Indiana’s] Roy Hibbert, I’ve been competing with Roy since college. Like, really battling. So it’s strange to be in a situation like this where we’re sitting next to each other in the locker room.”

Noah got his first taste of rivals-turned-teammates-for-a-day last year in Houston when he made his All-Star debut. One of the league’s most visibly intense performers, the veins in his neck popping after moments good for the Bulls and bad for the other guys, Noah prefers competing to cozying up.

When pressed on the sort of conversations he or others like him can manage in All-Star locker rooms – about the game, your teams, the family, your vacation plans – Noah said: “We don’t talk about [our] teams. Uh … I’ve forgotten, man.”

Hibbert, whose battles with Noah date back to their days with Georgetown and Florida respectively, shares much of his rival’s unease for the 48 hours or so the All-Star squads practice and play. And yet, their history has brought them together a little.

“The only other person I talk to on the court is just Jo,” Hibbert said. “We go back and forth. I saw him like an hour or two ago, we shook hands and said, ‘We’ll keep it cordial.’ But yeah, everybody’s been asking me about the Heat. I don’t have any words for them. They say hello. We’re all cordial to each other. It’s all small talk, so I don’t mind it.”

After nine trips to the All-Star Game, Miami forward Chris Bosh has learned how to navigate the foe vs. friend dynamic. And of course, every player’s personality is different. Some want or even need to dislike the other guy, others focus on their own games and the X’s and O’s.

“It’s only awkward if you make it awkward,” said Bosh, who has been coming to the All-Star Game the past four years with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, built-in teammates. “It can be. But we’ve been in this mode so many different times, we know how to handle it.

“This is just a time when we [All-Stars] can kind of relax, have a good time and enjoy each other’s company a little bit. We don’t have to be at each others’ throats. There will be plenty of time for that.”

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 147) The All-Star Debate Featuring Reggie Miller And Stu Jackson

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Another NBA All-Star Saturday night will come and go without LeBron James, the marquee player of his generation and a future member of the league’s Mount Rushmore (according to his own calculation), taking part in the signature event.

LeBron has never and perhaps will never participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest. And it’s a shame that we have not and might not ever get to see him on that stage.

Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Reggie Miller thinks James owes it to his own legacy and those of dunk legends like Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter and others to do it at least once, particularly in his physical prime.

Reggie makes his case to Stu Jackson and the world in “Are You Kidding Me?” on Episode 147 of the Hang Time Podcast: The All-Star Debate.

We also sneak a peek at the looming NBA trade deadline and discuss who needs to do what to push themselves to the next level after All-Star Weekend, the Suns and Pacers being high on our list of teams that could change the game with the right move at the deadline.

Check out that and more on Episode 147 of the Hang Time Podcast: The All-Star Debate Featuring Reggie Miller and Stu Jackson …

LISTEN HERE:

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Sekou Smith of NBA.com,  Lang Whitaker of NBA.com’s All-Ball Blog and renaissance man Rick Fox of NBA TV, as well as our new super producer Gregg (just like Popovich) Waigand and the best engineer in the business,  Jarell “I Heart Peyton Manning” Wall.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.


VIDEO: LeBron James shows off his dunking skills after practice

Drummond Shuts His Critics Up With Play





HOUSTON – Andre Drummond can’t change the past. He can only change opinions.

Panned in the lead up to the 2012 NBA Draft, Drummond was billed as a big man with superstar talent but a motor that didn’t match. It’s one of the reasons the 7-footer lasted until the ninth pick, where the Detroit Pistons cashed in with what has turned out to be one of the steals of the entire draft.

Drummond’s work through the pre-All-Star Weekend break of his rookie season has been an eye-opener. In addition to that potential superstar talent, he’s shown off a motor that more than matches. In fact, he’s been lauded by Pistons insiders for being even better than they had hoped in terms of his work ethic and the energy he brings to both practices and games.

A stress fracture in his back will cost Drummond at least a month, and that includes his participation here this weekend for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. But it won’t deter him from his goal of silencing those who questioned his character and game before the Draft.

“”I think coming into a situation where the game is as fast-paced as NBA games are was beneficial for me to pick things up and move forward,” said Drummond, who averages 7.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in just 19.7 minutes a night. “My coaches and teammates helped me move adjust and nip some of that stuff people had against me in the bud. I think Detroit is a great city, the fans are definitely great out there, and having the right environment to g to work in makes a big difference.”

Drummond is just 19 and with his combination of size (he’s just shy of 300 pounds with just six percent body fat) and skill along with the physicality he brings to the floor, the notion of him being a dominant big man in the league alongside the Pistons’ other budding young frontcourt star Greg Monroe.

The injury to Drummond is setback, but by no means the end to what has been a promising rookie season.

“I want to maintain the effort and energy bring every day and continue to get better,” Drummond said. “We have plans on being a playoff team [someday] and I want to be a big part of helping make that a reality.”

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 32)



HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The movement starts right here, right now.

And it won’t stop until Indiana Pacers forward Josh McRoberts, known around these parts as “McBob,” is working the Staples Center crowd on Saturday night during All-Star Weekend in February.

Like Shannon Brown before him, McRoberts need a little help from the people to make sure he gets an invite to the party. The Hang Time Podcast crew is trying to make sure we get that assist by serving as McBob headquarters from this moment forth.

As an introduction, McRoberts was the first of two special guests on Episode 32 of the Hang Time Podcast, joining ESPN.com’s John Hollinger, on the latest installment of the show.

LISTEN HERE:

An author and analyst, Hollinger is a columnist for ESPN.com and featured regularly on ESPN.com’s Insider. He’s also the first HTP guest with his own statistic. Hollinger created the PER (Player Efficiency Rating), which is a figure that attempts to combine all of a player’s statistical contributions into one number that can be used for evaluation.

We quizzed him on the Hornets, Heat, Lakers, Celtics and Magic and also discussed Ricky Rubio, Kevin Love‘s 30 for 30 performance and so much more.

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine, our super producer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog and your host Sekou Smith on Twitter.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here.