Column: An All-star Weekend snooze fest for the ages

Orlando Magic's Aaron Gordon reacts during the slam dunk contest during NBA All-Star Saturday Night events in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Each year when NBA All-Star Weekend rolls around, I am full of hope that this will be the year that things turn around and it is enjoyable to watch. For yet another year, I was left disappointed once again as it was an absolute snooze fest for viewers and for most fans in the crowd.

I honestly do not know what event to attack first, as all the All-Star Weekend events were lifeless, uninteresting and visually unappealing to the viewers. The jewel of all-star weekend is the dunk contest, as it used to be the highlight of the weekend where the best dunkers would come out and put on a show worthy of time and money. This year the biggest name was first time all-star DeAndre Jordan, who non-NBA fans would know only from his horrendous State Farm commercials. Competing along with Jordan was last year’s runner up Aaron Gordon, Glenn Robinson III and a man who only appeared in seven games this season Derrick Jones Jr.

Last year the dunk contest was exciting as Zach Levine and Aaron Gordon put together a string of fantastic dunks, but this year Gordon seemed lifeless and uninterested as he failed multiple times on every dunk attempt and failed to break 40 points on either dunk. Jordan dunked over a turntable with DJ Khaled, more to come on him, and did a 360 between the legs. Neither dunk impressed too much as he was eliminated and got an 84 total.

Although both Robinson and Jones achieved a 50 in both rounds, Jones Jr missed all three of his attempts in the championship round as the 37 effectively knocked him out of the competition. The champion, Robinson III was the steadiest one in the competition as he had a 91 in the first round and a 94 in the championship, but none of his dunks will be remembered in the years to come, and honestly neither will he.

In all honesty I did not watch the celebrity game, the USA vs World game or the skills competition, due to the UConn women’s game and the UConn hockey game, but I am really not upset by this. These competitions are the same each year, oddly timed and seem gimmicky as all three of the competitions are honestly very forgettable.

My favorite competition is the 3-point shootout but this year it did not feature the best 3-point shooter on the planet, Matt Bonner, or the two-time MVP Steph Curry. DJ Khaled was able to hit more threes than Kyle Lowry it seemed, as Lowry the first competitor since 2011 to fail to reach double figures in a round. Defending champion Klay Thompson failed to make it to the finals as many of the competitors struggled, including Wesley Matthews and C.J. McCollum who hit 11 and 10 respectively.

In the finals, Kemba Walker finished in third with 19 in the first and 17 in the finals, as Eric Gordon beat Kyrie Irving in an overtime shootout. Gordon was the most consistent throughout as he hit 25 in the first round, 20 in the second and 21 in the tiebreaker. In a competition with “the best three point shooters in the World,” I want to see 3-pointers made, especially with a rack of money balls. In the aftermath of the competition Gordon seemed lifeless at the microphone and the reporter asked arguably the worst questions on the face of the Earth as I would rather a comedian such as Kevin Hart take the mic and put on a show.

The highlight of the night was the 3-point shootout in the memory of Craig Sager as they raised $500,000 for a more than worthy cause. Even in the spirit of donation, things went awry as Steph Curry failed to make any of his nine attempts from half court. Nothing seemed to go right for the NBA in New Orleans, as even DJ Khaled thought he was in Miami during his performance.

The question now is what is to be done about All-Star Weekend? In talking with my roommate another NBA fan, we debated a possible 3v3 tournament instead of an all-star game all together. There will be more games, more passion, unique pairing and the ability to invite more all-stars. This competition would be fun to watch and allow the fans to get into the game more, as defense might actually be played.

Once again, I was not impressed with the weekend, as I will probably not even watch the all-star game. With it being marketed as an all-star weekend, I think it is ridiculous that only person in the dunk contest is an actual all-star and neither was Eric Gordon or Kristaps Porzingis who won the other events. The only fun part of the weekend was Curry blowing another 3-1 lead.


Matt Kren is a staff writer for The Daily Campus, covering women’s basketball. He can be reached via email at matthew.kren@uconn.edu.