Thursday, February 21, 2013

Representin’ Portland-NBA All Star Weekend by Otto L.

          Every year, around February, the National Basketball Association season reaches its halfway point. In one of those weekends, certain groups of players from the NBA are selected to participate in the events of the so-called “All-star Weekend”. This particular weekend is the ultimate events for basketball fans, on Friday we get to see celebrities, like Kevin Hart, show their hoop skills against other celebrities in a classic East vs. West basketball game.  Following that we get to watch the best NBA rookies and sophomores faceoff against each other (after being selected into two separate teams) in an event called the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. The next day we get to see the thrill and fun of the NBA Skills challenge, where we see certain selected players go through an obstacle course, which tests their shooting, passing and ball-handling skills. Then comes the Three Point Shootout Contest, where the player who makes the most threes wins. The last event of day is the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, where the players show off their most creative and powerful dunks to the world! On Sunday, the biggest event takes place: The All-Star game, where star players, like Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, face off each other in a Eastern Conference vs Western Conference format.

            The All-Star weekend is also a chance for the players to represent their hometown or the city they play for. In the case of Portland, there are three players who held the honor of representing the City of Roses. Blazers’ rookie point guard Damian Lillard played in the Rising Stars Challenge and also participated in the Skills Challenge, which he won by beating out Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday in the final round! (To commentators who said Holiday was going to win, what do you have to say now?)
            In the Slam Dunk contest, no Trailblazers player participated in the famed event, however rookie Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors represented Portland, because its actually his hometown! Ross went to and played basketball at Jefferson high school from 2006 to 2010. His dunks electrified the crowd, allowed him to beat out defending Slam Dunk Champion Jeremy Evans and win the contest! (I voted for him, so I think that definitely helped.)
            In the All Star Game on Sunday, where names like Lebron James and Kobe Bryant dominate the court and media, there is one player of the Western Conference who had always been under the radar: Blazers’ power forward Lamarcus Aldridge. Aldridge was also selected for the All-Star game last year, too. Although in both of the games, he barely scored (he didn’t score this year), it was great to see that the North-west was being represented in the all-star game, where all of the lights shine. Portland represent!

Damian Lillard winning the Skills Challenge:
Terrence Ross’ dunks that won him the Slam Dunk title:
Lamarcus Aldridge, Portland’s All star:

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