This post is sponsored by T-Mobile
Last I left you guys, I was on my way to see HORSE at the NBA Jam Session. In what would be a theme for the evening, it was something that seems better in theory than in execution. There was definitely excitement leading up to the event, buoyed by the arrival of the TNT crew and their national TV broadcast. Though they were shooting at an opposite basket to the crowd (I assume it looked better on TV that way), I had some excellent seats saved. Made sitting through that D-League game worth it.
But the contest itself turned out to be a dud. I couldn't even stay to the finish (which was a lame sudden-death situation where the finalists shot 3-pointers) as the Saturday Night festivities were across town at the American Airlines Arena. It's possible that HORSE just isn't a spectator sport, but I wouldn't give up on the concept until they had participating players with some personality. I know everyone loves Kevin Durant (and he was the local favorite with his Texas ties), but the guy is clearly boring, or at least too-cool-for-school. And I think it made the other participants try and match his demeanor as to not stand out. I'm pretty sure that this event, and every other, would've been made better with Brandon Jennings.
T-Mobile hooked me up with quality seats to the Rookie Challenge on Friday, but they trumped themselves with the 100-level seating for Saturday night (pics from the MyTouch 3G, naturally). And the crowd was just packed with NBA (and other) dignitaries. I had my favorite sighting of the weekend right when I entered the concourse, as Scottie Pippen was walking by with his (I assume) kids in tow.
I'm sure everyone's seen and/or read about the night's events, and there was ample hand-ringing in the twitterverse about how much of a letdown it was, including the arena energy. But since I had nothing to compare it too, it was definitely the most energetic All-Star Saturday Night I've seen, heh. The skills competition was well-received but obviously that will never be a major crowd-pleaser (especially with Rose bowing out, though I had a rooting interest in fellow Illini Deron Williams). The 3-Point shootout was cool to see in person, especially when they were at the rack where I could see the trajectory of every shot, but it's never good when a Celtic wins anything (by the way, I booed Rondo at HORSE) and worse that I was sitting next to the reveling John at RedsArmy.com.
But the night will always hinge on the finale, the Dunk Contest, as that has the highest variability in terms of entertainment. And this one...just wasn't. Though I can only imagine seeing some of the great dunk contests in person, because the top several last night were indeed amazing to see. But again, get players with more personality, or at the very least those who want to be there (Gerald Wallace, I'm looking at you).
So, indeed, it was kind of a down atmosphere by the time the night ended. At least I got the thrill of seeing Benny the Bull clown in front of a disgusted Jay-Z. As well as meeting and having a nice talks with Henry Abbott and Steve Weinman, mostly inside blogging stuff that few would be interested in.
[My big disappointment so far is not meeting more media types (and blog pals) and talking more Bulls (and getting some inside info for you guys), but I don't have credentials which means they're usually inaccessible, though maybe a good reason not to give me credentials is that I'd be wasting them bothering other media while they were trying to work. So there's that reason, and also the Bulls don't seem to be doing much in the trade world lately anyway.]
What I hope is of more interest is that I got my first sampling of the famed All-Star party scene. SBNation pal Andrew was able to use his connect Wolf Blitzer (seriously) to get us in the VIP section of TNT's party at the House of Blues. So while Sammy Hagar (I'm a Diamond Dave guy, myself) was having his concert downstairs, we were in our own room with lots of personalities from TNT & NBATV (brightest star, clearly: Charles Barkley) enjoying themselves. It was certainly an older crowd, but I think that raised the goofiness level, and that vibe was in full effect by the end of the night when when one sees Charles and Cheryl Miller closing the dance floor.
If that doesn't get you following me on twitter (and Andrew for that matter) this weekend, I don't know what will. Today should be a whole new experience as I'll be seeing the Jerry Jones Dome for the first time, and hopefully see Derrick Rose get that All-Star experience he deserves.