With another NBA All-Star Weekend in the books, it's time to assess the damage. The 2012 version wasn't spectacular tip-to-ticker, but it had its moments, and Sunday's finale was quite entertaining. The canon of these things are built or broken in the details, however, so let's dig into the minutia of All-Star Weekend with our annual awards column.
We begin with blood.
THE BAD-ASS AWARD
For just not giving a f--k
Winner: Dwyane Wade.
During one of the more tense lockout negotiating sessions last fall, Dwyane Wade reportedly did this, according to Steve Aschburner and David Aldridge of NBA.com:
NBA commissioner David Stern was emphatically directing a comment -- and pointing his finger -- at Wade, the Miami Heat's All-Star guard. Wade objected and interrupted Stern, reportedly saying: "Don't point your finger at me. I'm a grown man. I have children."
That's a ballsy move. Wade was in the room when David Stern allegedly told a group of All-Stars and their labor leaders that he knows where the bodies are buried in the NBA because he put some of them there ... and Wade stepped to him in the board room. Dwyane Wade does not mess around. That's a swag summit, a moment that a player like Wade should never be able to top.
He topped it on Sunday.
Yes, Dwyane Wade gave Kobe Bryant a flagrant, hard foul under the rim during a blow-out All-Star Game. And Wade was far from apologetic at any point, apparently refusing to crack a smile in the locker room after the game ended. And now? Kobe has a broken nose and perhaps a concussion.
Breaking someone's nose during a basketball game is the mark of a tough man. Breaking Kobe Bryant's nose during a basketball game is the mark of a really tough man. Breaking Kobe Bryant's nose during the NBA All-Star Game is the mark of the toughest man in the world. Wade fears nothing.
And Kobe better give Wade his money, or next time it'll be his knee.
THE STRAIGHT FACE AWARD
For taking this s--t entirely too seriously
Winner: Mike Fratello.
Fratello coached Team Chuck in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge. And when I say that, I mean that he actually coached them. He had a clipboard. He had notes. He and Thunder assistant Maurice Cheeks called time-outs. Team Chuck ran plays out of these time-outs! On Thursday during Lakers-Thunder on TNT, Chris Webber joked that Fratello had drawn up 100 plays for his squad. On Friday's broadcast, he said that after the hoke, The Czar had texted him to correct the record: he'd only drawn up 25 plays. He probably wasn't joking.
Any fan who recalls the molasses pace at which Fratello's NBA teams played could have predicted that The Czar would try to make even an All-Star exhibition boring.
THE SHINE BLOCKER AWARD
For being a miserable killjoy
Winner: Greg Monroe.
That's cold, man.
Winner: Serge Ibaka.
Not every NBA power forward can pull off a three-quarter sleeve leather jacket.
BEST DRESSED, DRAG EDITION
Winner: Zach Andrews.
The NBA D-League Slam Dunk Contest is always highly entertaining. Zach Andrews didn't have a great jam, but no one topped this all weekend long.
The costume was one thing, but the back handspring in an obviously impossible attempt was just too much.
MOST POWERFUL DUNK
Winner: Russell Westbrook.
Let's hope he broke the Sprite Intensity Meter, because that thing was useless.
Westbrook was definitely the most entertaining player in the All-Star Game, other than LeBron. From the primal screams to the flying dunks, he's like Derrick Rose if Derrick Rose weren't completely British. Russell Westbrook is all that is great about America.
Winner: John Wall.
But if we're accepting alley-oops, LeBron-to-Wade-to-LeBron might have a case:
And no, nothing from the Dunk Contest outside Jeremy Evans' double-dunk belongs in the conversation.
BEST TRASH TALK
Winner: Paul Pierce.
Let's bring it full circle since it seems this became "beat up on Kobe" weekend. Yahoo!'s Marc J. Spears shares The Truth's jabber toward Bryant late in the game (I cleaned up the tweetspeak in this).
Pierce told East teammates to foul Kobe because he'd miss one free throw. Pierce and Kobe had words while Kobe was at the line. After Kobe missed the second free theow, Pierce yells, "I told you!"
Dear All-Star Game: never change.