Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
Usain Bolt, Trey Songz and Arne Duncan are among those competing in the silliest basketball game of the NBA calendar.
It's time for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game again, friends! This year should hold a bit of added intrigue (I can't emphasize how small this "bit" is) because six-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt is playing. Bolt is probably the fastest man of all-time, but as Ball Don't Lie's Kelly Dwyer points out, he's not very good at basketball, despite his 6-5 frame.
Also participating is Secretary of Education and former pro basketball player Arne Duncan, who really should have been last year's MVP. Last year's actual MVP, Kevin Hart, as well as R&B singers Trey Songz and Ne-Yo, Slam Dunk Contest host Nick Cannon and others will also play. The former actual basketball players involved are Dikembe Mutombo (awesome), Bruce Bowen, Sean Elliott (who won't be announcing the thing, thank heavens) and Clyde Drexler (ditto).
There's no Justin Bieber this year, unfortunately. However, the return of Duncan is something that should be celebrated. Duncan, the captain of the Harvard basketball team in the Stone Age, made some terrific plays in the last game, and he can be expected to do the same again this year.
For the humor element, there's no JB Smoove, which is a huge loss. Replacing him will be Cannon and the return of Hart. I understand their humor appeals to, I don't know, someone, but judging by the NBA Internet's reaction to both of their announcements, it's clear that many of the die-hard NBA fans who comment on such things disapprove.
Last year, Tim Hardaway, Nick Anderson and Chris Mullin were the NBA "legends" assembled, and they weren't good at all. I know Drexler will come to play because he probably still thinks he's the greatest player on Earth. Mutombo, even if he doesn't play well, will probably provide more comedy than Hart and Cannon. Bruce Bowen hopefully won't injure anyone by sticking his foot under them while they shoot a jumper, and on offense he'll probably set up camp in the corner to shoot three-pointers. Elliott might play well.
The celebrity game will start at 7 p.m. ET in the Houston Convention Center and air on ESPN. Queen Latifah and Samantha Harris will be assistant coaches in the event, assisting James Harden and Russell Westbrook, who I'm sure don't have any reason whatsoever to take this seriously.