The NBA Shooting Stars Competition! It's that thing nobody really understands where one NBA player, one WNBA player, and one retired star shoot while you wait for the Three-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk contest. And now it's even weirder, as they scrapped the idea of city-based teams and just have random people playing with each other.
I hate to rain on the NBA's parade -- and All-Star Saturday Night is certainly the NBA's parade -- but the Shooting Stars Competition has always seemed a little bit weird. It's been an All-Star weekend event since 2004, but it still sort of seems like trying to make "fetch" happen. For starters, let's ignore the fact that the entire event basically turns into "let's see who can make a half-court shot first". You can do poorly in the entire mid-range jumper section of the event and still win if you hit one of your first half-court shots. In a way, that's OK. Otherwise, this would be a mid-range jump shot competition, and if people found that exciting, Dante Cunningham would be the league's most popular player. (Dante Cunningham is not the league's most popular player.)
But then there's just the odd assortment of people involved. Ever since the inception of the WNBA, the league has tried to shoehorn the stars from that league into the night before the All-Star Game. First there was 2ball, a pretty similar event where an NBA and WNBA player would try to hit the most shots in 60 seconds. What are we trying to prove here? It was fun when they had HORSE a few years ago, so why not do that and let WNBA players participate? That could be cool.
No, instead we'll just do this thing that is extremely difficult to describe, even for the NBA in their rules description.
Last year, Team New York (Landry Fields, Cappie Pondexter and Allan Houston) won. I'm a born-and-bred Knicks fan and can recall most of the dunks in Nate Robinson's three Slam Dunk victories. I literally had no recollection that "Team New York" won this last year.
And now, I can't even take pride in my home town's win. There are no more city-based teams -- WHAT I THOUGHT BILL LAIMBEER AND THAT PLAYER FROM THE DETROIT SHOCK WERE FRIENDS -- and they're just sorta lumped together at random. Here are the teams, two from each conference, named after the NBA player on each squad:
Team Lopez: Brook Lopez, Muggsy Bogues, Tamika Catchings
Team Bosh: Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins, Swin Cash
Team Harden: James Harden, Sam Cassell, Tina Thompson
Team Westbrook: Russell Westbrook, Robert Horry, Maya Moore
I mean, I guess I'll watch if Muggsy Bogues is involved. Sorta the same principle as the movie "Space Jam". I'll also watch because I want to watch the other things.
It's on TNT, Saturday, Feb. 16, typically at the start of the night and before, you know, the fun stuff. All-Star Saturday night begins at 8:30 ET.