On Friday afternoon, LeBron James taped a fashion competition called NBA All-Star All-Style. Sponsored by Samsung, the concept puts NBA stars in an elimination-style fashion show with three rounds, with judges awarding points deciding who moves on to the next.
The contestants: Jeff Teague, J.R. Smith, Chandler Parsons, DeMarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, Zach LaVine and James Harden. The judges: Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley, along with designer John Elliot, WNBA player Elene Delle Donne and GQ style editor Will Welch. Kevin Hart, John Wall and Damaris Lewis also make appearances.
It was pre-taped, and the final hour-long product will air Saturday, Feb. 14 on TNT at 6:30 p.m. ET. But getting to that final version took three hours, a little bit of television magic and a lot of explaining how things work to Barkley. We were there to watch the show come together. Here's a running diary of the afternoon.
2:30 p.m. - I take my seat in the balcony because I was told to be there no later than 2:30 or else I would miss something IMPORTANT.
3:00 p.m. - The official announced start time comes and goes.
3:10 p.m. - We're told that the show's host will be Carrie Keagan. I Google Carrie Keagan.
3:15 p.m. - A familiar-looking girl is walking to her seat in the front row wearing leather overalls. I realize that familiar-looking girl is track star Lolo Jones.
3:17 p.m. - Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick, Victor Cruz and 2 Chainz join Jones in the front row. This is a very weird fashion show.
3:20 p.m. - A voice comes over the loudspeaker to tell us we're waiting for some of the athlete models, who are "stuck in traffic."
3:25 p.m. - A producer takes the stage to go over the rules with the audience. We're not allowed to tweet out results of each round, take pictures or video. We're also reminded that we are TAPING A TELEVISION SHOW, so there were going to be some planned awkward pauses during the taping for things like commercials, edits and -- as it turned out -- for someone to explain things to Charles Barkley.
3:26 p.m. - We are told that taping would begin in 15 minutes.
3:41 p.m. - They must have meant 15 athlete minutes, which is roughly 35 regular minutes.
4:00 p.m. - Things are finally getting started. A producer announces over the loudspeaker they'll be filming some applause shots ahead of time to edit into the program later.
4:01 p.m. - A girl with a headseat and an earnest look about her appears on stage. She tells us to begin applauding. The crowd obliges with the exception of Cam Newton, who is too cool for fake enthusiasm.
4:03 p.m. - Another disembodied loudspeaker voice says we're doing another round of taped applause, because I guess we weren't applause'y enough. Dammit, Cam Newton. Headset girl raises her arms to indicate applause should begin and the room is once again filled with people clapping at nothing just because someone said so.
4:05 p.m. - LeBron finally takes the stage and the show begins. He's a few lines into his opening when Kevin Hart appears alongside him, makes a few jokes at LeBron's expense and then leaves to announce Shaq as the emcee.
4:07 p.m. - The judges are announced. We're told that the first round is called Dressing for the Boardroom, dedicated to executive wear.
4:09 p.m. - Applause lady returns for another round of Simon Says Applause.
4:10 p.m. - The first contestant, Jeff Teague, takes the stage to All About It by Hoodie Allen. He's wearing a nice, respectable and totally normal-looking suit. As we'll soon find out, "normal-looking" won't be the standard for this event.
4:11 p.m. - The judges make their comments and Kenny Smith takes points off because it's only Teague's first All-Star appearance. This is a weird fashion show scoring system.
4:11 p.m. - GQ style editor Will Welch makes an awkward joke about how Teague looked uncomfortable and said that's OK because he probably didn't ever wear a suit until he made it to the NBA. Now, we're all uncomfortable.
4:13 p.m. - Keagan announces the judges will enter scores, but then we have to take a pause so a producer can explain to Barkley how the scoring pads work.
4:15 p.m. - J.R. Smith takes the stage, strutting to Prayer in C by Lilly Wood & the Prick and Robin Schulz . He is wearing a long, olive green coat and a rabbit fur scarf. I don't know what kind of boardrooms feature fur scarves. Maybe it was an executive rabbit.
4:16 p.m. - Barkley compliments the scarf and immediately gives Smith 10 points. He's reminded that he's supposed to wait until the end of judging to reveal his score. Barkley is clearly having some issues with this scoring system.
4:20 p.m. - In an on-camera interview backstage, LeBron says Smith got the best score of the night. Hart sagely reminds LeBron that there have only been two contestants. Kevin Hart appears to be the brains of this whole operation and now I'm scared.
4:23 p.m. - Chandler Parsons comes out to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars, carrying a briefcase and wearing no socks. Maybe his socks are in the briefcase.
Courtesy of Springhill Productions
4:25 p.m. - The judges enters their scores for Parsons as the show goes to commercial. A producer comes out to check on Barkley and make sure he's doing it right.
4:27 p.m. - We come back from commercial, the judges hold up their tablets and Barkley's has a black screen. He needs to be reminded to turn his on. He's now 0-3.
4:30 p.m. - DeMarcus Cousins comes out to We Dem Boyz by Wiz Khalifa in suede desert boots, a shawl collar blazer and olive green skinny cargo pants. Like, really skinny. Cargo jeggings.
4:31 p.m. - Barkley says he likes the green pants and immediately gives Cousins a 9. He's reminded again to wait to reveal his score.
4:33 p.m. - We go to commercial and are reminded that there's a SPECIAL PERFORMANCE FROM WALE AND ALSO ONE FROM FLO RIDA coming up.
4:39 p.m. - A producer asks the crowd to give light applause as we come back from fake commercial break. Cam Newton offers a golf clap.
4:40 p.m. - Klay Thompson comes out to 7/11 by Beyonce in a suave three-piece gray suit.
4:42 p.m. - Barkley says he likes Thompson's suit and also likes that he's the number two shooting guard in the league. Smith says, "He's the number two, but James Harden might have something to say." "On one end of the court," Barkley responds. The crowd goes "Oooooh," because Harden burn.
4:34 p.m. - Commercial break but stay tuned for A SPECIAL PERFORMACE FROM WALE.
4:44 p.m. - Back from commercial and the judges give their scores. For the first time, Barkley nails it.
4:46 p.m. - Zach LaVine comes out to Truffle Butter by Nicki Minaj. We've already been here for over two hours and truffle butter sounds really good right now.
4:52 p.m. - More scoring, and things are turning around for Barkley because this is two times in a row that he's able to score correctly all by himself.
4:54 p.m. - Backstage, Kevin Hart calls LeBron a fashion icon and then admits that he's been drinking.
4:55 p.m. - James Harden comes out to Tuesday by ILOVEMAKONNEN. He's wearing bedazzled sneakers and a powder blue suit with skinny pants.
Courtesy of Springhill Productions
4:56 p.m. - Barkley takes points off for Harden's beard, but is totally cool with the skinny pants.
5:00 p.m. - The judges enter their scores. We're told that the Clubwear round is up next. Also, A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE FROM WALE.
5:12 p.m. - The remaining four contestants take the stage while Wale -- FINALLY! -- provides their walking music. I can't tell you who they were because there are rules here, but I can say that at least one of them doesn't know how to dress for the club.
5:15 p.m. - Judging happens, but it's a secret so I can't tell you who wins. I can tell you that the player who thinks a baseball jersey with his own name on the back is clubwear doesn't make it through.
5:21 p.m. - We're told that the final round is coming and also A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY FLO RIDA. The crowd begins to leave. It's a good thing we have that canned applause from before.
5:22 p.m. - Cam Newton, 2 Chainz and Colin Kaepernick decide they've had enough and make their exit. I can't believe they're going to miss A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY FLO RIDA.
5:27 p.m. - Flo Rida is announced, his dancers come out and perform a few counts before the track stops. We're told that there are "technical difficulties."
5:28 p.m. - The track starts again and Flo Rida comes out ahead of his dancers this time. We realize "technical difficulties" means "Flo Rida messed up."
5:29 p.m. - The final two contestants walk the runway while Flo Rida sings. I'll officially be singing GDFR for the next week.
5:34 p.m. - The scored are tabulated and placed in an envelope for Barkley to reveal after the commercial break. It's a nice show of faith to give that job to Barkley, but clearly his scoring issues are behind him.
5:35 p.m. - Barkley starts to tear open the envelope before the commercial break and has to be stopped.
5:37 p.m. - The winner is awarded a diamond bowtie, and we all get to go home.
Watch the show Saturday, Feb. 14 on TNT at 6:30 p.m. ET.
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