The 2008 all-star weekend held in New Orleans just recently is one of the most important events the town has held as it is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, event that was held there since the town was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The spectacle’s success was remarkable, letting tourists know that New Orleans has been reborn.
The festivities started with the Rookie Challenge, sponsored by T-Mobile. The game featured fancy passes, spectacular dunks, and athletic feats that the younger generation boasts. But among these great plays, one Daniel “Boobie” Gibson from the Cleveland Cavaliers, with his deadly three-point accuracy, stood tall among other rookies and sophomores. He led the sophomores to victory with 33 points, all of them coming from beyond the arc.
The next day, the all-star weekend continued, and the 2008 Haier Shooting Stars started the night off, and what a way to do so, as the San Antonio team, consisting of Spurs forward Tim haier led tv 43 inch Duncan, Silver Stars guard Becky Hammond, and NBA Legend David Robinson, overcame the odds and won the event, despite it being an event that requires good shooting from the perimeter (both Duncan and Robinson were known for their inside presence).
The Playstation Skills Challenge was the second event of the night, and continued the string of upsets, as Miami Heat star Dwayne Wade, the event’s 2-time defending champion, bowed out of the competition early on, leaving Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams and New Orleans’ own Chris Paul fighting for the championship. Even though the crowd was clearly behind the hometown boy, and Paul being the better man stats-wise, that didn’t stop the Jazz guard from having a date with destiny, as he defeated Paul in the finals, beating the record for the fastest time lapsed in the event while doing so.
But just when people thought this would be a night of upsets, the Foot Locker 3-point shootout featured Toronto Raptors shooter Jason Kapono’s dominance in the event. He breezed through the eliminations, leading the competitors with 20 points, next to both Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Daniel Gibson’s 17. Nowitzki surprisingly faltered in the final round, and while Gibson managed to get a respectable score, both were humbled by Kapono’s amazing shooting streak, and the champion successfully defended his title with a score of 25, tying the all-time record for the most points in a three-point shootout event that was held by Chicago’s Craig Hodges.
Ending the night was the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest that featured Toronto rookie Jamario Moon, Memphis sophomore Rudy Gay, 7-foot-tall Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Defending Champion Gerald Green of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite being the tallest of all the competitors, Howard showed tremendous leaping ability, which the announcers mentioned all the time that the NBA has never seen anyone so tall with the high leaping ability like Howard possesses. After he successfully nailed an astonishing left-handed tomahawk follow-up dunk which sounds quite easy on paper, but the thing is he bounced it off the backboard, and by back I meant the back of the backboard; everyone was already predicting a win for Howard, and they’re right. And while his first dunk raised the roof of the joint, the second and third ones blew it away. No doubt that he was the clear-cut champion of one of the best slam dunk events of all time.
The last night of the weekend featured the main attraction, the 2008 NBA All-star game, featuring the leagues brightest stars today, showcasing their amazing talents; and it showed during the first 3 quarters of the game, including Howard and Cavaliers star LeBron James sharing eye-popping alley-oop passes to one another. But in the final 10 minutes of the game, the competition got stiffer, and the heat was on. The East led throughout the game, but the West clawed their way back. But the West fell short when James drove home with a jam over Nowitzki that not only drew tremendous applause from fans, players and coaches alike, but also served as the nail in the coffin for the game. And it’s just fitting that with the East’s victory over the West, the Cavs’ forward received the award as All-Star MVP, showing everyone that he was the star among stars that night.