by Lang Whitaker

Please allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is Lang, and I’m going to be your host tonight. We’re here, a few rows behind the basket, watching the guys get warmed up. Check the All-Star 2008 category page to see what’s up with everything else. We ready…get your comments going. Russ, curb your enthusiasm.

• Aiight, we just ate a hearty Mexican dinner in the middle of the Superdome — for some reason the media food stuff is in the Superdome, across the street from the New Orleans Arena. And for some reason they served Mexican for dinner, you know, since we’re in Louisiana and all.

• They’re showing a video of Chris Rock talking about the NBA on the scoreboard, with subtitles on the bottom. They had subtitles running all last night, too, but it wasn’t really helpful until Dikemebe was on the mic.

• Harry Connick and Branford Marsalis are on the floor, talking about the “unique culture” and “unbelievable food.” They’re wearing amazing suits — like game show hosts.

• Holy crap — the Rebirth Brass Band is playing in what appears to be a hastily assembled whorehouse in the corner of the arena. They have a guy named Trombone Shorty in the band — I thought he was in Dip Set.

• The Eastern Conference All-Stars just emerged from the fake building. I’m sure none of these guys went to a who…never mind. Rasheed is dancing his butt off up there.

• This is actually pretty cool. It’s a really impressive set — maybe 40 feet high. Dwyane Wade is making like a drum major in here. So is Dwight. I wonder how Shaq likes hearing Dwight referred to as Superman?

• Trombone Shorty is in the house. I’d like to be referred to as Trombone Shorty from now on, please. All of us in the press section are tapping our toes. You can tell the people from ESPN.com because they’re the ones not able to keep the beat.

• The Western Conference team emerges from the house of ill-repute. Byron Scott gets a rousing ovation! He crosses his arms and purses his lips. Dirk Nowitzki looks like he wants the floor to open and swallow him whole.

• Western starters are here. Iverson, Kobe and Yao all appear to be less-than excited to be there. Only Carmelo gives the camera a little bit of a smirk.

• The All-Stars take the court and it’s time for the National Anthems. Whoever made the comment below, this place really was rocking during all that. I hate to use the “f” word, but that was fun. Deborah Cox is singing the Canadian National Anthem at a glacial pace. So much for this place rocking. Branford and a collection of New Orleanians play the US anthem.

• We got Jones and Bengtson in the comments already. This could be a historic night. Russ, you’re right about it looking like the Muppet Show..Khalid and Sam are the two old men in the balcony box making snide comments.

• Chris Paul and David West welcome the crowd and the PA system begins pumping out “Start Me Up.” Yes, this is the NBA we all know and love. The NBA definitely knows how to make a grown man cry.

• These uniforms are super confusing. White, gold and blue in various incarnations. One’s white in the front, one’s white in the back. There may actually be three teams out there. Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade have two dunks to make it 4-0.

• Melo’s wearing the Jordan XXIIIs, as is Chris Paul. Kobe’s wearing red handkerchiefs as shoes.

• Celeb watch: Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Chris Tucker, Terrell Owens, David Robinson, Dominique Wilkins (with Ludacris), Jimmy Jam, Karl Malone…

• Dwight Howard goes to the free throw line and someone yells out “SUPERMAN!” How long until someone yells “SUPERMAN DAT HO”?

• Bron gets a big dunk, the D-Wade gets a run-out. All the guys on the East are so excited to be playing with good teammates that they can’t contain it. They’re up 14-7. Byron Scott better bring in Eddie Jordan to fix the West team.

• Everyone’s on the West is wearing red socks. I think Stephen Jackson picked the color.

• Up 18-7 with 6 to go in the first, Doc Rivers subs in all the Pistons to make sure the East doesn’t run away this this thing.

• Timeout. A cameraman from the NBA just ran over here and started filming us. I HATE THE NFL. BASEBALL IS FULL OF CHEATERS. THE NBA IS THE GREATEST LEAGUE EVER. Just in case that was in HD.

• Sure enough, the Pistons come in and the West makes it 18-14. Rasheed gets called for a foul and I mention that I hope he gets a T. Sam says he should get two Ts and go away on vacation.

• AI picks his second steal and nearly throws it into the stands, but Amare still almost bangs it. I think Rasheed has his jersey tucked into his jock strap. Also he’s playing with the straps hanging off his AF1s.

• Why does David West get to have his last name on the back of his warm-up jacket?

• The Hornets elderly dance team takes the floor and does an umbrella dance. Not ella, ella, ella, but something using umbrellas…and then they whip their shirts off — not kidding. Thank goodness they have on t-shirts; my mexican food hasn’t settled yet. Hornets assistant Darnell Walker is really into this performance, and Caron Butler also applauds. Pervs.

• Pierce uses Dirk for two, makes it 28-19, East. The West is finally starting to show a little life, but Rasheed is hustling to loose balls, playing help defense…I’m voting for him for MVP no matter what, so that he can give an acceptance speech on national TV and terrify a censor somewhere in the TNT truck.

• And Rasheed gets his second foul. Why won’t Doc Rivers let Joe Johnson play? Hater.

• 34-28, East, after one.

• Prime Time is in the house! Deion! They interview him on the scoreboard and he says the food is exceptional and the police force has been “outstanding.” I love Deion.

• They show Archie Manning on the scoreboard and Sam stands and applauds, then sits down and says, “Man that guy has some good sperm.” I feel sick.

• Brandon Roy checks in and scores four straight points. Joe Johnson is in, finally. Chris Paul drives right around Jason Kidd and scores. Mark Cuban probably didn’t like seeing that.

• The Honeybees are in the house. Insert joke with “honeycomb” as the punchline here.

• 8:52 to go in the second, East up 46-39. The Honeybees perform but Darnell Walker and Caron Butler don’t seem to care. Pervs. I wish the Honeybees were in the mixed zone after the game.

• Bob Love, Bob Pettit and Willis Reed, all Louisiana natives, are introduced to an ovation. I cheer for Pettit even though I’ve never seen him play because the last time the Hawks won a title was when Pettit was on the team.

• Chris Paul drains a three over Kidd, then Kidd fires up an airball. Mark Cuban is busy deleting Rod Thorn’s number from his Blackberry.

• Ben wonders aloud how many guys have been All-Stars in one conference, then the other, then back in their original conference? I start trying to think of an answer but get confused when Dwight Howard and LeBron James get back to back to back jams. Superman!

• CP3 for three, then Bron for 3. We got a game on our hands. 62-53, East, 5 to go in the second.

• Alyssa Milano is on the scoreboard and asked to describe some of the work she did this weekend. She mentions Brad Penny and Carl Pavano. I don’t know how old she is but she looks great. Sam points out that she played Ah-nold’s daughter in “Commando.” I think that’s the halftime show.

• Out of the timeout, all ten players stand at halfcourt waiting for the game to begin, and Amare comes out in his warm-ups and gives the West a pep talk. Forget Byron Scott.

• AI replaces CP3, who has has 7 points and 6 assists in 9 minutes. Jason Kidd’s gonna have nightmares about CP3 tonight. LeBron has 12, 6 and 7.

• Sheed fires up a lefty three pointer! Misses but still. And what’s up with D-Wade? The man appears to have lost a step.

• 64-57 East, 2:39 in the half. The trampoline dunkers come out and perform two intricate dunk routines, only to miss the final dunk both times. yao is really into it — I’m looking for Gilbert to run out and dunk one but don’t see him around.

• There’s a halftime show coming up involving “New Orleans’ finest musicians.” If Li’l Weezy isn’t out there I’m leaving.

• Sam points out Kobe’s played two minutes in the game. Too bad Baron Davis couldn’t have come and actually, you know, played in the game.

• Sheed fires another lefty three and nails it. MVP!

• Halftime, 74-65, East. Talk it out.

• Back. Missed the halftime extravaganza. Ben has a great comment he’s going to post in a second. I saw Jet Li and Dominique Wilkins under the stands at half. A security guard shook his hand and said, “Hi, Jet Li.” I wish she’d called him just Jet.

• Khalid and I also saw Gabrielle Union down there taking a picture with a fan. We made sure you can see us smiling in the background. If whoever took that picture reads this, please email it to us.

• Halftime stats: Bron with 12, 6 and 7. Sheed with 3 and 5, including a lefty three. Brandon Roy has 11 and 5, and CP3 has 7 and 6. I guess CP has the inside track on MVP?

• BTW, at lunch today, DJ Toney Blare informed us that Dr. John had part of his finger shot off. Dope. And just so you guys know, Branford Marsalis is a SLAM subscriber. I’m guessing Harry Connick isn’t.

• I can’t keep up with the comments while I’m writing this but thanks for everyone who’s contributing.

• Love D-Wade doing the MJ wrist-slap reverse.

• Allen Iverson goes right around Kidd for a two. All these West guards must be salivating at the Mavs losing Devin Harris.

• Um, Kobe is out. He’s not on the floor, not on the bench, either. Team player.

• Dwight dunks as easily as I walk. And that’s not as easy as it sounds.

• I just wondered aloud what would if happen if the entire SLAM crew jumped Jet Li after the game. Khalid says we’d get our backs broken. I think he’s right.

• 91-77, East, at least while the East guys who play on bad teams are all in. Now D-West and Boozer are in, so maybe the West will show a little life. Nash has 4 and 4 in 15 minutes. I’m pretty sure a Suns fan will accuse me of hating Nash because I pointed out the facts.

• Paul Pierce is guarding Nash and vice-versa. CP3 freaks some dudes and hits Melo for a dunk.

• Rasheed is only taking threes — 4 of them on the game, 3 of them lefty.

• 98-87 with 4:34 to go in the third. Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce try to run a two-man game but JJ throws it away — he’s not used to playing with a jump shooter.

• According to SI.com, the Kidd deal is back on. That would be dope if Kidd switched teams right now. He wouldn’t even change jerseys because they’re all the same, I think.

• Byron takes a 20 with the West down 11, 104-93. Rebirth Brass Band comes back out just as the 20 second horn ends. This is going to be the longest 20 in history. Trombone Shorty is going to take over the Western Conference coaching duties, I think.

• If I get another dog I’m gonna name it Trombone Shorty.

• Alonzo Mourning is introduced on the scoreboard to great indifference.

• Chris Paul changed into his new signature Jordans at the half. Carlos Boozer is wearing shoes made from gold wrapping paper, I think.

• End of three, 106-93. Is the West going to make a run? No, because Byron Scott is the coach. KG and Karl Malone appear outside the House of Ill Repute. KG thanks the people of New Orleans for hosting us. Karl Malone is wearing a bowling shirt. I didn’t understand anything he said.

• Sam and Khalid want to make a commercial about the pregame meal with phrases like, “Where hair in the nachos happens.”

• A Mardi Gras parade just ran onto the court. The Honeybees do not show us their…

• Kobe’s back on the bench with a glove on his right hand. Mama se mama sa mamacu sa.

• For CP3 to get the MVP, they’ve gotta win, especially with Bron nearing a triple double. CP throws an amazing bounce pass to Carlos Boozer that he manages to trun into a turnover. CP rips Rip, then STAT pounds one on Dwight. You never get dunked on, Dwight?

• CP3 to Boozer for a dunk, and then Duncan comes in for Boozer. West has cut it to 5, 108-103. The crowd’s starting to get into it.

• Timeout on the floor, and Nash is the first out to congratulate CP. They announce a New Orleans “hometown hip-hop crew.” Who is it — Cash Money? No Limit? No, a bunch of 8 year olds.

• I still think the SLAM crew could take Jet Li. Khalid says he’s not sure, but he’s going last.

• Amare tomahawks one off a great dish from Duncan, then Bron hits a three to make it 110-103.

• CP takes the ball from Chris Bosh and gets it to B-Roy for a lay-in. Jason Kidd returns to get burned over and over by CP3.

• Actually, Kidd is on Dirk, who scores easily. Then Duncan gets the most fundamental jumper in history to give the West a two point lead, 114-112.

• Timeout with 5:34 to go. Taylor Hicks is introduced and he appears to be about 70 years old. Bob Pettit looks like a teenager compared to Taylor Hicks. They show a great video clip of NBA players being asked what a po boy is. Yao Ming suggests a po boy “is a troublemaker.” From the bench, Yao cracks up at himself.

• The West comes out with CP3, B-Roy, Duncan, Dirk and Amare. The East has Wade, Kidd, Howard, Jesus Shuttlesworth and Bron. Let’s see if Bron steps it up. As I type that he wipes CP3, then Duncan gets him back.

• Dwight gets a layup to tie it up, 114. Dirk shoots an airball from the top of the key. Bron gets a two to put the East up two, then Dirk dunks on Khalid’s hate to tie it at 116. LeBron leaps over Jet Li — if we have a fight with Jet Li, Bron’s on the SLAM team.

• Amare gets an and one and misses the shot. Kobe screams Hee-hee!

• Ray Allen wets a three to put the East up 119-118, and then CP hits a long jumper, then hits B-Roy for a layup. West is up 122-119. The entire West bench is up cheering. Allen hits a three to tie it at 122. Turning into a great game.

• Jesus, Jesus! Ray Allen puts the East up 125-122. Both benches are up and at ‘em. Ray Allen is 9-of-12. 1:49 to go.

• They play a Beyonce song during the timeout. I don’t know which song it is but it’s one where she sings hysterically and wildly. Aretha Franklin could eat Beyonce in two bites.

• Here we go. The West run a nice play to get CP a jumper but Wade breaks it up. CP3 wets a three to tie it at 125. Ray Allen turns into Ray Allen again. Dirk turns it over and LeBron nearly rips the basket down. HE DRINKS YOUR MILKSHAKE!!!

• 127-125, and then Dwyane Wade gets an and-one to put the East up 4.

• Dirk gets capped by D-Wade, and Khalid screams, “I hate Dirk!” B-Roy hits a three to make it 131-128, East, 7 seconds left. Ray Allen gets fouled.

• Byron Scott has been replaced by a wax figure. The East throws it in and the West throws in the towel…but then CP fouls Ray Allen. Final score, 134-128.

• What did we learn tonight? LeBron is the best player in the NBA today. Jason Kidd is barely a speed bump to Chris Paul. Dominique walks around with a bluetooth earpiece in. Ray Allen has some juice left. And Byron Scott played Dirk Noqitzki a ton of minutes — trying to tire him out?

Finally, we learned that I’m tired. Time to hit the tables.