Celebrity Game Recap
Get ya popcorn ready.
While most of the SLAM crew was inside the arena last night for the Rookie Game, our newest contributor checked out the action at the Convention Center/Jam Session, starting with the Celebrity Game…
by Joseph Vecsey
This year’s celebrity All-Star Game was more entertaining than usual, with the outcome in doubt until the last minute of the 32-minute game, when the East Sunrisers finished off a 60-57 win over the West Sunsetters.
Hall of famers Clyde Drexel and Dominique Wilkins joined stars on the court like actor/comedian Chris Tucker (Rush Hour 3), James Denton (Desperate Housewives), Zach Levi (Chuck), Michael Rapaport (Prison Break; dude used to be a SLAM favorite but he might be headed to prison himself after some of the ridiculous fouls he committed last night), Lisa Leslie (L.A. Sparks) and Donald Faison (Scrubs), while true NBA legends Julius Erving and Magic Johnson coached against each other. There were also players from the Harlem Globetrotters taking part, which definitely made the game move faster and avoided monotonous sloppy basketball filled with massive amounts of turnovers. “Wildkat” Edgerson, “Special K” Daley, “Scooter” Christensen, and “Handles” Franklin all put on a great show and made the celebs that played against them look bad and the ones they played with look better. Handles and Special K were the crowd pleasers of the contest by displaying all their creative passes, dribbling, dunks, and Globetrotter comedy and gags. Watching Tucker in any forum or environment is entertaining, so even though he’s not the best player on the court, he has quite the stage presence. Faison was arguably the most impressive celebrity out there. He was hitting threes, hitting the open man, and playing hard defense. Usually, most of the celebs that come out to these kinds of events don’t know the game, but Faison looked pretty solid.
It was cool to watch Clyde and Nique out there playing and breaking a sweat. Neither one was playing that hard, but it’s always cool to watch two legends take the floor again in person. Even though Dominique wasn’t running that hard, he did get up pretty high and grab the rim at one point. More recently retired NBA players Rick Fox and local hero and bar owner Dan Majerle also suited up to play. Both proved they could still hit shots, even if a little out of shape. Majerle sunk a few tray balls from deep with defenders right in his face, plus stuck in a few lefties that seemed like circus shots. Fox chipped in with some passes and points too, but seemed to be having more fun interacting with fans and dancing with “Handles,” who was doing his famous shimmy shoulder dance every time he finished making a spectacular play.
Game MVP Terrell Owens (17 points) obviously played exceptionally well, but I don’t really count him with the other celebrities because he’s a legitimate ball player. He hit some NBA-range threes and caught a few dunks that made you forget he was a football player for a moment, let alone one that is now 35 years old. The best highlight of the night was Wilkens throwing him an alley hoop from three for a monster two-handed dunk. And, based on Lang’s party recap, the game didn’t even tire TO out.
ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen suited up to referee the game and did a pretty good job. It was more impressive to see that he was in shape than making good calls.
One of the most memorable parts of the night took place at halftime, when the Globetrotters did their Magic Circle with “Sweet Georgia Brown” playing in the background. Legendary showmen Curly Neal participated as well.
Overall, it was a good game to watch, and if you’re ever interested and seeing these celebrities play again, you can catch most of them at the Entertainer’s League on Sundays throughout the year in Santa Monica, CA. The only celebrity that was missing who’s a regular in the E-League was Kenny Johnson from Saving Grace and the classic FX series, The Shield. Hopefully, he’ll be playing in Dallas in 2010.