Slamadamonth, SLAM #109: Trevor Ariza
March 30, 2007: The Orlando forward rises over Jermaine O’Neal.
In a desperate bid to save the Eastern Conference from complete irrelevancy, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced yesterday that normal five-on-five fullcourt games would no longer be taking place for the remainder of the regular season.
“Look how many Eastern teams have lost significant players to injury so far,” Stern said. “The East is bad enough as it is—we can’t afford to have guys like Dwyane Wade and Wally Szczerbiak missing so much time. It’s time to stop all the running.”
The program kicked off in Orlando, as the Magic and Pacers squared off in the League’s first-ever two-on-three halfcourt game. The teams switched baskets at the half to make it fair for all fans in attendance, and the Magic wore their away throwback jerseys at home just to confuse everybody further. The team with the worse record got the extra player. It’s too early to tell whether this radical move can save the East, but at least the players were willing to play along.
“That was the dumbest game I’ve ever played in my life,” Jermaine O’Neal said afterward. “Do you actually think I’d let Trevor Ariza dunk on me in a real game?”