Couch Vegas: The At-Home Guide to the NBA All-Star Game

by Ben Collins
Am I treading on Russ’ territory here? It’s not cheating if it’s different couches, right?


– Caron Butler is “the definition of happy.” I’m sure there’s a John Amaechi joke somewhere in there.

– It’s nice of McDonalds that they feel the need to remind the public that its employees aren’t subhuman, bloodsucking vampires who steal from the poor and eat the elderly’s glaucoma medication for fuel. They are, apparently, human beings. Who knew. I needed a commercial to reaffirm that for me.

– Roy is doing his best Dick Clark impression. I’ll let you guys make your own joke about this. I’m not going to touch this one with a ten-foot pole, which is the exact approach Roy should’ve taken with that tiger that sheared his face off.

– Donny Osmond and his four orphan brothers are singing the National Anthem. Is this a plug for a sitcom or something? It looks like Donny got some mouth-widening cosmetic surgery.

– That’s not Donny Osmond.

– I would not let Wayne Newton 20 feet within whatever daughter I may ever have. My God he’s ballooned, too. I think he’ll be providing aerial shots of the arena for TNT tonight.

– Speaking of TNT and cameras – good to see they hired my high school drama class’ tech crew to handle the festivities. If there was one group of guys I thought wouldn’t partake in the Vegas sideshow — the late nights and the strip clubs and the Bacardi and the cola and the more Bacardi — I would’ve guessed it’d be the guys running the board in the truck. It was handled like it was in a warzone.
– With all of these East players hurt, thank God for the dress code on a weekend like this. I can see Damon Jones in full kitty attire if there’s no rule in place. I’m talking actual kitty.

– Allen Iverson is dressed for the funeral of Dick Bavetta’s dignity.
– Oh my God, look at that East lineup. That’s it, I’m picking them to win. Dwight Howard MVP.

– Big Wayne Newton is clearly lipsyncing, too, which is the best part. Wait, he just broke the bow on his violin and he’s MIRACULOUSLY still hitting every note! WAYNE NEWTON IS JESUS CHRIST. Somebody replace all the hymnals with overdone showtunes!

– Announce the West starters please.


– Sorry guys, I just went out to the grocery store. I thought I just needed milk, but I got there and, BAM, something really pulled me in – decided to do a full food shopping! Then I changed over my bank account, took a nap and strolled home in some moonboots I bought on the way back. So have they announced the West starters yet? No? Oh, okay, gotcha.

– It’s a sad day in All-Star Game history when the best part of the pregame ceremonies is ‘O Canada.’ I want my All-Star game starting lineups to be backed by disgustingly raunchy, accidentally unedited rap music. This perennially was the best awkward TV watching moment with my parents when I was a kid, watching them scramble for the remote after the third f-bomb, right next to that time I accidentally went to an American Pie movie with my grandparents. They’re taking away staples of my childhood.

– It’s good to see that Tim Duncan is glad to be here. I’d say he looks hungover, but he always gives off the impression that he spent all last night chopping down trees and stayed up until 4 a.m. watching Lifetime movies.

First quarter:


– Eerily quiet start of the game as bookies are suring up the line on the “Estimated time T-Mac tweaks some part of his body and leaves the rest of the Rockets’ playoff push to Luther Head and Vassilis Spanoulis” (the line is at two minutes into the first) and pimps are making sure each hooker is at every concession stand by the end of the first TV timeout.

– The first half of the game is in such a lull that TNT already goes to the trade rumors. I’m a semi-Laker hater, but if they can get away with Magloire-for-Kidd-for-nothing, I’d love to see how that works with Kobe (and Pippen?). They should be trusted, too, because it’s David Aldridge. Of all of the NBA insider people, he’s rarely wrong and always seems to be the one with the best sources. He’s been let go by ESPN and the Philly Enquirer twice to make room for Stephen A. Smith. He’s beating out Stephen Jackson in the race to become the most frequently unjustly fired thing in America.

– Dwight Howard watches as Dwyane Wade put home a lob pass and now he wants in. He’s decided that he’s going to show the dunk he was going to use in the second round last night, which includes him teabagging the shotclock while he finishes an alleyoop.

– Shawn Marion just layed-in an alley-oop after missing a dunk earlier. He’s either more hungover than most of the on-site SLAM staff or he’s doing some really postmodern art exhibit about the life of a WNBA player.

– Dwight Howard makes loud noises.

– Vince Carter has decided to break out the 22-year-old knees tonight. I didn’t even know they were in the closet anymore. Vicious dunk. Thank God he was on the panel for the dunk contest last night, though, right? Especially considering they took Tyrus Thomas seriously and everything.

– Memo and his half-amish goatee enter. Man, I want that. No, I really want that.

Second quarter:

– Woah, that got out of hand pretty quickly. 48-33, West.

– Shaq finally solidified a glorious 1-of-5 from the field with a dunk. He lands and pulls a Barkley-Bavetta/John Amaechi-Some British guy and kisses T-Mac. Somebody get all of the prescription medication out of Tim Hardaway’s studio apartment.

– Kobe Bryant makes me feel like a failure. That up-and-under made me hurt.

– I can’t wait for this Christina Ricci white slavery movie. They’ve found a way to make the White Roots – and it’s a comedy! Even better, Sam Jackson, I guess, throws away any script that doesn’t have the word “Snake” in the title.

– Las Vegas: The only place in the world where Craig Sager looks like a person.

– It’s hard out here for Oscar B. Goodman.

– Dave Chapelle is still alive. I was watching That Thing You Do the other night (please please please don’t ask questions) and I was begging 1996 Liv Tyler reconsider her career choice. She’s talented, she thinks she’s been in the limelight too long but all she needs to do is get over the fame hump. But, no, she stops at the hump. That’s what Dave Chapelle is doing. Now he’s a half-frame cutaway at the 2007 All-Star Game after becoming THE race defying celebrity of this decade.

– Off soapbox.

– If the USDA wants a decent Anti-Steroid commercial ala the Truth ads, they should just show a picture Carrot Top with his shirt off for 30 seconds. For the one-millionth time in your life, Carrot Top, you’ve gone way, way too far.

– Is that Barry Bonds or one of those gel light things that you buy at raves and fireworks?

– Toni Braxton is probably my Mom’s age. Toni Braxton is probably my Mom’s age. Toni Braxton is probably my Mom’s age. Keep reminding yourself of that.

– This should be Mary J. Blige. I’m not a big Mary J. Blige guy (I’m completely neutral towards her actually), but this is the NBA’s Bread and Butter. Mary J. Blige at an NBA event is as ceasefail as Springsteen in anything Jersey.

– This T-Mobile Five thing better catch on or watching replays of this on ESPN Classic in a few years is going to date the hell out of me.

– Who would’ve thought seven years ago, when Christina Aguilera was getting all trampy and pretending like she grew up in South Central, that out of Britney and Christina, the latter would be the sane one with hair still on her head. Anyone?

– I forgot about the Three J’s and Toni Braxton! Best NBA story to tell at a party of people who don’t care about the NBA. I guess Jamal Mashburn denies it now, but who isn’t going to deny being tri-rejected by a pop star as a team?

Third Quarter:

– Kobe wants it, which is great because no one else does. He’s playing like David Lee in that Rookie-Sophomore game, or, in simpler terms, too damn hard. Slow down, son, it’s a blowout.

– Three straight turnovers. Three straight dunks in forty seconds. 30-point lead. I used to cover Division-3 girls high school basketball. It was more compelling than this.

– I’m so bored I’m ordering takeout. Oh God, this weekend has turned me into Charles Barkley.

– Ray Allen is getting too comfortable in these All-Star games. He’d much rather be in a Spike Lee movie right now. I’d much rather be watching a Spike Lee movie right now.

– Dirk is the MVP and it will never show in a game like this. As I typed that sentence, he hit a three. I’m going to type it again to test my omniscience. Dirk is the MVP and it will never show in a game like this

– Nothing. 119-88 end of the third.

Fourth Quarter:

– There’s a Man Vs. Wild marathon on right now on the Discovery Channel. This is so tempting. This guy was stuck in the desert one week and peed on a rag and wrapped it around his head to stay cool. He scaled a waterfall! That Joe Johnson three is keeping me from changing the station.

– Bad decision.

– Eddie Jordan doesn’t know if he belongs here. We’re not sure he does either.

– LET’S GO TAKE-OUT! (Boom boom boomboomboom.)

– Uh oh, Carmelo just dunked in a 25-point game with 1:49 left. I hope Isiah is here somewhere. DON’T GO IN THE PAINT!

– I love how this game ends. Kobe, who was clearly shutting out Amare at the end to make sure he won the MVP, tosses him the ball for a corner three for the West’s final shot, as if to show he was doing it all along. He had to have learned that from Gilbert. Had to.