NBA All-Star 2011: Where Amazing Happened


by Candice Wiggins | @candicewiggins

Ever since I last went in 2000, I’ve been meaning to go back to Disneyland. But as it turns out, NBA All-Star in L.A. was like visiting my favorite childhood landmark. The happiest place on earth, indeed, and the highlights of the trip can’t even compare to being there in living color. Much love and big shout out to the NBA and WNBA…

NBA Cares Community Caravan
The NBA truly does care about the community, and I witnessed that first-hand in the NBA Cares Community Caravan. Such a dope experience, on the first day of All-Star we went to South Park Elementary School and I got to read Where the Wild Things Are with the legendary Darryl Dawkins, who provided hilarious commentary. After that we all went to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and did arts and crafts projects. Met this little guy who is the true definition of a survivor, in addition to being the biggest Lakers fan (along with his dad!). His smile lit up the whole room when he met Norm Nixon!

Coaching the Wheelchair All-Star Game with AC Green was probably the highlight of my experience. AC and I were the coaches of the West team, and Katie Smith and Darryl Dawkins were the coaches of the East team. It became competitive pretty quickly because the East beat the West the first day….and we were in L.A.!! I feel like the home team always has to win. Anyway, the West team won the next day when it mattered, and thus all the guys that competed were winners! Each individual person I met had a really unique story that has totally inspired me and has given me a new appreciation for the game of basketball.

National Basketball Players Association Gala
Nicki Minaj, Ice Cube, and Rick Ross all performed and all killed it! My favorite being Ice Cube….he totally represented for all of us on the West Coast. “Hello….”

Slam Dunk Contest
I posted the only comment I had after watching the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest in person on Twitter: “The Blake Griffin dunk..…#anticlimactic?”

The definition of anticlimactic: “a disappointing end to an exciting or impressive series of events.”

They brought out a gospel choir singing “I Believe I Can Fly” and they drove an actual car onto the court, and then he dunked over the front of the car. After all that…I thought the dunk was just #anticlimactic.

However, I LOOOVED seeing former WNBA baller Pamela McGee walk onto the court with her secret service crew to help her son JaVale McGee! (who I voted for to win, btw).  That was definitely a great moment in the basketball world.

12th Annual NBA Legends Brunch
Former New York Liberty star Kym Hampton was in the building singing her heart out at the Legends Brunch. I was moved to tears when Lisa Leslie gave her speech after receiving the Leadership Award, she’s done SO much for the women’s game! Along with Lisa, James Worthy, Bill Walton, and Magic Johnson were also honored. I got to experience first hand what it truly means to be “legendary” in the NBA and WNBA. A fantastic way to end All Star!! Shaq was also in the building and it was like wherever he went, a crowd of 60 people followed.

T-Mobile Magenta Carpet
How dope of the NBA to make a “Magenta” carpet! Only in L.A…I got to represent the fabulous ladies of the WNBA on the T-Mobile Magenta Carpet and it was incredible! The stars definitely lined up that night! Spotted Run DMC, Ciara, and Nick Cannon among others…

It was like Disneyland for the inner-baller that’s inside all of us. And the most exciting part of All-Star Weekend was knowing that on June 3rd I’ll be back at Staples Center, playing in the opening game of this upcoming WNBA season! My team, the Minnesota Lynx vs. the Los Angeles Sparks….better see you there! ☺