Yesterday, the Chris Paul All-Star Classic took place in North Carolina. My plan was to write a zany! live blog, full of wit and puns and whimsicality. And, really, it started well enough before I ran into one huge problem.
Here's as far as I got:
Black team: Chalmers, T. Thompson, J. Selby, R. Gay, K. Irving, D. Wade, L. James
White team: S. Curry, E. Smith, J. Wall, C. Anthony, K. Durant, J. Howard, C. Paul
And we're off!
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This could very well be the worst game of basketball I've ever seen.
Don't get me wrong. I send major kudos, mostly green M&M flavored, to Chris Paul for organizing an event that benefited charity, shone a spotlight on his hometown community, and attempted to keep basketball fans connected in these desperate, lockout-ridden days. I mean that sincerely.
But the basketball being "played" here was quite literally unwatchable. Some will have just seen John Wall's off the wall to himself dunk or LeBron's dunk highlights and concluded that, at the very least, this was a highlights fest - a parade of supremely gifted athletes flying around, gracing us with their presence, and sticking it to David Stern as he droned on about basketball related income splits a few thousand miles away.
Unfortunately, the quality of basketball was absolutely awful. I'm only exaggerating a little bit in saying that if you removed the opening jump ball, it would have been difficult to tell when warmups ended and play began. The game started with two wild chucks at the hoop from deep, players soon dribbling off their own feet, and by the third quarter, it was rare to see more than two players back on defense. Some of my tweets from the first half:
There was a moderately entertaining sequence in the third quarter when Paul and Dwyane Wade iso'd each other for four straight possessions to shoot threes (Paul made four straight to beat Wade), but that was a rare, isolated bit of play. Most of the game resembled a half-assed dunk contest* being staged around a bunch of random dudes who happened to be in the way, crossed with the most depressing three point contest ever, also being staged around the same bunch of dudes who happened to be in the way.
*Two or three ridiculous moments, no doubt, but even off-the-backboard self alley-oop reverses stop registering when you get seventeen or so in succession.
At the end of the day, I'll admit that I was quite foolish indeed for expecting this to resemble real basketball, or even real streetball. Nobody cared about the game itself, and honestly, they had no reason to. It was ultimately a great event from the CP3 Foundation for a great cause, but real basketball is, ostensibly, still well out of our reach for now.