The NBA All-Star Game will most likely return to N.Y. in ’15, as NBA Commissioner David Stern said that both MSG and the Barclays Center “have applied to host" the game, according to Howard Beck of the N.Y. TIMES. No other cities are “currently under consideration, making it a near certainty that New York will host the game.” But there are “some caveats.” The league “needs to determine the availability of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, for example, and whether it can secure the required number of hotel rooms.” The league also “needs the approval and support of the city.” There is “no timeline for making the decision, but an announcement usually comes about 12 to 18 months before the game” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/17). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy noted with the Knicks and Nets both putting in bids to host the game, it sets up "a showdown that the commissioner is glad he won’t have to oversee.” A source said that a “deal could be struck where one team hosts the 2015 game and the other gets the bid for 2016” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/17). Meanwhile, in Toronto, Doug Smith cited sources as saying that MLSE and the Raptors “have already begun the process of submitting an official bid to host the 2016 all-star game to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise.” Sources said that there have been “no other expressions of interest yet in the 2016 event” (TORONTO STAR, 2/17).
GETTING DUNKED: SI.com's Ben Golliver wrote the NBA Slam Dunk Contest was "on the precipice of disaster ... before a solidly entertaining final-round showdown between eventual champion Raptors G Terrence Ross and defending champion Jazz F Jeremy Evans saved the night" (SI.com, 2/17). In Toronto, Doug Smith noted Ross won with a "memorable championship round performance" when on his final dunk he jumped over the son of Twitter CEO Dick Costolo "on his way to the rim." The earlier rounds were "marked by attempts at spectacular tries that could not be completed" (TORONTO STAR, 2/17). The TORONTO STAR's Smith also noted Ross wore former Raptors F Vince Carter's "old-style black-and-purple jersey for his first dunk of the final." He said that his agent "thought up the possibility of using a human prop and the Carter jersey dunk was just a way to pay tribute to the Raptors' past." But Smith wrote when the NBA looks back on this year's event "might want to rebrand this one the NBA Missed Dunk contest" (TORONTO STAR, 2/17). TNT’s Ernie Johnson prior to this year's Slam Dunk contest asked, “Are there too many props now?” TNT’s Steve Kerr said, “I think there are, and I think this is one of the reasons why a guy like LeBron doesn’t want to do it.” Kerr added that how the contest has unfolded over the past 20 years, “Everything’s been done from every kind of crazy dunk to cars and props and LeBron’s probably sitting there like, ‘I don’t even know what I would do out there’” (“Open Court,” NBA TV, 2/16).
TWITTER USERS LEFT WANTING MORE: The lack of excitement over the majority of the Slam Dunk Contest drew several responses on Twitter Saturday night. The AP’s Tom Withers wrote, “Watching highlights of the slam dunk contest was cool. Watching event live was excruciating. #allstar.” Horrow Sports Ventures Exec Dir Brian Finkel: “The NBA should just scrap the Slam Dunk Contest in exchange for a second All-Star Game.” Yahoo Sports’ Kelly Dwyer: “The NBA's latest money grab cost us a good Dunk contest. By using new, ASW-logo balls that were hard to grip. Stupid.” CBS Sports’ Will Brinson: “If you're trying to feel better about the dunk contest, Back to the Future III is on HBO now. Basically the same thing.” Sporting News’ Sean Deveney: “This dunk contest is now LITERALLY watching paint dry!” Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan wrote, “Nick Cannon and Rick Fox as sideline reporters might be the only thing worse than Jeremy Evans and Terrence Ross and dunk contest finalists.” Newsday’s Al Iannazzone wrote, “Dear future commissioner Adam Silver. Please fix the dunk contest. It's getting more and more unwatchable.” Wall Street Journal’s Jason Gay: “Hoping for another iconic dunk contest like hoping for another iconic Stones record. Just be glad you were around for the good stuff.” N.Y. Times’s Nicki Jhabvala: “Annnnnd the Dunk Contest has hit rock bottom."
EMBRACING THE WORLD: Several changes to the All-Star Weekend were discussed prior to the festivities on Satuday. TNT’s Charles Barkley said, “Basketball has become such an international game, I think they should change the rules and have the United States against the world. I think there are enough great European players now, it would be a very competitive game.” TNT’s Kenny Smith said a U.S. vs. the World game “would be cool to do one year because the pool is bigger with American players that the same European players would have the opportunity to play every year.” Smith added it would be “cool to do for one year and actually do the game out of the country” ("Open Court," NBA TV, 2/16). The AP’s Brian Mahoney wrote it will be up to Silver “to continue to grow All-Star weekend when he takes over.” Silver said, "We've discussed playing internationally All-Star games, I'm not sure if it will work logistically, but it's something we'll continue to study. We've looked at other neutral cities. We've looked at refreshing All-Star Saturday night and other innovative events for the weekend, and I think we'll continue to do that" (AP, 2/17).