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Caught in the Web: NBA All-Star weekend uninspiring so far


As if the NBA All-Star weekend didn't already leave a sour taste, what with these talks regarding a new collective-bargaining agreement not starting off great, the competition itself did very little to provide any excitement.

Obviously we're focusing more on the dunk contest than Friday's rookie challenge, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Boston's Rajon Rondo prolonged a game of H-O-R-S-E that almost ate into TNT's schedule, followed by a skills challenge and three-point shooting contest. The main event -- the dunk-off -- ended the night with a dud, most notably for Lakers fans, who expected theatrics from Shannon Brown. Instead, they witnessed dunks that would barely draw a pulse in an actual game, let alone a dunk contest.'s Steve Aschburner described Brown's performance as "disappointingly ordinary." ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin compared it to the "Seinfeld" finale, the only time it's bad to be spoken about in the same breath as NBC's No. 1 sitcom in the 1990s. No one really gave the dunk contest the old Roger Ebert "Two Thumbs up," as Ball Don't Lie's J.E. Skeets grudgingly ranked last night's dunks, arguing the 2010 contest was among one of the worst in league history. Sports Illustrated's Frank Hughes said if it wasn't for Nate Robinson's alley-oop off the backboard that ultimately secured a third consecutive title, the contest would've been a total disaster. Instead it was just a disaster, period. And ESPN's John Hollinger pointed to the root of the problem: "If the biggest star you can get to participate is Gerald Wallace, it might be time to either up the prize money or rethink the contest." After all, Fox Sports shows through a photo gallery that there was a time when big-name stars participated in the dunk competition.

Some may think the main event -- tonight's All-Star game itself -- will save the day. Try telling that to Lakers fans, who may be happy Kobe Bryant is sitting out to rest his sprained left ankle, but have little reason to watch beyond seeing if any other All-Stars give Pau Gasol touches.

Even if Bryant was in the game, The Times' Mark Heisler rightfully noted that All-Star weekend has very little to do with tonight's game and more to do with sponsors, parties, parties and more parties.

And on that note, hopefully I didn't shoo away all potential visitors to the All-Star game live chat. In that case, this game is VERY VERY IMPORTANT.

More Lakers links (after the jump)

-- As the trade deadline Thursday approaches, Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears says the Lakers are trying to shed some of their payroll by getting reserve forward Luke Walton and reserve guard Sasha Vujacic off the books. That same report indicates the Lakers had tried talking to Portland about a trade, but didn't specify who they were trying to land.

-- The Riverside Press-Enterprise's Greg Patton argues that the team's played so well without Bryant and center Andrew Bynum that there's no need to make any moves before the Feb. 18 deadline. Writes Patton: "Additions? They'll be adding Bryant and Bynum from their inactive list."

-- The Times' Mark Heisler also has his weekly rankings and midseason awards. Both lists have one thing in common -- the Cavaliers are above the Lakers in a few categories.

-- If there is at least one cool thing that came out of All-Star weekend, it was that Lakers forward Pau Gasol got to hang out with his brother, Marc Gasol, of the Memphis Grizzlies y habla espanol (wish the blog had accent keys).

-- Add this to the "Are Kobe and Pau dissing each other?" category. Bryant's crystal ball says Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki will win this year's All-Star MVP. In reality, part of Bryant's assessment really had to do with the fact that the All-Star game is in Dallas.

-- As for the hometown hero himself, Nowitzki told the Dallas Morning News' Brad Townsend that there was one huge reason why the weekend feels like sort of a downer: "Actually, it's kind of disappointing because some of my guys who came in from Germany wanted to see Kobe play."

Tweet of the Day: "I break Twitter silence to recognize Nate Robinson as the first 3-time dunk champion. Whoop dee doo." -- SI_IanThomsen (Sports Illustrated NBA writer Ian Thomsen).

-- Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at

Photo: Kobe and Vanessa Bryant enjoy Saturday night's All-Star festivities in Dallas. Credit: Ron T. Ennis / MCT.

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And on that note, hopefully I didn't shoo away all potential visitors to the All-Star game live chat. In that case, this game is VERY VERY IMPORTANT.
Posted by Mark Medina

LOL, good save Mr Mark!

Indeed, it's really disappointing to be a Shannon fan at the slam dunk contest, ill advised and "unprepared" perhaps nervous in front of peers watching him. If he jumped straight-up as high as he could and slummed it, I think he could have gained points, what he did was changed repertoire while in the air without any flair or creativity. It is so parochial and ordinary the grandma of late Chick could do that slam-salami.

Whoever was advising him got it wrong and those who put up with the dunking contest website were grossly disappointed. In terms of PR and commercial promotions too, Shannon just lost about 10M for being so lame and ordinary. The opportunity to stardom was there and he blew it big time! It would take two Laker Shampionship to regain fame and fortune. Well, his simple background in Michigan, Cavaliers and Bobcats as a non-nonsensical player is still in his system, if he were an actor, he is not ready for the Oscars.

On the other hand, I still prefer him than Farmar and aging Fisher in the guard position. I still hope Mitch will not abandon the search for the PG of the future.

Chic - Thanks for the link. I posted that story though in the 3rd paragraph in the that reads, "ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin compared it to the "Seinfeld" finale, the only time it's bad to be spoken about in the same breath as NBC's No. 1 sitcom in the 1990s."


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Is there any wonder that Jerry Buss, the mercurial owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, knows a thing or two about chemistry? And even though he has an M.S. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry from USC, the chemistry I was referring to is that between the owner and front office and the coaches and players that is needed in order to win an NBA championship. Dr. Buss has shown that he knows the formula and deserves to be in the HOF.
Since he purchased the Lakers and the Fabulous Forum from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979 for $67M, the largest sports transaction ever at that time, Dr. Buss has overseen the Lakers winning 10 NBA championship rings, spanning from the 1971-72 Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain team to last year’s Kobe Bryant led title team. With respect to George Steinbrenner and Jerry Jones, that’s a record unmatched by any pro sports owner.
Jerry’s candidacy for the Basketball Hall of Fame reminded me of the recent great article by J.A. Adande for ESPN Los Angeles where he listed “The Five Greatest Lakers,” which included Kobe Bryant at #5, Jerry West at #4, Magic Johnson at #3, Jerry Buss at #2, and Chick Hearn at #1. When you really think about it, that’s a pretty damn good list, especially the recognition of how important Jerry Buss and Chick Hearn were.
In a recent conversation with Mike Bresnahan, Dr. Buss commented on the high payroll that the Lakers are currently paying. “"It doesn't thrill me," he said. "I don't like to be singled out for that particular purpose, but I feel in this situation it was necessary. When it's necessary, we're going to do that." Is there any doubt the way that Lamar Odom has been playing that Buss and the Lakers front office made the right decision?
Buss also stated in the Bresnahan article that the Lakers earned “close to $30 million or $40 million last season when the Lakers won the championship with a total payroll of $86 million, including luxury taxes.” With a payroll of $91M this year plus another $20M in luxury taxes, Dr. Buss has agreed to “invest” over $25M more for personnel this year over last year in a drive to win the team’s 16th NBA championship.
Like last year, to make money this year, the Lakers need to win the NBA championship. Anything less will signal a losing year financially as most analysts estimate the NBA championship is worth tens of millions of dollars to the winning franchise. With son Jim more and more taking over the basketball side of the business and daughter Jeanie handling the business side, Dr. Buss has made the right moves to ensure that the success of the Los Angeles Lakers and the franchise’s goal of winning the most titles will remain in good hands.
Finally, a nod to the other Lakers who are up for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, which unlike baseball and football encompasses the entire sport of basketball and not just the pro game. Here’s rooting for Tex Winter to finally get the recognition he deserves for his great contributions to the sport. I would also like to see Jamal Wilkes finally get recognized for his great career as a player with the Lakers and Warriors.
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MM - thanks for linking the dunk photo gallery from years past. They should have included J.R. Ryder though, dude could throw it down.

Edwin - well, at least he didn't flop as bad as Birdman a few years back, haha.

Edwin Gueco

How can you perfer Brown over Farmar? Based on what? He can dunk?

"The opportunity to stardom was there and he blew it big time!"

The opportunity is on the court! He will never be a star, nor will he ever be as good as Farmar or wish to have the career that Fisher has had!

"Well, his simple background in Michigan, Cavaliers and Bobcats as a non-nonsensical player is still in his system"

You said it....

He was as good in the dunk contest as he is on the court!
I like the kid, he's just WAY overrated! He's not even a PG, and he won't opt. out because he won't get any offers.

It's because Kobe's not participating. That from the get go created a "yawn" aspect to the festivities.

Say what you want about the Bean, but he bring excitement to the game with his intensity and his winningness. Excitement other players can only fabricate.


OK. i must have skipped that link on your thread..GREAT JOB!

Laker Tom,

One more funny story about toilets in Asia. We stayed at this monastery somewhere in northern Thailand that had these monk huts with porcelain toilet holes. It was an AWSOME experience. Long story short, I aimed the best I could, but I must have left some residue around the edges of holes because 30 min later there must have been 300,000-half a million ants covering every inch of that bathroom. I thought it was the end. I remembered it from TV:


Jerry Buss,

Do not pay any attention to the vicious angry rant of Jonny Boy K.
He is some nerd that never had a date in high school and thinks he is a big shot on this blog. As far as I'm concerned he is some total clown who knows next to nothing about basketball !! What do we play for !

So the reporter asks Rajon Rondo if he's looking forward to playing with any particular player during the ASG.

He says that KG told him not to let anyone steal his glory cuz he deserves it, and he's not really looking forward to playing with anyone in particular.

WTH is that?

DFish - you are a disgrace to the name you use on here. Your only purpose seems to be to bait other bloggers into some sort of argument or confrontation. Didn't your mama love you as a kid? Were you dropped on your head at birth? Seriously - your lunatic posts are pitiful, just like you have proved yourself to be. Get a life, dude. You're not welcome here because you add nothing. All I can say is thank god for my scrollwheel. It gets a workout with you around.

Justa -

That's KG telling Rondo to "keep it real" lol.


"He says that KG told him not to let anyone steal his glory cuz he deserves it, and he's not really looking forward to playing with anyone in particular."

What do you expect from a Celtic these days? Last night, Paul Pierce declared himself to be one of the best shooters in NBA history. Has there ever been a set of delusional, low-class players like this current Celtic team?

This angry nerd Jonny boy K spouts mostly anger and hate toward other people and you are defending him. My first post on the blog the clown comes at me telling me I should meet him in an alley and say my opinion regarding Fisher... and you are defending him !? My posts are lunatic because I won't put up with the nonsense that this angry nerd posts ! You need to get a life. Fisher is a disgrace on his own that he won't face reality that it is time to retire. I'm not the only one that thinks this...just one of the only ones that will say it out loud. I haven't written one word on this blog that wasn't the truth. You are just blinded by misplaced loyalty !!!!! And tell Jonny boy K, it is Pete Maravich...not Maranovich or what ever the heck he wrote !!


With Shannon in the SDC, we lost the prestige but not a game. You have to give credit to Shannon and Farmar for the last 3 games where they won consecutively without Kobe.

Farmar has been here in the last 5 years been outshone by Smush on his 1st year, been threatened by JCritt on his 3rd year, been bypassed by an aging Fish and now under the radar of being outplayed by Shannon. He has to thank SB who revived his importance to the team. Not that bad but not that too good too. You can believe what you want to believe like other lakerholics here but I'll stick with Shannon over Farmar.

Since they are both Lakers, we wish them well in the 2nd half.

DFish is just Butler or Red's Love Child repackaged, only here to bait people. Ignore him, mostly because he never says anything particularly valid nor interesting. Sure Fish has lost a step, but he's still got some tricks up his sleeve, and he obviously still gets PJ's vote...

Here's how most people on the East Coast feel:

Since this has become the bathroom thread, let me add my recent experience of Algeria. I was invited to speak at a conference that took place on a spanking new campus in November in the east of Algeria. We received a royal reception. The Algerians' sense of hospitality is overwhelming and the people were uniformly delightful, men and women alike. But the bathrooms were appalling. I mean, they don't even have janitors to go in and clean up the mess. Plumbing doesn't work. And no toilet paper. At one point I had to request a key to the professors' toilet... but that wasn't much better and luckily I had some paper handkerchiefs in my pocket.

At least in my hotel room - the best hotel in El Kala, with balconies overlooking the bay and the Mediterranean - I had a toilet that kind of flushed. But the second day I came back to my room and discovered the maid had - I assume accidentally - dropped the roll of toilet paper into the toilet and had simply lifted it out to dry out. Fortunately there was a spare roll.

The conference was about promoting tourism. It's a long-term project that will be keeping us busy training a whole population in the expectations of foreign tourists concerning hygiene!

But once again, the human qualities of the Algerians were overwhelming. Many things can be forgiven (provided you keep a wad of tissue in your pocket).

Wow I see a lot of bad vibes in the bloggers. There is no excuse for that. Agree to disagree without getting insulting with each other. JAMF said it best with use the scroll wheel. Post your views no matter what they are but respect the rights of those that post wheter you agree or not. OK I will get off my soapbox now. Peace Laker Nation.

Now my post. Glad to see that management is trying to unload Luke and Sasha. I think Sasha doing better but makes too much for what he is contributing. Much more so for Luke.



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