All-Star Weekend this year is in New Orleans, a relatively short journey from the Alamo City, making this the perfect opportunity to get more of our guys involved in the festivities. The relative lack of media attention paid to the San Antonio Spurs organization may lead you to believe that its players can't bring the necessary excitement to the NBA's annual star-studded extravaganza, but I'm here to say you're wrong.
The league's most internationally diverse team is also a group of uniquely talented, charismatic individuals that can elevate any event on the program with their elite skills and quirky personalities, beyond bringing additional viewership from their respective countries.
You may not get quasi-leaps over Kia Optimas and puffs of powdered chalk, but what the Spurs players lack in pomp and circumstance they make up for in blue-collar professionalism, fundamentals, and Vaudevillian bench antics. And, really, isn't that what kids are into these days?
So without further ado, here's my list of Spurs that should make it into the NBA's All-Star weekend this year.
63rd NBA All-Star Game: Tony Parker
Since he coached them last year, Extraneous G won't be eligible to represent San Antonio on the Western Conference bench this year, giving whoever the courtside reporter will be that night a reason to sigh in sweet relief. That leaves the Spurs point guard as the obvious choice for the All-Star Game.
With the rise of a number of talented young point guards in the West, this could be one of his last chances to shine in the ASG. His numbers are down from last year, but Tony's importance on one of the league's best teams is enough to get him a spot in the game.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge: Tim Duncan
I know that TP has been a participant in this event, but it still seems like a huge oversight for a future Hall of Famer known as The Big Fundamental to be excluded from the Skills Challenge. Once thought of as power forward who just wanted to play point guard, Timmeh has shown a long-time affinity for bringing the ball up the floor. Consider this play from the Portland game his audition tape:
And let's not forget that Duncan can bend a full-court pass better than James McAvoy in Wanted.
Foot Locker Three Point Contest: Marco Belinelli
The guy who's second in the league in three-point shooting percentage is an obvious choice for this competition. Belinelli is shooting the long ball at a 44.8% clip, and an invitation to the Three Point Contest would be a well-deserved accolade for a guy who's been a huge difference-maker for San Antonio so far this year. Besides our dunk-contest entry, this is the competition I feel most confident a Spur could win.
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge: Nando de Colo
Homer Simpson once said that "by default" are the two greatest words in the English language, and I think in this situation de Colo -- San Antonio's only eligible entry to the game between first- and second-year players -- would have to agree.
The Frenchman has seen more time in a Toros uniform than a Spurs one this season, so his inclusion in the event might be difficult to swing. Still, his free-wheeling brand of basketball would bring some fun and unpredictability to the Friday night game and, who knows, maybe the absence of Pop's gaze from the bench will take some pressure off the guy.
Sears Shooting Stars: Matt Bonner
The Shooting Stars event unites a current NBA player with a former one, as well as a WNBA star, and has them fire away from various spots on the floor, including a half-court heave at the end. It's also one of the more light-hearted parts of All-Star weekend and the perfect opportunity for Coach B to show off his charisma, as well as his prowess as one of the better stationery shooters in the league over the past few years.
To add a bit more rouge to the event, Team Bonner could also include former NBAer Brian Scalabrine and current WNBAer (and Silver Star) Chelsea Poppens.
Slam Dunk Contest: Aron Baynes
Banger may be little more than a garbage-time hero for the Spurs right now, but that's about to change. Not only does the Aussie have the athleticism to pull off a dunk with a bit of flair, but his international background opens up a world of props that he can include. How about tossing a boomerang and dunking the basketball before catching it right after? Or completing a slam while cuddling an adorable koala? And if all else fails, he could simply tear the rim down.
Jack Link's Beef Jerky Thumb War Challenge: Kawhi Leonard
His participation in the big event will come soon enough. For now, we can delight in watching Kawhi use his massive mitts to take on all challengers in a classic game of Thumb War. I see a potential final between Whi and the T-Wolves' Nikola Pekovic, and the mere idea of the two of them reciting, in sync, "One, two, three, four, I declare a thumb war" should be enough to get better ratings than the NFL Pro Bowl.
Nintendo Dance Dance Revolution Competition: Boris Diaw
You've seen his array of moves all season long and probably wondered the same thing that I have: When can we get Bobo on a DDR machine and watch every record get broken? Surely there are non-basketball uses for his patented Cream Shake.
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