I’ll be honest right off the bat and admit I didn’t watch one second of the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend. Ignoring the fact that I didn’t have time, I still could have recorded it but chose not to. Some of that was slightly out of protest for Davis Bertans being left out of the three-point contest — although the cynic in me loved seeing no-name Nets player Joe Harris upstage the Curry brothers in their hometown — and some is simply the fact that the spectacle of the entire thing just doesn’t appeal to me.
However, there used to be one event that I actually enjoyed watching: the now-defunct Shooting Stars Competition. As some may recall, it was a shooting competition (duh) that pitted three-person teams consisting of a current NBA player, and WNBA player, and a retired player against each other with the goal of hitting four of the more difficult shots in basketball in the least amount of time with a two minute limit. Those shots included a 10-ft bank shot from the right angle, a straight-on jump shot from the top of the key, an NBA three-point shot from the left angle, and finally a half-court shot.
It underwent a few changes during its 12-year run, such as who the sponsor was, and switching from representatives from one city (which was typically limited to who had both an NBA and WNBA team) to more regional teams such as “Texas” in 2011 (consisting of a representative from Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio), and later teams without any regional representation that was simply named after its current NBA player (Team Bosh, Team Curry, etc), but I still enjoyed it more than the rest of the competitions.
Maybe this was because unlike the three-point contest (cough), San Antonio was well represented, tying the Lakers/Los Angeles with 7 appearances (3 as “Texas”) and 3 titles (1 as “Texas”), but then it was suddenly scrapped following the 2015 season without any reason given and never replaced with anything else. All Star Saturday simply dropped from four main events to three, and that was that.
In memory of my favorite All-Star competition, I thought I’d look at back at my favorites moments — obviously the Spurs wins. First, there was the 2006 competition, with San Antonio being represented by Tony Parker, Silver Star Kendra Wecker, and Steve Kerr as the retired player. They basically made it a non-competition from the outset, setting a record that would stand forever of 25.1 seconds thanks to Parker hitting the half-court shot on their first attempt. Kobe Bryant knew he stood no chance.
The other big win for San Antonio came in 2008, this time featuring an improbable trio for this particular competition: Tim Duncan, Becky Hammon, and David Robinson. Imagining this team pulling out a win was borderline humorous considering neither of the big men were ever long-distance shooters. Becky was going to have to carry those guys. After a tough time with the 10-foot bank shot in the first round, The Admiral made up for it by hitting his first half-court attempt to help them make the final.
They were even better the second time around, and the underdog team consisting of two seven-footers from before the time of PF’s (and today, even some centers) shooting threes somehow pulled it off for the most improbable win in the history of the competition, making San Antonio the first team with multiple victories along the way.
Becky would go on the represent San Antonio in Team Texas’ 2010 victory alongside Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki and Houston’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith. Those were the good times.
Maybe if the Shooting Stars Competition came back I’d be more inclined to watch at least part of All-Star weekend . . . if the Spurs were represented . . . which is hard now that the Silver Stars have moved to Las Vegas. Oh well. RIP, Shooting Stars Competition. We hardly knew ye.