You're probably wondering where the heck has been the basketball stuff I have been doing. Well, I have been a little busy with the other sport of devotion as of late, and I have been remiss on the duty, so here. I will break down the All-Star Friday and Saturday for you. The All-Star Game itself will have something on its own at a later time.
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge - Novel idea to have "captains" (in this case being Shaq and Sir Charles) make their selections, which were based from players voted in by the NBA assistant coaches, and of course, an assist from "Commissioner" Kenny Smith (for Lin and Cole).
Team Shaq has Blake Griffin, Jeremy Lin, Ricky Rubio, Markieff Morris, Kemba Walker, Landry Fields, Norris Cole, Brandon Knight, Tristan Thompson and Greg Monroe. They will have Ron Adams of Chicago as their head coach, with TNT's Steve Kerr as an assistant.
Team Chuck has Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, Derrick Williams, Paul George, Marshon Brooks, John Wall, Tiago Splitter, Evan Turner, Gordon Hayward and Kawhi Leonard. They will have Maurice Cheeks of Oklahoma City as their head coach, with TNT's Mike Fratello as an assistant.
With this, it may replace the Dunk Contest as the biggest highlight of the weekend other than the All-Star Game.
Sprint Celebrity Challenge - Dwight and KD will be the head coaches, but the interesting idea of Jersey Shore's Vinny lobbying to make this roster paid off.
Haier Shooting Stars - Team Atlanta aims to defend their title with Joe Johnson and Lindsey Harding as the new wingmen to holdover Steve Smith. Team Texas also has a holdover in Kenny Smith, but will be joined by Sophia Young and Gator alumnus Chandler Parsons. Team New York will have Landry Fields, Cappie Pondexter and Allan Houston; while Team Orlando will have Jameer Nelson, Marie-Ferdinand Harris (who is a Florida native) and Dennis Scott to try to win it for the home fans.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge - No official list yet, but if healthy, Stephen Curry should be defending the title against a gaggle of fellow youngsters with the depth at the position available. Ricky Rubio should be in this competition, as well as Kyrie Irving. If the NBA wants to squeeze as much out of Jeremy Lin, he would be in this competition, too.
Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout - James Jones returns to defend his title against five other noted shooters in Kevin Love, Ryan Anderson, Joe Johnson, his own teammate in Mario Chalmers, and Anthony Morrow. The Net is already currying favors in paying homage to late great Drazen Petrovic in this competition.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest - No Blake Griffin repeat, but hopefully Chase Budinger, Iman Shumpert, Paul George and Derrick Williams has the opportunity to entertain the fan base with three dunks. No judges on court, as it will be done via texts and tweets, opening it to the power of the people. It is of course assumed that Iman will figure a way to incorporate Jeremy Lin into the equation.
Here forth are the links after the jump to welcome the morning for you.
The Final 8 of the FA Cup is set. (c/o BBC Sport)
Lionel Messi is just plain awesome. Is he better than Lebron? (c/o The Original Winger & Miami Herald)
Will Pep stay? (c/o DAWN)
Toffee supporters were saddened to see him go. (c/o Goal)
If you hate the sport, then why participate in it... (c/o Sydney Morning Herald)
As Roberto Alomar can attest, spitting is never a good idea. (c/o SkySports)
There is more than meets the eye with regards to the Rangers scenario. (c/o Irish Examiner)
After all the fuss off the court... It's back again on the court, with a new character to boot. (c/o Bloomberg, New York Times and New York Daily News)
You may point your attention to him, but let his family be. (c/o CNN)
Quite simply, this is why he gets all the attention. (c/o Salt Lake City Tribune)
Sure, he's doing fine right now, but he will be more handy later on. (c/o Business Week)
25 rebounds. Amazing. (c/o Newark Star-Ledger)
Statistician's delight in OKC. (c/o ProBasketball Talk)
Kobe is sick and tired of this situation already. (c/o CBS Sports)
Nope, he is not going to bring Carson Palmer with him back to Cincy. (c/o Cincy Jungle)
C'est Fin, AJ. (c/o National Post) Mike Cameron calls it a day. (c/o Sports Illustrated)
Interesting precedent by Texas Supreme Court. (c/o Everything Lubbock)
Looks inevitable if they miss the tourney. (c/o Chicago Tribune)
The sensation of Bracketbusters... (c/o Murray Ledger and Times)
Thank you and enjoy the Mardi Gras to come.