ORLANDO — There’s a saying that the first time is always the best. That may not always be true but in the case of the six players (LaMarcus Aldridge, Andrew Bynum, Luol Deng, Marc Gasol, Roy Hibbert, and Andre Iguodala) that were named All-Stars this season for the first time in their careers, at the very least, their first All-Star Weekend experience is something they’ll never forget.
After the All-Star Game was over on Sunday and as the players were wrapping up the last of their media availabilities, I wanted to see what the first-timers had to say about their time in Orlando.
ORLANDO — Perhaps one of the coolest things about being an NBA player is that you have the ability to talk to almost any of your peers, past or present. If you wanted to talk to Michael Jordan, the greatest player of all-time, you could do it. If you wanted to talk to Magic Johnson, someone that’s successfully battling HIV and get a better understanding of what he goes through on a day-to-day basis, you could do that too.
Some NBA legends, like Wilt Chamberlain, have passed away, which has robbed some of the game’s current generation of stars of having that chance to talk to them but most are still alive. That got me thinking. For the players in the league right now, if given the chance to talk to any NBA player for one day and get some basketball knowledge, who would they talk to?
ORLANDO — When I think of the best in-game dunkers in the NBA right now, the first names that pop into my head are Blake Griffin and LeBron James. They each dunk with such force and such violence, it’s hard not to be drawn in as a viewer.
So when I made the commitment to attend NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando this season, the first question I wanted to ask the players was “who is the best in-game dunker in the league right now?”
Out of all the answers I got, Kevin Durant’s answer is the one to pay attention to.
ORLANDO — Point guards in the NBA come in all shapes and sizes. Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook brim with explosiveness. Chris Paul, Steve Nash, and Deron Williams are supreme masters of pick-and-roll basketball. Then you have the up-and-comers like Kyrie Irving and Ricky Rubio. Aided by the league’s hand check rules, it’s not outlandish to say we’re witnessing a golden era of floor generals.
That being said, if you could build the perfect NBA point guard, what attributes and skills would that player have? I decided to ask guys like Paul to see what they had to say.
ORLANDO — Sometimes we forget that NBA players are people too. It’s not just basketball for them. They have families, hobbies, and other things that keep them occupied when they’re not on a basketball court.
For instance, someone like LeBron James is known for his interest in music since he’s friends with Jay-Z and other artists. So that got me wondering? What does LeBron, or anyone else for that matter, like to listen to in his off time or before games? I asked some of the players to find out myself.
ORLANDO — Growing up, some of my favorite basketball movies were “White Men Can’t Jump,” “He Got Game,” “Blue Chips,” and “Hoosiers.” I have other favorites but those are the ones that come off the top of my head right away.
So I was curious. What about NBA players? What was their favorite basketball movie (or movies) growing up? I asked a ton of guys and got a variety of answers but as I kept asking, the same ones started popping up.
In the case of Dwight Howard, well, see for yourself.
All-Star Weekend in Orlando is over but that doesn’t mean the coverage is over. For the next two days, Magic Basketball TV will make its return, showcasing interviews featuring almost every Eastern and Western Conference All-Star, a few Rising Stars participants, and other NBA players.
Most of the topics on MBN TV are lighthearted in nature. All players in the league are usually asked the same mundane questions over and over, so the queries posed to them were with the intent of allowing them to show their personality a little bit.