All-Star weekend is upon us and Magic fans can take this weekend to celebrate the several players being recognized as examples of a franchise peaking, to honor Orlando’s several All-Stars, and reflect on how well-run this franchise is.
Alternatively, we could drink heavily, and ignore the media inquiries that will start to gnaw at what pride remains in being an Orlando fan (aside: I find the “Dwight will leave Orlando and play for a warm-weather team in a tax-free state” argument a particularly charming sort of reasoning).
Since this is such a mixed occasion for Orlando fans — the city itself and the beautiful arena are being celebrated while the franchise is in a bizarre crucible of media speculation — I took the liberty of transcribing last night’s Magic players only pseudo All-Star events. These events were not open to the media but rather staged by the Magic players, for the Magic players, so that each could take part in something resembling All-Star festivities. All-Star festivities, that is, that do not take place at 3 AM in a club.
Anyway, what follows is my recounting of the first annual Orlando Magic Starzz Competition, which pit Magic players against each other in an array of fun contests resembling the All-Star Weekend.
Just so we’re all on the same page, I’m making this up.
Magic players Jameer Nelson, Chris Duhon, and Ish Smith dribbled around a series of obstacles staged inside of Amway Center, with the winner being the fastest around the track.
The Skills challenge was one of the less exciting contests of the night, as runaway favorite Jameer Nelson had the contest on ice early on. He began with a fairly impressive display of ball control through the cones as Duhon seemed preoccupied with throwing ball after ball directly into where the media ordinarily sit. Coaches and teammates called out “Chris, dribble forward, man — that’s the point!” as he continued hurling each ball into the stands with a sheepish grin on his face.
With Smith keeping Nelson honest into the shuttle run portion of the course, Jameer seemed to have rediscovered some of his old agility, deftly hitting each spot with a series of low and agile crossovers. However, heading into the third obstacle, security tackled Ish Smith, not recognizing him from any games and refusing to believe he was an actual NBA player. This left Jameer to cross the finish line uncontested, whereupon he missed the final layup and fell down.
Magic players Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, and Jason Richardson competed in a judged competition to ascertain who could throw down the most creative and pleasing dunk.
The dunk contest was the most hotly anticipated competition of the night, as Orlando boasted two former dunk contest staples in Richardson and Howard, while Clark had been intriguing fans for years with his unique blend of size and athleticism.
The first round was both exciting and a sad disappointment, because though Howard and Clark began the competition with basic but vicious throwdowns, Richardson found himself unable to complete a single dunk, repeatedly hammering the ball into the front of the rim as fans and teammates politely looked away. Howard and Clark were given 9.8s for their performance, while Richardson was given courtesy 8s and was eliminated.
In the second round, Clark showed his potential, throwing down a sprawling Tomahawk from a foot inside the free throw line. Howard kept pace by having Anthony Carter throw an alley-oop from halfcourt which he finished with a reverse, reaching above the square on the backboard to retrieve the pass.
In the final round, Clark inexplicably refused to do anything but shoot jumpers from the elbow, despite repeated admonishment from all involved. Scores of fans implored Clark to use his athleticism as he earnestly flung shot after shot from the elbow.
Though Clark was disqualified, Dwight insisted on performing his final dunk, for which he brought in a tractor-trailer filled with 2,200 people dressed as Gatorade bottles. Howard took forty minutes jumping over each fan individually before finishing with an uninspired one-handed slam. Either legitimately awed by this feat of endurance or pimping the event for the sponsors, announcer Kenny Smith screamed as if he’d seen the messiah himself, yelling “IT’S OVER! EVERYBODY DRINK G2!”
Asked how he was inspired to come up with the dunk, Howard just said “Gatorade sponsored this, right? Gatorade!”
Magic players J.J. Redick and Ryan Anderson were each given stations of basketballs from behind the three point line to see who could hit the most shots.
The three point contest was easily the most competitive of the night. Both Redick and Anderson began by hitting shot after shot without interruption, and indeed appeared poised to keep doing so until Glen Davis ran onto the court and began pilfering basketballs off the racks and shooting himself. Multiple teammates yelled to Glen that he was taking shots from decent shooters, while two or three fans yelled back that Davis had championship experience.
Once a glowering Davis was coerced off the court by Stan Van Gundy, Anderson and Redick resumed shooting. Aside from one ten-shot stretch where not one single shot dropped, the two put on a beautiful display of shooting, and the score was so close it was not immediately clear who won. Inexplicably, Otis Smith descended to the court to explain that Glen Davis had won the contest.
Smith said, “Glen brings a lot of championship experience and also is friends with Dwight Howard, so I am motivated to keep him happy.”
Check us out next year for a recap of the second annual Orlando Magic Starzz Competition, featuring Ryan Anderson, J.J. Redick, Hedo Turkoglu, and a few low first-round picks, with Brooklyn Nets guest announcers Deron Williams and Dwight Howard. I FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE COMING WEEKS FOR THE MAGIC, YOU GUYS.