NEW ORLEANS -- The NBA came here to help rescue a city, and what did
For so many years the NBA's All-Star Weekend has been growing like a tumor upon the soul of the game, a vehicle of greed, selfishness and other vices in blight of the larger team values. But that trend was arrested by coming this weekend to New Orleans, where the NBA's biggest stars spent Friday working on community projects that emphasized giving instead of taking.
For this weekend, at least, the league rediscovered its soul. The Saturday night dunk contest between
It strikes me that the post-
He shared much in common with this humbled city. The music of New Orleans is a unifying force of joy, and I have a feeling that no one who watched the pregame or halftime performances of jazz was turned off or threatened or in any way bemused by it.
During the All-Star Game on Sunday night, there were scores of empty seats in the New Orleans Arena, which was symbolic in its own way of the casualties suffered and the tens of thousands of homeless people who have yet to return.
The game itself had trouble achieving a flow, but even then the intentions were good: Too many turnovers from trying to make the extra-spectacular pass. The rhythm peaked midway through the second quarter when Howard and
With five minutes remaining everyone stopped trying to put on a show and started trying to win. By then the West had eaten away all of the East's early 16-point lead, but Boston's
"This just wasn't about basketball," said Washington Wizards forward
The smiles meant something this time. Future All-Star Weekends will be played in more normal circumstances, and the smiles may not be so sincere and gratifying as they were this weekend. For the NBA players, the trick will be to define themselves moving forward as this weekend served to define them. The lesson is to play for something larger than yourself, and that was the gift these millionaires received from the city that lost everything.