There's no other way to lead off this NBA All-Star edition of the Pop Culture Hot List than with the most forced reunion since Cheech & Chong. Yes, it was nice to see O'Neal and Bryant holding up a trophy at center court again while Phil Jackson looked on, but that ending was about as scripted as the main event at WrestleMania.
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LeBron James and Jay-Z
The best party of All-Star Weekend goes to James and Jay-Z who hosted the Sprite Green Two Kings Dinner. The title sponsor was appropriate considering the amount of money that was under one tented roof on Saturday night as James and Jay-Z were joined by Beyonce, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Jesse Jackson, John Legend, Gabrielle Union and a handful of Fortune 500 CEOs who were looking to align themselves with these movers and shakers. "Green is the most beautiful color in the world," said James as he raised his glass in a champagne toast at the end of the night. "That's how you create partnerships, with the color green." Recession? What recession?
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The best scene of All-Star Weekend goes to Katy Perry, who performed at Dwyane Wade's T-Mobile myFaves party. Initially, the best scene was Yao Ming chilling with a group by a fire pit with a drink in hand, helplessly trying to blend in, but he was quickly outdone when Perry walked on stage. After singing a couple of songs in a leopard skin jacket (she kissed a girl in the front row after singing "I Kissed a Girl"), she ripped off her coat to reveal a top that would make Bar Refaeli jealous. She then grabbed a basketball and shot it at a hoop set up near the stage. "I should stick to singing," she said after her air ball. "I already have to handle these two basketballs."
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Easily one of the best renditions of "O Canada" the NBA has ever heard was sung by Grant Hill's wife, Tamia, who is from Windsor, Ontario, before the NBA All-Star Game. She completely upstaged Jordin Sparks, who sang the national anthem. If Grant can start playing like Tamia sings, the Suns might have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs.
5 of 10Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Tony Parker and Eva Longoria-Parker
Why can't all celebrity couples be like Tony and Eva? While most celebs shy away from talking about their significant others, the Parkers were all over each other during the weekend and talked about spending the off-season in France, where Parker just bought a basketball team. "I love France and French men," said Longoria smiling at Parker. "I mean I love this French guy."
6 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Nate Robinson and Dwight Howard
The Slam Dunk Contest is officially relevant again thanks to Nate "Krypto-Nate" Robinson and Dwight "Superman" Howard, who have the best All-Star Saturday Night rivalry since Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. To make things more interesting next year at All-Star Saturday night at Dallas Cowboys Stadium, where Mark Cuban estimates 100,000 will be in attendance, LeBron James will enter the dunk contest.
7 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
The star of All-Star Friday and Saturday afternoon was Durant, who scored a record 46 points in the Rookie Challenge game and won the inaugural H-O-R-S-E competition, coming back from being one letter away from elimination to knock off O.J. Mayo, who had no letters at the same time. Durant, holding a toy horse after winning the H-O-R-S-E competition, however, knew his moment in the sun would be short lived. "You'll forget about me after the dunk contest and the All-Star game," he said. Durant, as he was during the weekend, was right on the money.
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Akon and Suge Knight
There might not have been a fight between Shaq and Kobe, but Suge Knight got knocked out by one of Akon's representatives at a postgame party the singer was throwing at a Scottsdale hotel Sunday night. Suddenly Knight, who's been knocked out twice in a span of a couple of months, has lost more face than Alex Rodriguez.
9 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
Unless you watch "America's Best Dance Crew" on MTV, you probably thought the masked dance team that was freestyling with Shaquille O'Neal before the All-Star Game were mimes. TNT's Craig Sager certainly had no idea who they were, calling them the "WakkaJabeez." But after appearing in those Gatorade "G" commercials with Michael Jordan and helping Shaq win the MVP, they should be a household name in the sports world.
10 of 10John W. McDonough/SI
If losing the election wasn't bad enough, McCain was booed by his hometown fans at the US Airways Center when he was shown on the Jumbotron sitting courtside at the All-Star Game. Considering the likes of Donald Faison and Michael Rapaport got cheered, that's got to hurt.
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