2013 Celebrity All-Star Game
HOUSTON -- Not unlike the NBA's two blowout finales Thursday night that ushered in the fun and frivolity of All-Star Weekend, Friday's Sprint NBA Celebrity All-Star Game proved a one-sided affair with the James Harden-coached West squad running all over Russell Westbrook's East squad.
The 58-38 game was good fun, filled with laughter, a few antics and even a bit of decent, even intense at times, basketball action. But frankly it wasn't nearly as fascinating as the wardrobe choices of the two brave, young coaches that were once teammates with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets before the season and now the two will reunite Sunday night as first-time All-Star teammates.
Westbrook, a fashion mogul in his own mind, dared to wear light-colored camouflage skinny pants held up by a bright yellow belt and at the ankles were tucked into yellow-and-grey high tops. A curiously tame grey tie hung from a white button-down and the outfit was completed by a skinny-fitting brownish-tan sport coat.
Harden might have outdone even himself with a blue skinny suit, a plaid bow tie that was mostly hidden by his immaculate beard, pink florescent socks and snake-skin loafers. Of course, both coaches wore the accustomed professorial eyewear.
But enough about fashion and back to the game. The West team had former Rockets Clyde Drexler and Dikembe Mutombo, plus WNBA star Maya Moore, while the East had the WNBA's Tamika Catchings and former Spurs Sean Elliott and Bruce Bowen, plus the fastest human in the world in Olympic champion Usain Bolt.
But the West's real weapon was the lone silver-haired participant, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, a former Harvard forward who certainly looks like he spends his lunch hour playing pickup at the Y. The fundamentally sound Duncan finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists. E! News anchor Terrence Ross also had 11 points, while the rapper Common dropped 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Yet somehow, the diminutive Kevin Hart, star of "Real Husbands of Hollywood," was awarded his second consecutive MVP award despite scoring just five points. As he mocked tears holding the trophy while surrounded by the bright lights of the TV cameras, Duncan was off to the side, just happy to be there. He said he didn't feel robbed of the award, which he could have won last year, too.
"I just want to win, just want to win," Duncan said. "I can't win a popularity contest."
And Bolt couldn't win a race. The most intriguing of the competitors, the 6-foot-5 Bolt, who inspired the world with his performances at the London Games, took on Hart in a race in which they had to dribble the length of the floor, make a layup, dribble back and make another one. Hart took off way early, made his layups and was declared the winner. However, the game did provide Bolt's one highlight of the night, when he went up for a two-handed slam on his first leg of the race.
The East squad trailed 30-19 at the half and never got much going. Catchings led the team with 12 points and eight rebounds. Actor Josh Hutcherson of "The Hunger Games" was perhaps the most animated player on the floor and had 11 points, while sinking three 3-pointers. He was the only player to connect from downtown. He also managed two air balls from long range among his seven attempts.