Notes from TNT’s Coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend Saturday, February 14, 2009: LeBron James to Go Slam Dunk in Dallas

Coverage continues on Sunday, February 15 at 8 p.m. ET with the 2009 NBA All-Star Game. Below are notes from Saturday’s events.

Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai2-hour special featuring H-O-R-S-E presented by GEICO

Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Chris Webber

Webber on shooting trick shots in H-O-R-S-E:  “Everyone always misses the first trick shot.  We act like the Harlem Globetrotters don’t practice a million half-court shots a day.  Guys are going to miss the first trick shot. First of all, I would have killed you in H-O-R-S-E, Kenny.”

Smith: “In Detroit they miss trick shots, in New York we are trick shots.”

TNT aired a Timeout with Thompson piece featuring John Thompson’s interview with Indiana Pacers guard and first-time All-Star Danny Granger and his father, Danny Granger, Sr.

Webber on Pacers forward Danny Granger being selected as an NBA All-Star: “(Danny Granger) is an All-Star hands down, he makes the winning shots on that team, he is the best player on that team and at the end of the games you know he’s the one who is going to get the ball. He plays almost every position for them, it doesn’t surprise me that he’s an All-Star.  I’m glad he’s telling his story because there are a lot of kids out there that don’t get recruited to the best universities, that don’t play AAU, but all that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is what type of structure you have home and what type of ball player you are.”

Smith on tough love being a necessity to raise successful children in a tough environment: “(Tough love is) the only approach when you are in a tough environment.  Some of the rules that are traditionally there, you have to break for the protection of your kids and your family. That tough love that (Danny Granger’s) father had is a very consistent story for guys who have done well in those environments.  His dad with the tough love, you’ve got to applaud it.”

TNT analyst Doug Collins joined the studio show to discuss the USA Basketball team who won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing.  Collins, a member of the 1972 USA Olympic basketball team, served as a broadcaster for the USA Basketball Olympic telecasts.

Collins on his involvement with the USA Basketball team and what it meant to him to witness the gold medal win in Beijing: “I don’t have a gold medal in my home from ’72, but now (I do) with (my son) Chris being a part of that (as an assistant coach). The guys asked me to come out on the floor after the game and put the gold medal around my neck and asked to take a picture. As a coach with how many times I’ve gotten up to speak to a team and you don’t know if it ever resonates.  This, for whatever reason, there was a real connection I felt to this group of guys. They made me feel so much a part of that when I was over (in Beijing) broadcasting.  It put a lot of closure for me, in that in ‘72 when the medal was taken away from us, and now my son Chris as a part of that team, there is a gold medal in my house and that means a lot to me.”

H-O-R-S-E presented by GEICO

Participants

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (winner)

OJ Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies

Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks

Webber on Kevin Durant’s layup that hit the bottom of the backboard that gave him his first letter, ‘G’: “Is (Dikembe) Mutombo here? Mutombo? Somebody blocked that shot!”

Johnson on Kevin Durant’s reaction after Joe Johnson missed a shot before him:  “Was that a breeze that came through or is that a sign of relief as you walked past me?”

Durant after winning H-O-R-S-E presented by GEICO: “You just have to shoot basic shots. I knew I couldn’t hit those layups Joe was hitting or the shots that OJ shoots, so I shot basic shots and I was praying that they missed.”

Smith on the trophy presentation featuring a toy horse given to H-O-R-S-E champion Kevin Durant: “Are we that cheap?”

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller, Mike Fratello and Kenny Smith with Cheryl Miller reporting

Fratello on his most anticipated event of the evening: “Based on my background and history of athleticism it’s got to be the Slam Dunk competition. I called Spud (Webb) and he said that’s what we’re going for.”

Smith on the anticipation of each night’s events increasing:  “Dwight Howard set the standard (in the Sprite Slam Dunk) last year, but this is a boxing match. Tonight is the light heavy weight, it’s not the heavy weight bout. And Friday night is the bantem weight.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Magic forward Rashard Lewis and Cavaliers guard Mo Williams.

Williams on whether he felt snubbed from not making the initial NBA All-Star team: “That’s past tense. I’m enjoying it. Obviously, I was disappointed and I’m here now and I’m having fun and I’m enjoying every moment of it. It was everything I expected, having fun, camaraderie with the guys, it’s fun, it really is.”

Lewis on not taking his All-Star appearance for granted:  “Signing the balls, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were talking about how they’ve got so many autographed All-Star basketballs that their kids take them outside and play with them.  I said, ‘some of you all can do that, I’m going to cherish my basketball because there aren’t too many I’m going to get.’”

Lewis on his strategy for the Three-Point Shootout after two years of not getting out of the first round: “I’ve figured it out, you’ve got to build a rhythm on the first couple of racks and not try to play against the clock. I felt that I was rushing the shots early and not making shots.  (This year) I’m going to build a rhythm of the first two racks and then speed it up from there.”

Williams on whether teammate LeBron James gave advice and his guarantee of a win: “Just try to make every spot. I think I will do well. I guaranteed a win already, so on national television before the start, I guarantee a win. I guarantee one.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed NBA great Bill Russell, who the NBA Finals MVP Award will be named for, as announced earlier on Saturday.

Russell on whether he had any idea of the plans for the Finals MVP Award to be renamed for him: “Totally, completely I had no idea. David (Stern) called my late wife about a month ago before she died and told her he was going to do this but she couldn’t tell me.  For the last few weeks, everyday I asked her if there was something I could do to help her life experience, and I asked if there was anything she wanted to tell me and she said, ‘nope.’”

Russell on the honor bestowed on him being a result of his teammates: “This is a team award, if my team hadn’t been so successful I wouldn’t be here. Like I’ve said before, one of my proudest achievements as a professional is that I was captain of the Celtics.  This award is an affirmation, so to speak, because you play a team game. To make our team the best team on the planet consistently was so rewarding and this is saying, ‘we noticed.’”

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NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm

Haier Shooting Stars

Kevin Harlan, Mike Fratello and Reggie Miller; Cheryl Miller reporting

Participants

Team Detroit: Aaron Afflalo, Bill Laimbeer, and Katie Smith (winner)

Team Los Angeles: Derek Fisher, Michael Cooper and Lisa Leslie

Team Phoenix: Leandro Barbosa, Dan Majerle, and Tangela Smith

Team San Antonio: Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Becky Hammon

Miller on the form of Bill Laimbeer while shooting the half-court shot in the first round: “It looks like his arches where hurting as he was taking the shot, it looked like he was walking on hot coals.  But he knocks it down!”

Fratello on wavering on his prediction for the Shooting Stars winner, ultimately going with Team Phoenix who lost:  “You know what? I had Detroit picked first.”

Miller: “I know you told me that today.”

Fratello: “I need to go talk to Dan Majerle, Dan played for me in Cleveland. I’ve got to go talk to him.”

Playstation Skills Challenge

Kevin Harlan, Mike Fratello and Reggie Miller; Cheryl Miller reporting

Participants

Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets

Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers

Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls  (winner)

Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

Miller on Mo Williams’ approach to his first round of the Skills Challenge: “(Williams) is out here being too pretty, you can’t be pretty. You want to win this? You’ve got to bust through this!”

Fratello on Tony Parker’s poor performance in the Skills Challenge: “(Spurs coach Gregg) Popovich must have called him and told him I don’t want you to do two rounds of this, get out and get rest.”

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout

Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith, Cheryl Miller reporting

Participants

Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic

Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks

Daequan Cook, Miami Heat  (winner)

Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

Roger Mason, Jr., San Antonio Spurs

Jason Kapono, Toronto Raptors

Smith on the Three-Point Shootout field: “It’s the most even field, but these guys are not great three-point shooters.  The only guy who is a great three-point shooter is Jason Kapono, and I’m not sure in a different era if he would be a two-time champion.”

Miller on his pick for the Three-Point Shootout winner: “My dark horse is my Pacer Danny Granger, if there is anyone to beat Jason Kapono tonight it’s going to be Danny Granger.”

Smith: “No, if there is anyone it’s going to be Roger Mason, he’s the one guy that can prove himself the same way Jason Kapono did.  No one had really heard of (Kapono) in the NBA circles, he came here and he made a name for himself, Roger Mason can do the same thing Jason Kapono did.”

Smith on the chances of Mike Bibby to win the Shootout: “Mike Bibby, if it was one step in he would win this contest. He’s like one step out of his range to win this contest.  If he could step on the line he would win this contest easy.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Three-Point Shootout champion Daequan Cook.

Daequan Cook on winning the Shootout: “I was focused, it was very important for me to be focused. I felt this was my opportunity to show a lot of people that I can be considered one of the leading three point shooters in the game.”

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Kenny Smith, Cheryl Miller reporting

Participants

J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets

Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers

Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (winner with 52% of the vote)

Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

Smith on Dwight Howard’s impressive showing in the Sprite Slam Dunk last year: “(Dwight Howard’s) creativity didn’t just come from the cape, he has more things because he is an outstanding leaper.  It wasn’t a gimmick, that cape was just the icing on the cape.”

Smith on the athleticism of Dwight Howard:  “(Dwight Howard) does things that mortal men cannot do.  I don’t know anyone in the NBA that dunks like him right now, LeBron James doesn’t jump the way this guy does.”

Miller: “Yes he does.”

Smith: “No he does not. Then tell him to get in the contest and stop playing.”

Miller:  “If LeBron wants to go to the next level and be MJ (Michael Jordan) he’s got to get in this contest.”

Miller on Rudy Fernandez getting an assist from Lakers forward Pau Gasol: “I think (Pau Gasol) is doing it on purpose, he understands the Lakers are the top dog in the West and he’s trying to sabotage the up and coming young Blazers.”

Smith on Nate Robinson’s step-up dunk off the back of teammate Wilson Chandler: “I like the step-up dunk. I give it a 43, I like it.”

Miller: “I don’t. It’s like someone picking you up, a trampoline. I ain’t rolling with this, Nate. You had me with your first dunk, you had me at hello.”

Miller on Nate Robinson returning in a green uniform:  “Lex Luther is in the building.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the contest.

LeBron James declaring his entry for the 2010 Sprite Slam Dunk: “Right now I’m preliminarily putting my name in the 2010 Dunk Contest on Saturday night. LeBron James is saying that in 2010, in Dallas Stadium, preliminarily I’m putting my name in the Dunk Contest.”

Miller on LeBron James’ declaration: “We have Obama as president and we finally have LeBron James in the Dunk Contest.”

TNT’s Cheryl Miller interviewed Knicks guard Nate Robinson after he was announced the Sprite Slam Dunk champion.

Robinson on possibly returning in 2010 to defend his title:  “I already did three, but if they really want me to come back I guess I’ve got to dig in the archives and try to figure out some more dunks I can do. But right now, I’m going to enjoy it, I got the championship back to New York City. I thank my teammates for really being there for me at practice and Wilson Chandler for helping me out with the dunks and I thank God.”

2 Responses to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend Saturday, February 14, 2009: LeBron James to Go Slam Dunk in Dallas”

  1. michelle says:

    I love Iverson’s new cut.

  2. Okori says:

    And here is alll I will say: Kevin Durant has the J LeBron wishes he had.

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