Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the 2009 NBA All-Star Game from Phoenix – Sunday, February 14, 2010: Dwyane Wade Gets His Flash Strong

(Jesse D. Garrabrant / Getty Images Contributor)

Caught the replay of the game early this morning. I was pleasantly surprised the game became so competitive in the latter stages. There was no Dirk sentiment to give away the MVP to the home town star. It seemed every player got after it. I don’t care what anyone says, Chancey Billups is a consummate pro. No matter what the situation, you get what he gives in full flex. Big opportunity for the NBA to showcase its wares in front of the world and the game itself came off without a hitch. It didn’t hurt having almost 109,000 in attendance. Great show. TNT’s NBA Thursday coverage continues Thursday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. ET with an exclusive doubleheader featuring the Denver Nuggets @ Cleveland Cavaliers (I’ll have a report live from Cleveland) followed by the Boston Celtics @ Los Angeles Lakers.

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TNT NBA Tip-off presented by AutoTrader.com

Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith

Smith on the atmosphere of the All-Star Game: “Unforgettable night. The first time you walk into an arena and you see 100,000 people you mind just boggles.  I think the NBA has pulled out all the stops. You have 100,000 people, you have the Thunderbirds. It is like a carnival inside the arena. I have never seen an arena like this.”

Smith on what it means for a player to be selected to the All-Star Game:  “I’ve won two NBA championships and I’ve never played in an All-Star Game. Every single player wants to be in it. To break a basketball record and play in front of the crowd, those guys have to be excited.”

Barkley on taking the floor in an All-Star Game: “You know when you take the floor you are the center of a basketball universe. I was very fortunate to play in 11 All-Star games and it is always an honor to sit around with all the guys in the locker room – even some of the legends from the game.”

NBA TV’s Matt Winer, Kevin McHale and Chris Webber interview Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Bryant on the massive size of Cowboys stadium: “I have never seen an arena like this ever before in my life. To play a basketball game in this facility and the amount of energy that will be in here is going to be phenomenal.”

Bryant on his return to the court: “Hopefully sooner rather than later, but it is tough. . High angle sprains are something you have to constantly struggle with, getting inflammation out and getting the mobility back, but hopefully I’ll be back.

Bryant on benefiting from being out: “I will benefit greatly form it, I will get a chance to recuperate it and get some rehabilitation. I will be able to let my body rest.”

Bryant on the toughest thing playing with a dislocated finger: “I had to change the way I dribbled, caught the ball and I had to change the way I defended. I had to adjust everything and go to a predominately left handed defender and shoot with the four fingers I had left.”

Bryant on playing with Ron Artest: “He is great. He gets a bad rap from what happened in Detroit. As a teammate, he has been phenomenal. He is the kind of guy you want in the fox hole with you.  If you are going to battle, you want a Ron Artest. He’s going to step up, play hard in practice and play hard in the game. What more do you want?”

McHale on his favorite All-Star memory: “I was lucky to go with Robert (Parrish) and Larry (Bird), so I was always with there with teammates.”

Bryant: “And the shorts were awesome.”

Webber on his first All-Star Game: “I think my biggest memory was my first one. Playing with Michael Jordan and being around all the guys. And then being in the West and playing with Kobe and Kevin Garnett. I just remember fun times.”

Bryant: “My first one in Madison Square (Garden). I was so nervous; I was a nervous wreck because I was playing with the golden greats.”

Bryant on LA hosting the 2011 All-Star Game: “It is going to be great. The city of LA is a great spot to host it. I’m sure it won’t be as cold as it is here in Dallas, but it will be fun.

TNT’s Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley interview actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who served as an NBA.com host during All-Star Weekend

Mintz-Plasse on the highlight of All-Star Weekend: “I met a bunch of players yesterday; Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett, met a bunch of players and that was amazing, I was in awe.”

Johnson: “I thought the appearance at Kenny “the Jet’s” party would be it.”

Barkley on the surprise guest at Kenny Smith’s All-Star party: “No disrespect to you Chris, but Ernie Johnson got the biggest shock. People were surprised to see Ernie chilling in the corner with some gin and juice.”

Johnson: “And you wonder why I never go to your parties.”

Barkley: “And you almost got killed, because you had the wrong color do-rag on.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban joined the guys on the set.

Cuban on how their recent trade makes the second half promising for the Mavericks: “We were struggling coming into the all-star break with a lot of injuries. Now it takes a lot of pressure off of (Erick) Dampier. I think DeShawn (Stevenson), with the new change of scenery is really coming to be able to come in and really help defensively. I think we are better.”

Cuban on the feeling of All-Star Sunday night: “I wasn’t quite sure what to except. I am a season ticket holder for the Cowboys but I wasn’t sure what to expect. This is about the party and the fun. You just get that feeling you are walking into the biggest and greatest thing. The initial feeling from everyone is that you have to do this again. Hopefully, we will bring it back and do it again.”

Cuban’s view on the next few years of the league: “I’ll let the Commissioner get into detail but what I can tell you is the economy has affected everyone including NBA owners. We are no different. There is a lot of risk in owning a team and we have to balance the risk against the reward. Whether or not we can, I don’t know.”

Johnson: “Are you confident?”

Cuban: “No.”

Smith on the looming lockout: “The business of basketball everyone understands. All of us and everyone around us is affected.”

Cuban: “I don’t know if everyone understands the business of basketball.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviews Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard before the game

Howard on the gigantic screen in Cowboys Stadium: “That thing is ridiculous. I have never seen anything like that in my whole life. I have to get one for my house. It is beautiful. It is bigger than the whole court and this is going to be a unbelievable experience.”

Howard on playing with first time All-Stars: “We are just going to go out there and have fun, this is a once in a lifetime experience. We just want the new guys to have fun. I told them it will be a little bit different from playing in a regular game but just to have fun.”

Howard on Cavaliers center Shaquille O’Neal being upset about the Superman nickname: “I am just going to continue to play basketball. I don’t have any problems against him. The whole Superman thing, there is no battle of nicknames. If he wants to be Superman, he can be Superman.  I never tried to steal that name from him, or take away anything from him with that name. I would like to talk to him about winning a championship. Just little things that could help me. I’ve never tired to do things to be like him. I’m my own person. I have a lot of respect for him and what he has brought to the game of basketball. I would ask someone like Shaquille O’Neal to help me become a better basketball player and a better person.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern joined the studio crew

Stern on All-Star Sunday night: “Awesome is an overused word but this is awesome. I didn’t know quite what to expect but whatever it was it wasn’t as big as I thought it would be.”

Stern on possibly changing the All-Star format to US players against international players: “We have thought about it a lot but it short changes the American players. There are 350 American players and 83 international players. If you pick 12 from each group; it advantages the international players. And by the way, that is what they call the Olympics and we are going to go up against the world with Team USA.”

Stern on hosting an All-Star weekend outside the United States: “I often say with the internet with everyone going in their homes, fans watch events where they can congregate.  Our houses of worship and house of sports worship, this is a temple. It is unbelievable.”

Stern on the urgency of making decisions regarding impeding lockout: “We always manage to work it out. It would be nice to get something done this calendar year but not essential. It would be good if we could short circuit it but we have at least 18 months to go.”

Stern on what the NBA has to improve on: “I think what we have to improve on is NBA Digital that the NBA does with Turner. We see NBA.com; we see NBA TV and globalization. Those are two opportunities coming down the pipe. We are opening an office in Africa, India and in the Middle East.”

Stern summing up the weekend: “North Texas was the basketball capital of the world and we learned despite what Charles said, Kenny can still shoot and TNT is a really great partner to bring the festivities together. And Charles is always trying to bring trouble. He should be respected and sometimes ignored. “The Jet” still has some game left.”

Barkley: “He’s not “the Jet”, he’s a prop plane.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash before the NBA All-Star Game.

Nash on his world wind weekend from lighting the caldron in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics to winning the Skills championship to playing in tonight’s game: “This is indescribable. The Olympic situation and representing my country in that moment was the proudest and emotional moment of my career, but to play in front of 100,000 people is unforgettable as well.  It has been a heck of a 48 hours.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James before the NBA All-Star Game.

James on playing in Cowboys stadium: “It is amazing. The fact that they have the NBA All-Star game here is great. Big thanks to Jerry Jones for giving us this venue and letting us play here.”

Barkley on running with the Olympic Torch: “I have done pretty much everything in my life that I wanted to do but running with the Torch would be so cool.”

Smith: “I would love to see you run with the torch. Please Olympic Committee; let Charles Barkley run with the torch.”

Johnson: “You wouldn’t have to worry about it going out.”

Barkley on Amare Stoudemire being traded to the Cavs: “Anybody playing with the Cavs will be alright. That would be scary to have Amare on one wing and LeBron on the other wing. All these trades are designed to do one thing and that is to beat the Lakers.”

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NBA All-Star Game: East (141) vs. West (139)

Marv Albert, Doug Collins and Reggie Miller; Craig Sager and David Aldridge reporting

Collins on his first All-Star game: “It was in 1976 and it was the Bicentennial Game and I got to play in front of the hometown crowd (in Philadelphia), so it was incredible.”

Collins on Coach George Karl’s effort to push Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony in the All-Star Game: “I talked to George Karl earlier today and he said he would also like to see Carmelo be a little more serious in this game and look for the MVP. That’s what Dwyane Wade and those other guys do.”

Miller on Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant: “I don’t know if there is a better scorer in the game right now than Kevin Durant. This guy can really post up and he is a better rebounder than people give him credit for.”

Collins on Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade: “Dwyane Wade has not had this kind of room all season on the Heat. He is laughing and having a good time. This summer, they are looking to sign a free agent and resign him and get that team back to its elite status.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant during halftime.

Durant on his ability to score: “I just try to get around the rim and get some easy passes. I’m playing with some good point guards that are just finding me under the basket so it just comes easy when you are making layups.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony during halftime.

Anthony on adjusting to playing in a big dome: “It is a basketball game; it is a basketball court so you just have to adjust.”

Anthony on the West winning the game:  “We want to win this game. We are going to come back and win this game. I don’t like to lose.”

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Halftime

Johnson, Barkley and Smith

Barkley on Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh: “Chris Bosh is the most underrated player in the NBA to me.”

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TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Cowboys owner Jerry Jones during the game.

Jones on working with the NBA to host the All-Star Weekend festivities in the Cowboys stadium:  “What a thrill, what an honor for Cowboys Stadium for to be part of this. We are hopeful we are going to do something really good with our attendance. I hope that what we can do with any fan at any angle is that they can see what they couldn’t see before.  When I got up this morning, I got up like we were playing a Cowboys game.”

Miller on when the Final Four will be held in Cowboys Stadium: “I think it is right around the corner. This atmosphere and these fans and just looking at the enthusiasm here in Texas has been unbelievable.”

Collins on LeBron James combination of speed, strength and power:  “What amazes me about him is how he converts that amazing speed to that vertical height. That is a tough thing to do.”

TNT’s Craig Sager interviewed Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant

Bryant on not being able to play in the All-Star Game: “I’m very disappointed. I enjoy playing in the All-Star Game. this is the best pickup game in the world. Especially in these circumstances, I would have loved to play.”

TNT’s David Aldridge interviewed Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson and Miami Heat guard Dwayne Wade

Wade on playing in Cowboys Stadium: “It is amazing. This is something that we will be able to tell our kid’s kids about.”

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Inside the NBA presented by Hyundai

Johnson, Barkley, McHale, Smith and Webber

Barkley on the overall theme of the All-Star Game: “The key to the game is have fun and break a good sweat. You don’t want anyone to get hurt, it’s just a celebration. Just go out and enjoy it.”

L.A. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was named TNT NBA Player of the Decade

Barkley on Kobe Bryant being selected as the TNT NBA Player of the Decade: “That shows you the fans don’t know anything. Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan should be the players of the decade.”

Webber: “I think my memory is getting short but I do agree.”

Smith: “From the middle of the decade until the end, I would have to say he (Bryant) was. But for the entire decade, I would have to say Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Duncan.”

Webber on his favorite moment from the NBA 2010 All-Star Weekend: “Seeing the arena. I have never seen this many people in one venue before and it is great.”

McHale: “This massive size of the event. They started playing the music and I thought about playing.”

Smith: “Coming out the tunnel on the ground floor. It gives you goose bumps to know that we were part of this to make all of this happen.”

Barkley: “On Friday night the TNT guys started having the best conversation about our favorite memories of basketball. It was the greatest conversation I had about basketball.  The NBA All-Star weekend is the best. It is like a walking basketball card.”

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One Response to “Notes from TNT’s Coverage of the 2009 NBA All-Star Game from Phoenix – Sunday, February 14, 2010: Dwyane Wade Gets His Flash Strong”

  1. TC says:

    Thanks as always Mizz for the recap. I think Chuck and CWebb were right on about the players of the decade. Honestly I’d just give it to Timmy. I think Shaq has just slowed a little the last couple years and Timmy Duncan is just Mr. Underrated.

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