After an eventful Saturday Night, the discussion of whether or not this was the best in All-Star history have started. As a person that always pays homage to the past, I try not to become a prisoner of the moment. This time though, it's hard not to consider 2016 All-Star Saturday Night as one of the best, if not the best.
What makes an All-Star weekend a classic is the memories. Like in 1988 when Larry Bird won the three point-contest, walking away from the rack just before his last shot fell in between the net. Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins also had their classic dunk contest battle – Wilkins getting a 45 on his final dunk while Jordan admitted it deserved a 50.
Jordan also had 40 points, 4 steals, and 4 blocks in the All-Star Game, claiming his first All-Star MVP.
The memories from that weekend is what made it a classic one. 2016 had those same memories.
To begin the night, we saw a big man win the Skills Competition, Karl Anthony-Towns defeating Isiah Thomas in the Finals. This was the first year the NBA added front-court players to the competition, which is probably the best addition to the All-Star Saturday Night. Once Towns defeated Thomas, Anthony Davis, Draymond Green, and Demarcus Cousins swarmed him on the court and celebrated with Towns during the trophy ceremony.
In the three point contest, the Splash Brothers faced one another for the title, Steph Curry looking to defend his 2015 crown. Klay tied Steph's record of 27 defeating Curry on the final rack, knocking down all 5 money balls. The discussion of whether or not they are the best shooting duo in the history of the game just became more interesting. First time in Three Point contest history that teammates won consecutive years.
And the Dunk Contest......aww man
Zach Levine and Aaron Gordon put on a great show with their performance. Aaron Gordon had the greatest dunk of the night – maybe ever in Dunk Contest history – but Zach Levin was crowned champion when he put the ball in between his legs, taking off one step in front of the free throw line.
Not since 1988 have we seen two players go head-to-head in the dunk contest the way Levine and Gordon did. Levin scored a 50 three times, but Gordon put the pressure on him with creative dunks with the Magic's mascot. Each came into the contest with 3-4 planned dunks but after the dunk-off began, both had to improvise. I wouldn't call it the best dunk contest ever just yet, but it was definitely the best once since Vince Carter epic night in 2000.
Only time will tell on whether or not this will be the greatest All-Star Saturday Night - depending on how long the memories last, which is tough in the fast pace technology driven world we live in today. We still remember Jordan & Nique in '88, Vince getting all 50s in 2000; how long will we remember this Saturday Night in Toronto?