The Leadoff: Exploded faces and hurt feelings


Did you hear the news? The NBA is going to televise the All-Star draft for the All-Star game this season and it is the best news I have received since I learned that Panda Express has brought back their honey sesame chicken. My birthday was on Monday and I still was more excited when I woke up Wednesday and instantly blasted my eyes with my ESPN update I thought too good to be true.

Last year when the NBA decided to move to a draft format for the all-star game we, or at least I, assumed that we could get to watch the players draft. It is perfect, it is schoolyard basketball come to life, played at the highest level. It’s like watching a simulated game of NBA 2K19 except with real-life people talking real life [redacted] to each other. Honestly, if I had to pick between one or the other, I would rather watch the draft than the actual game itself. Can you imagine all these alpha’s, a room of men who have always been the first pick, 28 Clydesdales lining up to race, all sizing each other up and watching their ego take an uppercut with each pick that passes them by?

I don’t know if you know this but the NBA is incredibly petty, it’s a real-life soap opera and it is beautiful. Don’t believe me? Well, did you see what the Warriors did to Fergie? Or have you heard about what happened between Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher? What about Kevin Durant having burner Twitter accounts? Bobby Portis exploding Nikola Mirotic’s face? Maybe you saw Rajon Rondo give Chris Paul a crispy two-piece with a side a mashed potatoes earlier this season?

Well even if you didn’t see any of that and also didn’t click on any of the hyperlinks, (rude) (sorry if you are reading in the paper you should also check it out online if you love amazing NBA drama) just what happened last year is enough to get you excited.

Last year, Marc Stein released a piece in the New York Times that outlined why the NBA didn’t want to televise the draft.

1) The league did not want to risk embarrassing the last player chosen — or anyone else.

2) The league did not want to put the captains in a position where they might upset teammates by passing over them.

3) The league adopted both of those positions at the behest of the players’ union. Some All-Stars want the draft televised, but some don’t. So the league acquiesced.”

What is this? Elementary school? These are paid professionals and not just any professionals, but the top 20 in the entire world! We do not need to defend these grown men’s feelings in this regard. Listen, none, and I mean none, of these guys, have ever been picked later than second in a basketball game of any kind. You, me, and that other guy who aren’t 40 feet tall with jet rockets strapped to our calves have lived out this humiliation our entire lives and guess what, the chicken is coming home to roost. Can you imagine the carnage on the court when someone who was picked last sees an open lane against the opposing captain? Here is a click of Russell Westbrook getting mad last year simply because he thought he was picked last because his name was at the bottom of the list.

Have you ever gone out to the YMCA or the rec center or to wherever they have pickup games and seen a scenario where there are two guys (clearly better than the others playing) that are friends and usually on the same team, but for the sake of competitiveness between the teams, they are separated? Well, those situations go one of just only one way. The two dudes start going at it like those rams with huge horns on the side of a mountain cliff.

It’s the best because it is both a gentleman’s battle and a bloodbath together as one. Both men will act as if nothing is bothering them as they continue to hack each other until only one is standing alive after the game, yet not a single foul will be called. I imagine the entire All-Star game would happen as the scene in “The Longest Yard” when Adam Sandler tries to recruit Michael Irvin to the football team.

Throw in all the access we get to players now via social media and it is going to be the most competitive all-star game in the history of all-star games and I can’t wait. The best part is, it will only get better with each year that they have it because pettiness does not sleep.

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