As I sit here on a half full flight with an empty seat next to me and several other ones sprinkled throughout the plane headed back home to Toronto, I realize that I’m in the midst of one of the more peaceful moments ( I mean that in a good way) since Friday morning when this NBL All Star Whirlwind Weekend got started.
It’s my first moment to really reflect and collect my thoughts on what turned out to be a very busy weekend. You see, when my man, Mic Boogie, his son Michael Jr. and I were making the trip from Toronto to Halifax to be a part of the NBL’s inaugural All Star Weekend, we really didn’t know what to expect. It would be my first time visiting Halifax and I figured that if things didn’t go well I could at least say that I got to visit somewhere new.
I was slated to host the 3 Point and Slam Dunk competitions, conduct some player interviews and help with a bunch of on court promotions while Mic was the All Star game half time show and also was going to open up the game by performing the NBL theme song, “How We Ball”.
As I thought more about the weekend, I figured that being a part of an event like this certainly would make for good bragging rights at the very least. It’s not often that you can say that you played a role in the “Inaugural” All Star Weekend of a blossoming basketball league.
It was a very cool experience and I’m glad that I was able to be a part of it.
The moment we stepped off the plane into the cool Halifax breeze, you could just feel the excitement and buzz in the air and we knew we were in store for a great weekend.
The weekend itself was filled with a ton of great fan friendly events designed to showcase the great talent throughout the league. Things got kicked off on Saturday morning when onehalf of the All Stars representing Team Haywood made a hospital visit to kids at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. The rest of the All Stars, Team Smith hosted a free basketball clinic at the Halifax Metro Centre that both the kids and their parents enjoyed.
Later that afternoon, the NBL All Stars held an open practice and gave fans a chance to see the type of drills and exercises they use to help prepare be ready for game time. This was followed by an autograph session which created more opportunities for fans to interact with their favourite NBL player.
The Legends game was up next and it featured basketball legends from across the country who were on hand to celebrate their talent. It included the likes of NBA All-Star and Head Coach of the London Lightning, Micheal Ray Richardson, former NBA player and head coach Sam Mitchell, Les Berry, past Rainmen Head Coach and Will Njoku, Moncton Miracles Assistant Coach and 1994 NBA Draft Pick plus many many more.
As they day moved on, the Eastlink 3 Point Shoot Out and the Rogers Slam Dunk Competition took center stage and fans at the Metro Centre were treated to a fine display of basketball talent. It turned out to be a London sweep as both events were won by Lightning players. DeAnthony Bowden narrowly edged out home town favourite, Tyrone Levitt in the Eastlink 3 Point Shoot Out and Jamar Abrams threw down a thrilling dunk that brought the whole building out of their seats to capture the Rogers Slam Dunk Contest.
It was a perfect way to conclude the day’s events.
The All-Star Breakfast kicked off the events on Sunday and end of the season awards were handed out to the worthy recipients.
Visit the link below to see the full list of winners.
There was lots of anticipation and excitement around Sunday’s Inaugural All Star Game because that’s when the league would showcase its talent and fans in attendance get the chance to watch players they may not normally have a chance to see on a regular basis in action. As a hoop junkie myself, it was thrilling to watch the best players from around the league show what they can do and the fans were certainly entertained.
The combined total from the final score saw over 300 points up on the scoreboard so there was a non-stop flurry of highlight reel dunks, slick passes and exciting plays that kept the energy in the building up.
It might have been Team Haywood who walked away with the victory but in reality the final score really didn’t matter as it was the fans in attendance who were the real winners as they can now boastfully brag and say that they were a part of the NBL’s Inaugural All Star Weekend.
To see more photos from the weekend’s events, please visit the link below to view them.