I never thought I'd be longing for the days of Justin Bieber, MVP
The NBA recently announced the "celebrity" lineup of the 2012 All-Star Celebrity Game. Unfortunately the lineup is majorly lacking in one key component—actual celebrities. That's not exactly a minor oversight given the circumstances.
Nobody expects the NBA to land 20 A-list celebrity participants—between work and play, most A-list celebrities keep a pretty full schedule. What we do expect is that the NBA, a major professional sports league, has enough clout to score at least one high-profile celebrity and a smattering of entertaining C/D-listers.
They actually did a pretty good job in 2011. You probably aren't much of a Justin Bieber fan (who is?), but there's no denying that little Canadian songbird, and leading cause of Bieber Fever, is a big-time star.
This year's lineup is headlined by one of those dudes from the Jersey Shore. Not The Situation or DJ Pauly D, and not even that giant one who falls down a lot; it's the other one—the scrawny momma's boy with anxiety issues.
Seriously! Someone at the NBA league office should be fired for this.
Let's take a look at some of this year's choices and determine where they went wrong, and identify a substantially better option.
The caliber of "celebrity" in the 2012 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game may be questionable, but Common's celebrity status is not.
The only issue with Common is that he played in the game last year—is it too much to ask the NBA to find different celebrities every year?
Grammy-nominated rapper Wiz Khalifa is coming off one hell of a year and would have been a great addition to the game.
Wiz is current, a huge sports fan, a little controversial and he's got attention-demanding arm candy in girlfriend Amber Rose—who, you may recall, is Kanye West's ex.
In the NBA's official press release announcing this year's lineup, retired player Nick "The Brick" Anderson was described as an "NBA legend."
No disrespect, but that characterization is absurd. Michael Jordan is an NBA legend—Anderson is a "retired player who never lived up to his potential."
Obviously that wouldn't have sounded as good in the press release, but at least we'd have been in a more honest place.
This is a guy who knows how to put on a show
Love him or hate him, and I know you hate him, there's no denying that Dennis Rodman is an actual NBA legend. Rodman absolutely demands attention—he's a loose cannon and, more importantly, he's an entertainer.
Surely he can't have that much on his calendar these days—he'd probably be more than willing to take a break from shopping for trucker hats and undershirts to participate in the game.
Especially if the league throws in a little skrilla or a case of the hard stuff to sweeten the deal.
When I saw this guy's name on the NBA's press release, I had absolutely no clue who he was.
My first thought after a quick Google search was that perhaps Jesse Williams being included was the NBA's way of throwing lady viewers a bone.
Clearly this guy is an attractive man, but the NBA is about star power—and this guy is C-list (at best).
That's right—he's friends with Kevin Bacon
If we're going to go the Hollywood actor route, how about Leonardo DiCaprio (or Kevin Bacon for that matter)?
DiCaprio is a well-known Los Angeles Lakers fanatic who is a permanent fixture courtside at the Staples Center—one of the NBA's many A-list fans. DiCaprio has star power and personality and he's usually accompanied by one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Surely the names Bar Rafaeli, Blake Lively, Gisele Bundchen and Helena Christensen all ring a bell—just a few of LD's ridiculously hot lady loves.
If you have absolutely no idea who this Javier Colon guy is—you're not alone.
Apparently he's the winner of the first season of NBC's singing contest thing The Voice, which (apparently) is a very popular program.
I can't say this with any certainty, but it's my guess that there's not much overlap in the audiences for the NBA and for The Voice.
Beyonce is a legit superstar—that's what the NBA is all about!
How about skipping the talent-contest winner and putting in a call to the owner of the New Jersey Nets—who happens to have a little pull with Ms. Beyonce, a global superstar entertainer?
Maybe Beyonce could bring along those two broads from Destiny's Child for a mini-reunion and perform one of their classic hits!
Obviously a complete long shot—but, unless everyone involved is hooched to high heaven on the hard stuff, always shoot for the top and work your way down.
ESPN's Doug Gottlieb isn't that bad of a choice—he did play ball in college and had a brief professional career overseas.
Since then he's built a pretty solid career out of being the ESPN guy who you initially think is Mike Greenberg, but get confused when he won't stop talking about basketball.
That being said, Gottlieb certainly isn't exactly an excellent choice either—he's the human equivalent of a shoulder shrug.
ESPN's Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith are, quite literally, two of the most irritating people on the planet and in the history of television. Oh, and I think I know how they would respond to that comment:
Skip Bayless: "Are you KIDDING ME? What did you just say about Tim Tebow?!"
Stephen A.: "Don't be so DISRESPECTFUL! That's asinine, asi-10, asi-11 and asi-12!"
But these combative colleagues are also highly entertaining when you put them together—assuming uncontrollable screaming doesn't bring back any troubling childhood memories.
Seriously, just look at that picture.
This is the third (and fourth) "celebrity" that I have never heard of—and keep in mind that I write about pop culture for a living.
According to my research, Drew and Jonathan Scott are Canadian twin brothers who flip houses professionally and someone decided that they deserve their own show.
If you've been wondering what '90s novelty rap superstar Vanilla Ice has been up to—stop wondering boss, because I'm about to lay it on you.
Ice has mercifully given up on resurrecting his music career and is currently hosting a renovation reality show on the DIY Network. Which is fantastic—because Ice Ice Baby will never die, but that doesn't mean Vanilla Ice isn't still an entertainer.
According to Wikipedia, Ice invested much of his "Ice Ice Baby" money in real estate way back when—which is why he's such a handyman today. If only MC Hammer had learned a valuable skill...
J.B. Smoove was one of the few celebrity selections that I actually loved—but I've got a suggestion on how to make it just a teeny bit more baller.
J.B. Smoove + Larry David = a teeny bit more baller.
This show has been on the air forever, so I won't gush about how hilarious it is—but if you haven't seen these two together on Curb Your Enthusiasm, you are definitely missing out.
They are both great individually, but when you put them together—it's magical.
Apparently Jersey Shore's Vinny Guadagnino scored a place in the game after rallying his 2.7 million Twitter followers to harass the NBA into including him. Just let that statement marinate in your mind for a moment.
In terms of the "Jersey" ideal defined on that show—Vinny is an abject failure.
He's not a guido gorilla juicehead.
He's not even the slightest bit tan (when standing next to anyone on the cast).
He's not a sharp dresser (I'm not sure sure he owns a single Ed Hardy trucker hat!).
He doesn't have a stupid haircut with stars shaved into the side of his skull.
He's the only cast member with "anxiety issues," and "feelings."
He weeps like a baby when he misses his mother.
All of that and he still has 2.7 million Twitter followers and is basically the headlining celebrity for the NBA All-Star Celebrity game. What a world...
If you're going to do Jersey Shore, then at least do it right—and doing it right means JWoww and Snooki...and maybe DJ Pauly D (yeah buddy!).
Between JWoww's cartoonishly bodacious boobs and a wardrobe that would make any stripper jealous, and Snooki being just a shade over smurf height and drunk by dusk every night of the week—these two combine to form a two-person circus sideshow that is impossible to ignore.
Unlike Vinny Guadagnino, who is absolutely forgettable—if only MTV would just let us.
I thought Tebow Mania would cease during the NFL offseason—I was wrong
Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow could have single-handedly upped the star power of this event—and no, it does not matter that he only competed 40 percent of his passes this season. In fact, this is the one time that doesn't matter.
Here are some other amazing suggestions to pass on to the NBA league office:
1. Gary Busey
3. CM Punk
4. Nyjer Morgan
5. John Daly
6. Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz
7. Alex Trebek
8. Christopher Walken
9. Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen