A Casual Fan's Guide to NBA All-Star Weekend

Ben Leibowitz@BenLeboCorrespondent IIIFebruary 15, 2013

A Casual Fan's Guide to NBA All-Star Weekend

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    In a world filled with die-hard NBA fans, bandwagon riders pretending they’ve been around all along and those sports aficionados who would much rather watch football every Sunday, casual NBA fans can get muddled into that mix.

    Perhaps you don’t have a favorite NBA team and simply cheer for your favorite players. Maybe you’re simply a fan of three-point barrages and powerful slam-dunks.

    Whatever the case may be, watching the NBA All-Star weekend can sometimes be just as entertaining as high-octane playoff basketball with everything on the line.

    So, without further delay, here’s a casual fan’s guide to the All-Star festivities with various reasons why you should tune in this weekend.

5. Camaraderie

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    When watching your run-of-the-mill NBA regular season game, it’s just another day at the office for players and coaches. While basketball is a game, for NBA players, it’s also their job.

    Tensions run high, playing time is on the line and potential playoff seeding hangs in the balance.

    During NBA All-Star weekend however, that tension slinks away. Instead of being opponents, everyone is out to have a good time and cheer each other on.

    Whether players in attendance are teammates of three-point shootout contestants or slam dunk competitors, they want to cheer for something amazing.

    Smiles, high fives and laughter replace chippy battles in the trenches, flagrant fouls and technicals.

    All-Star weekend provides a nice change of pace, as well as a close look into the personalities of players in attendance.

    Where else can you see a dance off between some of the world's greatest athletes?

4. Friendly Competition

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    Although fierce NBA rivalries carry a certain amount of weight with NBA die-hards, fans that don’t know the history of said rivalries may prefer to see friendly competition.

    A tremendous example of this occurred during the 2009 Slam Dunk Contest, when Nate “Krypto-Nate” Robinson jumped and dunked over Dwight “Superman” Howard.

    Howard didn’t have to allow Robinson to dunk over him, but in the spirit of friendly competition, Howard was a good sport and allowed the Kodak moment to take place.

    As a result of the dunk, Robinson de-throned Howard as Slam Dunk champion. He became a back-to-back winner by nabbing the Slam Dunk title again in 2010.

    The Nate/Dwight “rivalry” in the dunk contest is just one of many examples portraying friendly competition between NBA stars during All-Star weekend.

    If nothing else, those moments should give you a warm feeling inside.

3. Originality

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    Although judges for the Slam Dunk Contest may be quite subjective when grading one dunk against the next, you’re sure to see eye-popping originality from the NBA’s best dunkers.

    Whether it’s Gerald Green blowing out a candle on a cupcake while dunking, JaVale McGee dunking three basketballs at once, Serge Ibaka nabbing a child’s toy off the rim with his teeth while dunking or Dwight Howard slapping a sticker 12-plus feet up on the backboard while throwing one down, the dunk contest provides for a great creative outlet.

    If you’re able to watch dunk contests from 20 years ago, you’ll see just how spoiled today’s NBA fans are by comparison.

    Not only do players need to bring power and athleticism, but often times, the competitors have to dream up something completely original.

2. Scoring

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    Casual NBA fans might not enjoy watching a 71-69 win the Boston Celtics pulled out against the Chicago Bulls earlier this week. NBA coaches and the most hardcore of fans appreciate defensive efforts, but low-scoring affairs are generally labeled as ugly basketball.

    That’s certainly not going to be the case for Sunday’s All-Star game.

    With arguably the best basketball players on the planet going at it, they’ll easily double the output of that 71-69 slugfest.  Heck, they'll probably reach that score by half-time.

    A lack of defense coupled with beautifully unselfish basketball leads to high-scoring affairs in All-Star competition.

    Be prepared for a high-scoring affair loaded with high-flying dunks and deep three-pointers.

1. Seeing the Best of the Best

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    As a die-hard Phoenix Suns fan, I’d have to wait for national broadcasts or watch the Suns receive an old-fashioned beatdown against the league's elite before I'd see the NBA’s most talented stars.

    During All-Star weekend however, all of the NBA’s best talents are on display. Not only that, but players named Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant will be on the court at the same time, as teammates.

    Watching the best of the best take their talents to the court at the same time on the same broadcast may upgrade your "casual fan" status quite quickly.