An NBA All-Star Celebrity Game We'd Actually Like to See
When done correctly, there are few events more entertaining than an NBA All-Star Celebrity Game. For fans, the novelty of watching someone they've never seen play sports lace up a pair of high-tops and hit the hardwood is an incredibly entertaining experience.
However, if the teams are poorly constructed, the game turns into a series of turnovers and missed three-pointers by Justin Bieber that becomes excruciating to watch.
With Usain Bolt, Kevin Hart, Common, Maya Moore and Dikembe Mutombo on the roster, the 2013 All-Star Celebrity Game is shaping up to be one of the better contests in recent memory, but improvements could still be made.
With an eye on 2014 in New Orleans, here are 10 celebrities we would like to see play on All-Star Weekend.
Over the past few decades, film director Spike Lee has become practically synonymous with New York Knicks basketball. He is a courtside regular, is featured in advertisements for the team and is often one of the most animated fans in Madison Square Garden.
Given that he may be the world's most famous Knicks fan, wouldn't it be intriguing to see if he has picked up anything from watching greats like Bernard King, Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony?
At 55 years old, Lee may not be as quick as some of the other players in a celebrity game, but his fieriness would certainly be an asset to any team. Couldn't you picture him being hit with a technical after arguing a foul call with the refs?
It's unlikely Lee will ever play in the game at this point, but anyone who has watched a Knicks game knows that he would be absolutely perfect.
With Usain Bolt slated to appear in the 2013 All-Star Celebrity Game, it is only fair we look at other athletes who would be a blast to watch in the event.
New England's Rob Gronkowski is one of the NFL's most dominant tight ends when he is on the field, and his love of partying has turned him into one of the most entertaining athletes to follow off the field.
In addition, Gronkowski is a physical specimen, checking in at 6'6", 265 pounds. Growing up outside of Buffalo, Gronkowski played center for his high school basketball team, and it would be fascinating to see if he could still post up given his size and strength.
In an era when Justin Bieber and Kevin Hart are running the floor, it would be refreshing to see an actual athlete on the court in the 2014 All-Star Celebrity Game.
Controversy seems to follow R&B star and occasional rapper Chris Brown wherever he goes. From his alleged altercations with Drake and Frank Ocean to his infamous assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna (which he pleaded guilty to in June 2009), Brown has developed a reputation as a true hothead.
With that in mind, would you be able to pry your eyes away from an All-Star game with Brown on the floor? Besides that, he actually appears to be a decent basketball player, which makes the potential for classic television simply too great to ignore.
Seeing Kevin Hart ejected from the 2012 celebrity game was funny, and with someone like Brown on the floor, the likelihood of another ejection would be high.
The problem, of course, is that things could escalate very quickly and no longer be very jovial and lighthearted. Having Brown in the game would be fun, but no one wants to see him escorted by security to the locker room.
We've all seen clips of President Barack Obama splashing threes in a high school gym or playing H-O-R-S-E and wondered to ourselves just how good the POTUS actually is.
Obviously, Obama participating in a celebrity All-Star game is beyond unlikely, but the thought of the leader of the free world executing a crossover dribble or spotting up for a three from the corner is too tantalizing to ignore.
Obama, a diehard Chicago Bulls fan, would undoubtedly run the point and potentially form a lethal backcourt with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
The only problem with including Obama in the game is that he may be treated with too much reverence. What referee would want to call a blocking foul on the Commander-in-Chief?
Since his retirement, rumors have swirled about whether Michael Jordan could still play basketball at an NBA level. Recently, Antawn Jamison said he believes Jordan could be a solid contributor and average double-digit points even at 50 years of age.
With all the speculation that goes on, wouldn't it be great to see Jordan actually suit up again, even if it is only in a celebrity All-Star game?
Former players are always part of the contest, and even though his explosiveness is gone, Jordan remains a fiery competitor who likely still has his shooting ability intact. Whether or not it even means anything, do you think Jordan would settle for anything less than an MVP award?
The problem is that this kind of event would not fit with Jordan's image. These games have always been somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and once His Airness steps onto a basketball court, there isn't anything to laugh about.
Unless he were to pull out the famous Jordan shrug while knocking down treys over Nick Cannon. Now that would be funny.
Long before he was the star of How I Met Your Mother and I Love You, Man, Jason Segel actually played high school basketball. In fact, the 6'4" Segel was a backup to future NBA players Jason and Jarron Collins while at California's Harvard-Westlake School.
Though Segel may seem like more of an oaf than an athlete in his films, it would be endlessly entertaining to see him playing with his back to the basket in the celebrity game and finally getting the chance to shine with those pesky Collins boys out of the way.
On screen, Segel has played a good amount of basketball, both in How I Met Your Mother and the film Jeff, Who Lives at Home. Whether or not he succeeded, watching Segel try to translate that into an actual game would be well worth watching.
Also, we have to honor someone who throws his hat into the LeBron-MJ debate on screen.
Long before Tauheed Epps picked up a microphone, he was actually a Division I basketball player at Alabama State.
In the 1996-97 season, the man who came to be known as 2 Chainz posted three points, 2.2 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game on 45 percent shooting from the field and 35.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
According to his teammates and high school coaches, he was a versatile player capable of logging time at multiple positions, handling the ball and shooting from the perimeter.
Epps even had interest from the University of Memphis' basketball team, which ultimately passed on the Atlanta product because he was too skinny. Still, the fact that he garnered interest from a major program is certainly commendable in its own right.
At 35 years old, his best days of basketball are clearly behind him, but who wouldn't want to see 2 Chainz step on the floor and run the show?
Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless
If I had to pick one, I would go with Stephen A. Smith because he has collegiate experience after playing at Winston-Salem State University, but the reality is that Smith and Skip Bayless are simply inseparable.
While Smith still has somewhat of a jump shot, Bayless' basketball abilities remain unclear. According to Bayless himself, he was an outside shooter whose high school coach forced him to run the point. By his senior season, Bayless was terrified to shoot and spent his time on the floor feeding the big men in the paint.
Because of their back-and-forth dynamic on ESPN's First Take, conventional wisdom may seem to point to putting the two journalists on opposite teams and watching them duke it out. However, better entertainment may come from forcing the two to play alongside each other.
Imagine Bayless jacking up a deep three-pointer early in the shot clock and Smith calling timeout from the sideline to rip into his teammate for five straight minutes. Or picture Smith driving into the paint and turning the ball over, prompting Bayless to explain every possible alternative that could have happened if Smith had just dished the rock.
The game may devolve into a shouting match midway through the third quarter, but putting Smith and Bayless in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game would be simply too good to pass up.
The 6'3" Will Ferrell has done everything from playing NBA security and ejecting Shaquille O'Neal, to pulling voice-over duty for the New Orleans Hornets to inventing the alley-oop. It seems that the only thing left for Ferrell to do in the basketball world, besides join an NBA team, is play in the celebrity game.
Like Jason Segel, Ferrell appears to be rather clumsy, but if any of his training from Semi-Pro stuck with him, he could be a threat to run his team's offense and call wildly elaborate plays.
In order to make a worthwhile game, we need it to look like a real basketball game, and having size out on the floor makes the whole event seem more legitimate.
Of course, for Ferrell to play his best basketball, he is going to need a pair of short shorts and an Afro wig, but that is beside the point.