Arne Duncan belongs on the Mount Rushmore of NBA Celebrity All-Star Games.
Leading his East squad to a surprisingly entertaining 60-56 victory, the Secretary of Education scored a celebrity game-record 20 points to go with 11 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
Yahoo! Sports' Dan Devine gave a look at the final box score—yes, there was a box score:
Your final box score: pic.twitter.com/1UzX9uGDNn— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) February 15, 2014
Kevin Hart was named MVP—ahem, fan voting—in the losing effort, but he thankfully gave up the award to Duncan.
Kevin Hart wins the NBA Celebrity All-Star game MVP again, but gives it to Arne Duncan pic.twitter.com/dkVV4ouOZm— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 15, 2014
Prior to the game, Duncan tweeted out this:
"No joking around" indeed. The former Harvard basketball star meant all business, and that was evident from the opening introductions, which Barstool Sports' John Feitelberg gave us a look at:
Arne Duncan, having a blast at the celeb all star game! https://t.co/ECXVzhCtB9— John Feitelberg (@JFeitelberg) February 15, 2014
That unrelenting focus turned into immediate success, as Duncan grabbed an early offensive rebound, got Snoop D-O-Double-G into the air with a pump fake and scored the first basket of the game. From there, he did it all—set screens, played defense, ran the break and delivered pinpoint passes.
Then, with the game on the line in the waning minutes, he delivered the play of the game with a no-look dime to Skylar Diggins:
Diggins was a major contributor for the East squad with 16 points, while former USC basketball player Romeo Miller—perhaps better known as Lil' Romeo—provided a major spark. He was key during a 10-0 run in the third quarter, drilled a game-sealing three-pointer in the final minute and finished with 13 points, six rebounds and two steals.
Of course, in the competitive back-and-forth game, there was plenty of talent on the other side of the ball.
Grey's Anatomy's Jesse Williams and Friday Night Lights' Michael B. Jordan stood out for the West squad. Williams had 11 points, eight rebounds, six steals and was even matching up with Duncan down the stretch, while Jordan lived up to his name with 16 points and seven rebounds off the bench. Both of them, however, missed some key free throws during clutch moments.
MJ would have had one more assist to his tally, but Mike Golic did pretty much exactly what you would expect from a former defensive tackle on this play:
For most of the game, it was rough-going for two-time MVP Kevin Hart, who finished with just seven points on 2-of-11 shooting with four assists and a technical. He nearly led a late comeback, though, with a couple of free throws, a basket and a dish to Snoop, who hit a clutch three and had to cool off:
But it wasn't enough, as Duncan, Diggins and Miller helped the East pulled away in the end.