Thought the actual NBA All-Star Game gets sloppy? The Celebrity All-Star Game combines messy basketball with famous people, most of whom are not known for playing basketball.
On the bright side, notorious ball-hog Kevin Hart won't unfairly win his fifth MVP fan vote. Instead, he'll retire into a coaching role, where he'll lead Team USA against Drake's Team Canada. Those who read that sentence and chuckled instead of groaned can tune into ESPN on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.
Barring a "Loser gets Justin Bieber" stipulation, the final outcome means little in the world's only pickup game simultaneously featuring current WNBA stars, former NBA ballers and that guy from Arcade Fire. But let's be honest: Most of us don't have anything better to do. Might as well make this interesting.
After examining the rosters, courtesy of NBA.com, let's see who will garner the nation's adoration with a prestigious Celebrity All-Star Game victory.
|Canada||Claim to Fame||Team USA||Claim to Fame|
|Stephan James||Playing Jesse Owens in "Race"||Jason Sudeikis||Former SNL cast member, "Race"|
|Win Butler||Lead singer of Arcade Fire||Anthony Anderson||Actor, comedian, star of ABC's "blackish"|
|Drew Scott||HGTV's "Property Brothers"||Joel David Moore||Actor, "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story"|
|Jonathan Scott||HGTV's "Property Brothers"||Nick Cannon||"America's Got Talent"|
|Milos Raonic||Professional tennis player||Chauncey Billups||Five-time NBA All-Star, ESPN analyst|
|Kris Wu||Actor, singer||Muggsy Bogues||"Space Jam," Former NBA point guard|
|Tracy McGrady||Seven-time NBA All-Star||Marc Lasry||Co-owner, Milwaukee Bucks|
|Rick Fox||Three-time NBA Champion, NBA TV analyst||Elena Delle Donne||2015 WNBA MVP, Chicago Sky|
|Tammy Sutton-Brown||Former two-time WNBA All-Star|
The former NBA players usually enter the celebrity contest with their playing days long behind them. Last year, 44-year-old Allan Houston and 52-year-old Chris Mullin limped into New York with rusty jump shots and rustier knees.
That's not the case this year. Tracy McGrady, 36, briefly participated in the 2013 NBA Finals before retiring. He didn't score a point for the San Antonio Spurs, but head coach Gregg Popovich doesn't seem like the type of guy to have signed him out of charity.
Before that, McGrady averaged 25.0 points and 7.2 rebounds in the Chinese Basketball Association. No offense to Nick Cannon, but he's probably not as good of a basketball player as professionals balling overseas for a living.
On the other side, the U.S. gets 39-year-old Chauncey Billups, whose number the Detroit Pistons officially retired on Wednesday night. The point guard concluded his career two years ago, and while he won't team up with Richard Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, he gets the WNBA's reigning scoring champ, Elena Delle Donne.
Muggsy Bogues, 51, probably no longer has the hops to dunk, but at least Hart can directly look one of his players in the eyes. Maybe Zach LaVine will help retrieve his talents from the Monstars in time to help Team USA.
Each squad has a former All-Star not too far removed from his glory days. Billups can orchestrate the offense in one last attempt at validating his Mr. Big Shot nickname, and McGrady may very well have the skills left to dunk one last time for his old Toronto fans.
Rick Fox, 46, could carry a sharp shooting stroke, but McGrady will have to lead Canada to victory. The local club also has a one-person advantage, which means more minutes for the other side's ringers. With Billups and Delle Donne leading the charge, Team USA narrowly prevails.
Prediction: USA 60, Canada 57
There's no honor in Celebrity All-Star Game MVP voting. Fans have tainted the process by constantly selecting Hart, who basked in the spotlight at the expense of cohesive ball movement.
Writing for Grantland, Jason Concepcion stood bravely as the voice of reason against this grave injustice:
Hart’s fourth consecutive Celebrity Game MVP trophy should come with an asterisk, a footnote, a dismissive hand-wave emoji, a cynical head shake, and an investigation into the corrosive influence of brands. It’s absurd to call a celeb game MVP award disgraceful, but this was a disgrace; like a clown car where only one clown comes out.
Perhaps Hart heard Concepcion's outcry. The actor announced his intentions to hog all of the attention in another way this time around:
I want to congratulate all of the participants in this years @NBA all star weekend...This year I feel like I need to takeover something else— Kevin Hart (@KevinHart4real) February 5, 2016
So there's no comedian who sells out Madison Square Garden. There's no teen heart-throb like Bieber to win the 15-year-old girl vote. Could somebody actually win on basketball merit, or will the next most popular celebrity standing rise up the ballot?
Cannon has the mainstream recognition to again bring doubt to the V in MVP. Then again, he also got mercilessly booed at MSG two years ago for being Nick Cannon. Somebody isn't popular merely by others knowing he exists.
If Steve Nash ditched the assistant coach gig and ran Canada's offense instead, he'd leapfrog over everyone as the frontrunner. Then again, what if Hart decides to call his own number if ESPN's cameras don't pay enough attention to his antics off the court?
This is quite the pickle, so let's choose the one participant currently playing basketball at an elite level. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Delle Donne posted the WNBA's highest player efficiency rating (32.75 PER) since Lauren Jackson's 35.04 PER in 2007.
The Chicago Sky superstar, who at 6'5" hovers more than a foot over Hart and Bogues, shatters every lazy WNBA stereotype. Vice.com's Howard Medgal discussed Delle Donne's all-around domination over the league:
...She is Dirk Nowitzki when she drops her signature stepback over an overmatched defender or two, or three. When she beats the double-team to the hoop with second and third efforts, she's Carmelo Anthony; when she presents defenders with an impossible decision around the three-point arc, she's Kevin Durant. And when she grabs a rebound and starts a fast break, gliding through defenders too slow to maneuver in front of her, she's a LeBron James-ian freight train. (She also makes her free throws, at an impossible 94.3 percent career rate; Steve Nash's NBA-record mark is 90.4.)
Sounds better than Anthony Anderson, right?
MVP Winner: Elena Delle Donne