Last Week in Sports | 2/12 – 2/19
Did you see it? NBA All-Star Weekend came and went like a Wakandan aircraft. Here’s last week in sports…
NBA All-Star Weekend Highlights
Devin Booker posted a single round record 28 points in the three-point contest on Saturday (bear in mind that there are only 25 available shots), never missing consecutive buckets on his way to the win. Aside from Klay Thompson, this year’s class really struggled and no one was able to put up a good fight. Booker, at only 21 years old, barely smiled. Describing his performance later he said, “It’s like an eat or be eaten mentality.”
It’s so hard to watch the dunk contest without remembering the sheer awe we felt in 2016, when Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon went for several consecutive perfect scores, but this year’s dunk contest was actually pretty solid. Aside from a few misses in the first round that ousted Victor Oladipo – though we should give him props for donning a Black Panther mask – all of the dunks were athletic, challenging, and eye-catching. Dennis Smith Jr. scored 50 in the first round on a 360 reverse, between-the-legs stunner, but still lost out due to a weak first dunk. Your runner up, Larry Nance Jr. wins the creativity award for his toss off the backboard, catch in the air, throw back off the backboard, and catch again before the slam dunk. And, ending with a throwback Vince Carter jersey and all, your winner Donovan Mitchell had enough showmanship and finesse to wow the judges with his nostalgia-ridden set.
Team LeBron and Team Stephen were more than ready by the time Sunday night rolled around, with all the hype of the new All-Star format on their shoulders. After selecting their own teams in a playground-style draft, the two captains chose local L.A. charities to play for, with the winning team’s charity set to take home a $350,000 prize. From the opening moments of the game it was clear that the players actually wanted to win – a rarity for the All-Star Game–playing defense and fighting for loose balls. By the closing moments, Team Stephen up 144 to 141, both teams were locking it down defensively, calling plays, and officials were even reviewing calls with instant replay. In the end, LeBron was able to nail a game-tying three-pointer and a layup in the paint to take the lead and secure the win. It was, in all honesty, the most entertaining All-Star game I can remember.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham, speaking on LeBron James’s recent criticism of Donald Trump, insinuated that the King was uneducated and should “shut up and dribble.” This sparked a league-wide response by the NBA, with players, pundits, and even Michele Roberts, president of the Players’ Association, speaking out on behalf of James, who responded himself during All-Star Weekend: “We will not shut up and dribble.” Ingraham defended her comments and stated that there was no racial component, something many analysts were quick to suggest.
Mikaela Shiffrin is the Star of the Olympics
Perhaps the biggest star of this year’s Olympic games, at least here in the U.S., is skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who nabbed her first gold medal of the year last week in the women’s giant slalom race. The video of Shiffrin blazing through the track is impressive and terrifying all at once. While she was the clear favorite to win from the start, every US ski fan breathed a sigh of relief when she officially took home the gold by .34 seconds. Shiffrin is expected to take home one more medal before the end of the Pyeongchang Olympics. At only 22 years old, she already has 41 World Cup victories and two gold medals.
On a slightly controversial note, Shiffrin pulled out of the women’s downhill race, citing concerns about a scheduling change. Some have speculated that this could have to do with her struggles with anxiety, which she has been very vocal about over the past few months. That leaves only one more opportunity for her to face off against US skiing legend Lindsey Vonn in the Alpine combined race on Thursday.