It would've been better if the coaches made the players perform drills like the spider, the Cousy or the box-out circle. Hell, even watching these anointed "stars" running suicides would've been riveting compared to the whatever on display at the George R. Brown Convention Center on Friday morning.
These things didn't happen during the Rising Stars practices, which can be summed up by some things overheard from media members during the interview portion of the "event."
"He's an All-Star, don't you know?"
"Can you tell me what his name is?"
"I was hoping they would have their names on their jerseys. I don't even know who these guys are."
That last one was uttered by a reporter from a local publication. Here's a hint: It starts with "Houston" and doesn't end in "Press."
Since 1994, the Rising Stars Challenge (formerly known as the Rookie Challenge), featuring first- and second-year players, has been played the Friday before Sunday's NBA All-Star game. Friday's "practice" consisted of dudes going 15 percent and playing grab-ass at the top of the three-point arc for 45 minutes.
Starting in 2012, the two teams have featured players drafted by Shaquille O'Neal (Team Shaq) and Charles Barkley (Team Chuck). But Shaq and Chuck don't actually coach the teams.
They also didn't show up to the media availability portion of the session.
One by one, players from both teams took seats at a long stage. The press corps, consisting of 99 percent dudes, swept in, jockeying for position to ask Mr. Anonymous NBAer questions. More likely than not, they forgot the most important inquiries: "Who the hell are you and how come my life sucks so bad that I have to be here doing this?"
"It looks like somebody stepped on an anthill and the ants all dispersed to one location," said one of our colleagues as Hair Balls kicked back and laughed at the fact that a few reporters, apparently trying to fit in with the environment, wore slacks with brightly colored Nike sneakers that only junior-high and high-school kids typically wear.
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SHOW ME HOW
Either way, we actually feel bad for these folks. It would suck to have an insane editor on our ass about speaking with a player that will probably average 1.9 points per game in his four-year career.
Every multiple-day event needs an undercard. We'll forgive the NBA, but not the old guy journalists sporting fluorescent accented basketball shoes.
The Rising Stars Challenge is scheduled to take place at 8 p.m. Friday at the Toyota Center, 1510 Polk Street.