From the time the 2014 NBA All-Star Jam session opened up the huge weekend last Thursday, till the Eastern Conference knocked off the West 163-155 in the highest scoring All-Star Game ever, the host city was as gracious and grateful to host the NBA as any city in the world could have been.
"New Orleans has been great. We've really been able to have a great time and the league is pleased with the turnout of events," said Patrick Sullivan, Vice President of NBA Events.
This year marked the second time since 2008 that the NBA All-Star Game was in the City of New Orleans. Yes, once again, the place that can host, entertain and party with a purpose (or without one) better than any other place on the planet was a part of history.
The best Skills competition ever, one of the greatest 3-point shootouts, and the "dunk" that brought back the annual Slam Dunk Contest were just three of a lifetime of things that took place during All-Star Weekend.
Who will ever forget after the first quarter of Sunday night's game that everyone in Smoothie King Center chimed in to sing "Happy Birthday" to the league's greatest champion of all-time. The ever so known tune "Happy Birthday" is the most used song in the world, but perhaps the most famous rendition in the history of sports took place Sunday Night. With 11 time world champion Bill Russell courtside, a special NBA moment happened as everyone joined in to wish #6 a Happy 80th Birthday.
Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and many others raved about being able to be a part of that special historic moment. And yes, it happened in New Orleans, Louisiana!
Or what about the incredible hip-hop pre-game reunion that saw Pharrell Williams (who once gained national exposure by singing back-up on Mystikal's "Shake it Fast") came out and roared the crowd before the game began. It was another historic All-Star moment as Williams did his thing and then welcomed onto the stage Diddy and Busta Rhymes. Then the Snoop Dee oh double Gee waltzed onto the stage to sing Beautiful. Man, was that another classic moment or what? And all of this took place less than 24 hours after perhaps the greatest NBA All Star Saturday Night went down in the very same location the day before.
In the closest Skills competition ever, Trey Burke and Damian Lillard beat out Michael Carter Williams and Victor Olapido by a tenth of a second to win the Skills title.
The drama would reach a fever pitch later as Washington's Bradley Beal hit his final six shots to force a 60 second playoff in the final round of the NBA 3-Point Shootout. Beal caught fire and the fans were the big winners as overtime was needed to decide this winner of this year's event. In the playoff round, San Antonio's Marco Belinelli filled it up to the tune of 24 points to capture the 3-point title.
Then the nightcap saw the Hall of Fame panel of Dunk Contest Judges give excellent reviews to this year's dunkers. The great Julius "Dr. J" Irving, Earvin "Magic" Johnson and the "Human Highlight" Dominique Wilkins all went wild over what they saw on the floor.
The Eastern Team knocked off the West in Team Dunk competition and Washington's John Wall was voted as the best Dunker. In fact the winning dunk by Wall prompted Dr. J to say "that dunk brought back the dunk contest," need I say more?
Then, the already historic, super star filled weekend ended on an even higher note as the highest scoring All-Star Game went down as the East beat the West 163-155 for a record total of 318 points. For those keeping up with the odds, the total on the game was 293 so if you had the over you are making a nice deposit today I would assume!
Blake Griffin had over 10 dunks by halftime in a first half that featured a record number of points (165) with the West up 89-76 at the break. Kevin Durant poured in 38 points, Carmelo Anthony made a record eight 3-pointers band Cleveland's Kyrie Irving took home the MVP in an instant classic.
The game was so entertaining and so many marquee moments went down that I watched the encore presentation right after the live broadcast was finished. Yes folks New Orleans is a football town, but the NBA has found out in two trips that know other place can have a ball, share a ball, and make players ball-so-hard.
With another outstanding job of hosting the NBA's showcase event, you can best believe that the Big Easy is clearly on the NBA's radar for hosting future All-Star Games, and I would bet that it would host another game sooner than later!
So to those of you who took time to enjoy some excellent, quality, family fun at the NBA Jam Session, to those who had the pleasure of going to the All-Star Game itself, the Big Easy, made it so easy for all to have a great time. And simply because that's what we do down here!