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The best of the best: NBA All-Star photos that resonate beyond basketball

The 2021 NBA All-Star Game was, of course, different from any other all-star game in the past. And the NBA All-Star photos were consequently the same.

Still, although there weren’t fans at this All-Star Game, the NBA’s best showed off their athleticism and insane basketball skills. Giannis Antetokounmpo won the MVP, and Steph Curry and Damian Lillard put on a 3-point shooting clinic.

When I was sitting watching All-Star Sunday, I became nostalgic for All-Star Weekends in the past.

So to cure this sadness, let’s go through some of the best moments of past NBA All-Star games. There is no order, these are just some of the best NBA All-Star photos that we will remember forever.

LeBron and Giannis star in this iconic NBA All-Star photo

nba all-star photos
LeBron and Giannis with even more stars behind them in the 2020 NBA All-Star game (via @kingjames

Giannis coming off his MVP season and standing as the frontrunner for another.

LeBron having a bounce-back MVP-caliber season with the Lakers as the one seed. The two biggest stars in the game facing off, and the game came down to the wire.

And then came this spectacular NBA All-Star photo, as LeBron and Giannis are gazed upon by the biggest stars the entertainment world has to offer. Thus, this is one of the most iconic NBA All-Star photos of all time.

Michael Jordan flies to greatness

nba all-star photos
Jordan flies from the free-throw line, to throw down his famous “free throw” line dunk. (Bleacher Report)

Although this list will primarily be the actual All-Star Games, there is just no ignoring what Michael Jordan did in the 1988 event. Not to mention this All-Star Weekend was in his own Chicago.

His weekend started off with a jaw-dropping slam dunk performance and ultimate win, highlighted by his free throw line dunk. A dunk that will never cease to be a highlight.

Then during the All-Star Game, he came out on the winning side notching 40 points and winning the ASG MVP. This NBA All-Star photo will live on in basketball lore forever.

Shaq disrespects David Robinson

nba all-star photos
Shaq dunks on Duncan Robinson (NBA)

On his home court no less. In 1996, Shaq came into David Robinson’s San Antonio and completely stole the show, with a stat line of 25 points and 10 rebounds.

Players can have good games, but the dunk he laid on David Robinson’s face was one for the highlight reel. Just an insane act of athleticism and brute strength. 

And consequently, an insane NBA All-Star photo we will always remember.

Allen Iverson steals the show

Allen Iverson maneuvers his way for a layup against Kobe Bryant (

Most All-Star Games have no play style to them. They are filled with dunks, highlight plays, but a clear lack of rhythm. There is rarely defense and games in the clutch.

However in 2001, Allen Iverson wanted to win, and wanted to win bad.

He was always the David to the NBAs Goliath and had to continually prove he was one of the best. Well, after his side fell behind big in the fourth quarter, he scored 15 of his 25 points to give his side the win 111-110!

Kobe Bryant’s final All-Star game

LeBron James gets ready to guard Kobe Bryant (NBA)

There have always been “lasts” in the sports world, and in the NBA we have had legend after legend complete in their final All-Star games, which are all great moments. However, Kobe’s last ASG now holds the most weight.

The late, great NBA legend Kobe Bryant played his final ASG in 2016. He was playing against other greats throughout the NBA that all looked up to him growing up, and now he was moving on.

Kobe didn’t have an amazing game, but that wasn’t the storyline, he was saying goodbye to basketball, which is what everyone came to watch.

NBA All Stars make iconic photos

Ultimately, when you have dozens of All-Star games to chose from, it can be hard to narrow down a few moments.

But there is an intense feel to every one of these photos, that resonates beyond the pictures themselves. Even more, for those who bore witness to these All-Star moments, I bet they can remember how they feel because of these photos.

NBA All-Star photos are our glimpse back into the past. And it doesn’t get much better than this.

Watch AI give the greatest interview ever while completely off the shits

Allen Iverson must be protected at all costs.

“The Answer” isn’t a Hall of Famer based off his game alone. He’s also a legend because of his “fuck it” lifestyle and classic interviews. You never know what A.I. you’re going to get when Iverson is behind the mic.

With all of that in mind, the Charlotte Hornets were host to the visiting Philadelphia 76ers last night. It was a good night for 76er fans. They got to watch their team cruise to a 128-114 victory while getting yet another gem from Iverson, who was proud of his “little guys.”

After spotting Iverson from across Charlotte’s arena, sideline reporter Molly Sullivan pulled up for a friendly chat with the former league MVP.

A.I. being A.I. was open to Sullivan’s line of questioning and put his full self on display in typical Iverson fashion. My dawg Allen Iverson was more litty than a Christmas tree in the middle of Times Square!

When Iverson was asked about his 76ers squad he said,

“I love my guys. I love my little dudes. They’re my little guys. I love ’em.”

Nothing too crazy about that right? Iverson may have sipped a few brews too many, but how often can you root for the team you love in the town you now call home?

Sullivan came back with a more challenging question as if she was interrogating Iverson, who was clearly lit! The sideline reporter asked A.I. if the 76ers have the right pieces to make some noise in the playoffs.

Like the boss he is, Iverson wasn’t phased. After a long pause and some murmurs and slurs, Iverson said,

“I would be crazy to say we think we need more. I think we got enough to be competitive like we’ve always been and I just think we have enough. It’s our time. I’m gonna believe that anyway regardless of if I think we need more pieces or whatever. I know we’ve got the best coach in the world. We’ve got the two greatest superstars that we need. We’ve got the great role players we need. I’m wit’ it. I’m along for the journey. I think we’re going to do something.”

When it comes to authenticity and being your complete self, A.I. is truly The Answer.

Iverson has transcended the game of basketball forever. Known for his killer crossover and bringing hip-hop culture to the NBA, Iverson has paved the way for today’s NBA superstars to have individuality.

Where do you rank Iverson in your top 10 basketball players of all time?

The Big3’s first weekend was a flop. Here are three ways to make it better

Ice Cube was able to summon celebrities with huge name recognition, bring in investors with deep pockets, and secure a TV deal with Fox Sports. But if the product on the court isn’t entertaining, can the Big3 league Cube created ever have sustainable success?

The first games of the inaugural season were played Sunday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but aired on television Monday night. According to Washington Post hoops writer Tim Bontemps, it took six hours to complete the games. Who is trying to sit in a basketball arena for six hours watching washed former NBA players brick jump shots?

The league consists of eight teams, each with several former NBA stars, that play games to 60, with 2-point margins of victory.

Seeing NBA legends take the court in a 3 on 3 setting brought everyone back to the late 90’s and early 2000’s when Jason Williams and Mike Bibby were dueling in the Western Conference.

But when Williams, aka White Chocolate, drove hard against Bibby, he came to a jump-stop and appeared to tear his ACL, screaming in pain as he fell to the floor. Williams, a flashy ball handler and passer who has garnered a following on Youtube with his play in pro-am tournaments, was supposed to be one of the marquee players in the league.

Besides the injuries, there was a lot that went wrong the first weekend. After watching the first games of the season, here are three ways to improve the Big3.

Shorten the games

I think Cube overthought this a little. We don’t need to watch these old dudes play to 60. The games drag on and the shot-making ability of the players isn’t consistent.

Change the format to replicate pick-up basketball at the playground. Play to 21 by one’s and two’s and winner stays on.

Get rid of the league format with a championship at the end of the season, if Cube thinks people will be checking up on the standings each week to see who is in first, second or third, he is sorely mistaken. We just want to be entertained.

Get some better referees

The refs let the games get out of hand and looked too shook to blow the whistle.

The hand-checking and physical play in the post is fine but at a certain point it needs to be reigned in or else no one will be able to score.

Mic up the players

Let’s get a stream on Fox Sports Go where we can hear the smack talk between the players.

There has to be some history between some of these players that would make for some entertaining chatter on the court.

Gotta hope there’s some alterations with the Big3, otherwise it’ll be a pretty massive disappointment.

How David Stern’s dress code changed the look of the NBA

The NBA dress code has become a bastion of high-fashion, where players’ pre and postgame outfits become their own running narrative and topic of discussion.

Shots of players rolling into the stadium in elaborate, sometimes altogether ridiculous, outfits, and the subsequent roasting they get from whatever studio analyst is covering the game have become a mainstay of NBA culture.

You’ll see designer frames, studded backpacks, crocodile skin shoes, a whole palette of floral colors, culottes, and really all things that seem more GQ than NBA. Players like Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade have made fashion a side-gig.

Westbrook is the creative director of True Religion and Wade has released his own capsule collection with Dean and Dan Caten of DSquared2. But how did we get here?

I remember the days of the baggie white tees and massive chains. The do-rags and the fitteds. Dudes were literally wearing jerseys of other teams to their own sporting events. To many people my age, mid-twenties, that was the peak of the NBA.

The crossovers, the clowning, the shit-talking, shots of Henny at half-time, it doesn’t get better than late 90s/early 2000s NBA.

Perhaps it’s just nostalgia, I mean it’s hard to argue that the style of play isn’t more compelling now as most teams adopt the pace ‘n’ space mentality of running up the floor and shooting as many 3s as possible.

The NBA has become a global brand, with players from 41 different countries and territories on opening day rosters for the 2016/2017 season. Viewership was way down in the post-MJ landscape of the NBA, whereas now the league has never been more watched in the United States and beyond.

On November 19, 2004 the infamous brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which included fans and players throwing bows in the stands, changed the league forever.

It’s hard to measure the exact impact of that moment on the league, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the brawl was a main reason for the implementation of the dress code and an active attempt by the owners, and then commissioner David Stern, to eschew in a new era of a new-look NBA.

It’s also important to note the state of the league that Stern took over in 1984, when cocaine, drug-use, and partying defined the league.

David Stern came in and introduced drug testing for the first time, only ratcheting up the league’s drug policy after Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose two days after being selected second overall in the 1986 NBA draft by the Celtics.

Repeat drug abusers like Roy Tarpley, Lewis Lloyd, Mitchell Wiggins and Richard Dumas were given lifetime bans from the sport as Stern cracked down on the league’s reputation.

A recent piece by ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh titled “Inside the ‘Tinderization’ of today’s NBA” looked at how once NBA players stopped partying on every flight and road trip, performances became better and home-court advantage plummeted.

One particularly illuminating excerpt from Haberstroh’s piece documents the changes in winning percentage of home court teams from the 80s, to the 90s, and then today.

“In the 1987-88 season, home teams won an astounding 67.9 percent of games, boasting an average win margin of 5.8 points, the highest on record. The advantage was so profound that home teams, on average, played at the level of a 55-win team.

“Then, in less than a decade, the home-court advantage gap was sliced in half. By 1996-97, home teams won only 57.5 percent of the time, by an average margin of only 2.6 points. And now, after hovering around 60 percent for most of the 2000s, home-court advantage is dropping again. This season, it sits at an all-time low of 57.4 percent.”

The reason? Haberstroh says, “NBA players are sleeping more and drinking less.”

This can’t all be attributed to David Stern coming in and trying to clean up the league and introducing a new dress code, advances in sports science and clean living gave players longer careers. Beer was taken off team flights and replaced with healthy gourmet spreads.

This is all to say that when David Stern took over the league, he made it a point to clean up the image of the game. Some of these changes were probably for the better of the league, like drug tests and expansion, but twelve years after the dress code was implemented, has it really accomplished anything?

When the league-wide dress code was established at the beginning of the 2005 season, players like Allen Iverson and Stephen Jackson said the rule was implicitly racist.

It’s hard to argue with that logic when the dress code banned things like, “large jewelry, hats, jerseys, tee shirts, jeans, do-rags, and Timbaland-style boots”.

I mean that’s not even especially subtle. That’s a pretty direct assault on the prevalent hip-hop style at the time of baggie jeans, huge chains, and white tees.

At this point in 2017, it seems like most players have learned to embrace the dress code. Almost every current player came into the league with the dress code already established. Hip-hop fashion changed, perhaps even in concordance with the NBA dress code, and now most players seem comfortable in their bougie attire.

Perhaps the NBA is more palatable for the masses now and stars aren’t railing on in the media about having to practice, but let’s have a moment of silence for that long lost era of the NBA.

When disrespect was at an all-time high, no one was joining up to create super-teams, and dudes were rocking Timbs to games.

Also, shouts out to Tim Duncan’s fashion sense.