Braving the coronavirus and a blizzard, the NBA All-Star weekend kicked off in Cleveland

Despite an untimely snowstorm and lingering concerns about COVID-19, the NBA officially kicked off All-Star weekend on Friday with the Rookie Challenge.NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Magic Johnson and other basketball stars gathered at a downtown Cleveland hotel Friday morning to kick off All-Star Weekend.After a night of snowstorms, the temperature outside plummeted to the minus teens.In an apt metaphor for a midseason show that unfolds fitfully, a broken-down delivery truck snarled traffic on Superior Avenue while waiting for a bypass rescue.Charlotte Hornets guard Ramelo Ball, who was selected for Friday’s Rookie Challenge and Sunday’s All-Star game, issued the unofficial motto of the all-star weekend: “Stay out of the cold, Don’t get sick.”Many guests, including CNN host John King, had their travel plans disrupted as the airline system canceled their flights due to the weather.He had to drive from Washington on Thursday night to host a panel at the NBA’s annual technology summit.While Silver expressed hope that this weekend would be the end of the pandemic, and the NBA lifted its requirement that event attendees wear masks indoors, covid-10-related issues are still popping up everywhere, from shuttered storefronts to requiring reporters to submit vaccine certificates, get shots, test negative,You can see it all the way down to the layers of identification and wristbands you have to wear to events.Bill Russell cited health concerns in his decision not to participate in the festivities, which include Sunday’s recognition of the league’s 75th anniversary team.”I am proud to have played in 12 All-Star games, and I am fortunate to have played in so many as a fan,” the Hall of Fame center said in a statement.”I don’t decide to miss one lightly.But I will not take COVID-19 lightly.”Michael Jordan’s annual VIP Party was canceled, and several sneaker brands decided not to attend this year’s appearance.It’s been going on since 2021, when the NBA was forced to scale back its All-Star weekend and move it from Indianapolis to Atlanta, where there are fewer fans.Finally, the alliance’s top decision makers are about to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and they promised to look ahead at the tech summit.The NBA managed to get former President Barack Obama on stage to unveil big plans for the LEAGUE’s training program in Africa, and then invited TikTok CEO Zhou Shouzi for an in-depth chat about the explosive growth of social media apps.Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Dan Gilbert of the Cleveland CavaliersGilbert and other team owners participated in panels on cryptocurrencies, non-cryptocurrencies, sports betting and other potential revenue streams, and Silver launched “Coach Nat,” short for NBA Augmented Telepresence, which stands for a Coach that acts like a hologram,He will be teaching the fundamentals of basketball in the metaverse.”My role is to help coach coach and develop the next generation of NBA talent,” said Coach Nutter, who is voiced by Hall of Fame center Shaquille O ‘Neal.”I know all the best moves and I’m not tied to a single dimension.I can even shoot free throws.”The SAN Antonio Spurs legend joins former NBA players Michael Cooper, Tim Hardaway and Max Johnson among the 11 candidates for the 2022 Smithsonian Basketball Hall of Fame.And WNBA stars Swin Cash and Lindsay Whalen, as well as longtime NBA coach George Karl.This year’s hall of Fame inductees will be officially selected April 2.”I’m personally rooting for Tim Hardaway,” said NBA TELEVISION commentator Isiah Thomas, who led the Detroit Pistons to championships in 1989 and 1990.”If you have Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin in your Hall of Fame, you have to have Tim Hardaway.”Ball, Anthony Edwards and the league’s other rookies and sophomores played on opening night in a revamped three-game format.In game 1, Isaiah Thomas edged James Worthy 50-49, thanks to Memphis guard Desmond Bain’s game-winning free throw.Jaylen Green scored 20 points in the loss, and the Houston Rockets rookie guard proved himself to be a crowd favorite with several flying dunks, boosting his confidence heading into Saturday’s dunk contest.In one hilarious moment during the game, Magic guard Kol Anthony took off his shorts in an attempt to distract Bayne during his final free throw.”I did what it took to win,” Anthony said on Twitter after the game.In game 2, Rick Barry beat Gary Payton 50-48, thanks to 13 points and eight rebounds from Cleveland cavaliers rookie forward Evan Mobley.Mobley earned one of the biggest cheers of the night, with the advantage of playing at home.Rockets forward Jae ‘Sean Tate hit the game-winning shot to advance to the finals.In the finals, Rick Barry’s team edged Isiah Thomas 25-20, and Detroit pistons guard Cade Cunningham, the no. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft, scored 18 points in two games to earn MVP honors.Magic rookie forward Franz Wagner sealed the win from the free throw line.”After watching the first game, we knew everyone was going to play for the win,” Cunningham said.”We had to come out and prove ourselves and I’m glad we did that.”Despite the bad weather, the event was well attended, and the new format of the Rookie tournament achieved its intended goal of avoiding the long garbage times often seen in the past.The game was always hotly contested, with Pistons rookie Cade Cunningham scoring 18 points in two games to earn MVP honors.”Before we got drafted, they were talking down about us and how bad our draft was going to be and all that kind of stuff,” the Minnesota Timberwolves guard said.”I’m happy for everyone in our draft class to see them succeed in the league because we’ve heard so much bad news about us.”

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