CAROLINA CRISIS: THIS IS BIGGER THAN YOU By Michael...
LaVine and Curry Add Spice to All-Star Weekend
Is the slam dunk competition back because of high-flying rookie?
BROOKLYN – Last June in New York during the NBA Draft, Zach LaVine sat stunned, shocked and in disbelief that he was picked by the Minnesota Timberwolves. LaVine had that look as if he either had indigestion or he swallowed something that wanted to come back up and fast. Translation, he did not want to go to anywhere near a Minnesota. So much more so that he was said to utter something that rhymes with the word, “truck” and “me”, but hey, who ‘really’ knows?
To have to go from a sunny Los Angeles, California where LaVine played one year at UCLA and going to the frozen tundra of Minnesota; might have that type of affect on a person. But, a funny thing however has happened since that day. He became friends and teammates with fellow rookie sensation, Andrew Wiggins. Of course Wiggins was jettisoned to Minnesota by way of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the LeBron James pushed, er Kevin Love trade. The two rookies have become inseparable and all is well in Minnesota right now.
Wiggins and LaVine both see brighter days ahead. “I means a lot,” LaVine speaking of his Slam Dunk championship. “Even last night, you know, Wiggins getting MVP of the rookie game. Then me coming out here to get the Slam Dunk Contest. It shows we’re on the rise. We all want to be great. Just be on the lookout for that. We have the right type of mindset. We’re all good kids. We really just want to be the best we can.”
LaVine ever a mild but a certain one looked upon others for inspiration. “My confidence, I just look at all the greats: Michael Jordan, confident. Kobe Bryant, confident. LeBron James, confident. I got it instilled in a young age from my dad. He played professional football.”
LaVine acrobatic and exotic dunks man not only LaVine’s dad proud, but the NBA nation stand up and take notice. LaVine has a Russell Westbrook type of engine.
Speaking of dad’s, Stephen Curry teamed up with his dad, Dell Curry and Sue Bird in the Shooting Stars Competition but didn’t fare too well. Team Bosh won it yet again this year. They consisted of Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins.
Stephen Curry didn’t want to become a four-time loser in the 3-Point Shootout. This was after all his weekend. To get to All-star weekend as a starter, he out vote-got; both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
During the much anticipated and hotly contested 3-Point Shootout, Curry hit 13 shots in a row. He had to best out his buddy and teammate, Klay Thompson. “We were egging each other along the contest. And it was really cool to see how that unfolded with us being in the finals, and him having the opportunity at the end to top my number.”
It was widely known that Curry wanted this award badly and with good reason. Curry doesn’t want to be known as just a ‘game time shooter’. Curry as a competitor wants to be known as the best pure shooter.
“I want to be. There’s obviously different criteria you can look at to judge that. Just being in that competitive spirit and having fun out there. I love to shoot the basketball.”
Curry had a competition best of 27 in the second round. He was still leary of Klay remembering his 37 point 3rd quarter explosion just a few weeks ago.
The All-star weekend was pretty good for two of the League’s young dynamic duos in Curry and Thompson as well as Wiggins and LaVine.
Jerald L. Hoover