Here at Draft Express, we travel the globe from Anchorage to Zimbabwe, the ACC to the USSR, from Kalamazoo to Katmandu, to scout basketball at all levels in an attempt to uncover the next great prospect. Today we find ourselves in Phoenix, Arizona for the 2009 All-Star Celebrity Game looking for the next big thing.
Were one minute from tip-off and there are multiple NBA mascots causing havoc. Bango, the Bucks mascot, is standing on the heel of the rim when the Bobcats mascot Rufus heaves it from midcourt, off of Bangos junk and into the basket. The game hasnt even started yet and its already devolved into a bad episode of Americas Funniest Home Videos. Its all downhill from here folks. This is the early front-runner for favorite for shot of the day, though unfortunately we dont think that Rufus has any eligibility left.
Luckily, for the betting public, the only referee who would actually qualify as a celebrity in his own right, Tim Donaghy, isnt here. In fact, the refs arent even from the NBA, theyre from the D-League. For those of you not familiar with the D-League, its the NBAs minor league. Very, very minor.
The opening tip-off is Prison Breaks Michael Rapaport versus The Human Highlight Film himself, Dominique Wilkins
. There hasnt been a paring this mismatched since Rapaport faced off with De Niro in Cop Land. (I kid, I kid. The dude outright owned in Bamboozled.)
After being out-jumped by a two-time Slam Dunk champion, Rapaport makes up for it a bit later by slingshoting a college three that swishes through the net. NBA sharpshooter Dan Marjele responds with a much prettier stroke and a much uglier make.
Were alerted by our crack statisticians that veteran Celebrity All-Star player, and Super Scrub, Donald Faison is just 5 out of 37 for his career. After studying his form the only surprising thing we could find is that hes managed to make any at all. He takes a long two from straight away which hits the heel and falls in the basket. Maybe his luck is about to change? With Faison thinking he is in the zone, he jacks up a shot on the next possession from the top of the key and clanks it off the front of the rim. Cher and Dionne roll their eyes. (10 Awesome Points if you get that.)
While Faison might be the worst shooter on the floor, he does have good court vision. After a nice between the legs dribble and pass to Lisa Leslie, he grabs the offensive rebound and feeds a nice shovel pass to Special K Daley for the lay-up. Faison is making a case to take the point guard job from Rapaport.
Oh hey, its not all NBA legends and pseudo-celebrities, the Harlem Globetrotters are here!
In a very unglobtrottery (how does that not pass spellcheck? Hello, Websters?) fashion Scooter Christensen made the first shot of the game on a catch and shoot from 18 feet out. The 2009 Celebrity All-Star Game: where even The Globetrotters are boring.
Handles Franklin tries to introduce us to some proper Trottering by demonstrating his dribbling skills in front of Donald Faison. Unfortunately for him, after years of watching Zach Braff mugging for the camera hes having none of it and just pushes Handles to the ground. Lookout, its getting physical!
And as if to prove it, shortly afterwards Wildkat Edgerson bodies up on poor WNBA star Lisa Leslie rejecting her shot and sending her sprawling. Dude - shes a girl. Didnt he see her pink shoes? Also, heads up: these arent the Washington Generals. If you knock somebody to the ground theyre going to get back up. And sue you.
Chris Tucker keeps jacking, and air balls a wide open three pointer by 3 feet. We quickly dubbed him Chris The Chucker Tucker but he doesnt seem to be getting the hint. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH?
Handles Franklin gets a steal and throws it off the backboard on the fast break to Terrell Owens who slams it home. T.O. then pulls out a cell phone and calls the Cowboys to see if they will sign Franklin to play quarterback for them. Jessica Simpson is not happy, but Romo is as giddy as a schoolgirl.
T.O. is raw and athletic and might actually be a legitimate prospect. He has close to a 40 inch vertical and can finish around the rim. He has a nice release on his shot with good rotation, but its slow and he fails to elevate off the ground on his shot. Rumor has it he might be a head case, which is too bad. Aww, shucks, who are we kidding? Super athletic and a little bit crazy? Hed be a great fit in the D-League.
In the end we watched 32 minutes of mind boggling terrible basketball and came up with nothing. (Okay, maybe 28 minutes with a 4 minute beer break). But thats the burden of being a scout. Its the cross we bear. If we have to watch a hundred celebrity All-Star games to find another Master P then well do it. And gladly, because damnit, we love this game.
Oh, and the final score? Who cares? Not us, were scouts.