Kyrie MVP

The unofficial second half of the NBA season kicks off tonight after an entertaining All Star Game last Sunday. The events on Saturday don’t deserve a long winded recap, so I’ll sum it up this way: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

On to Sunday.

The All Star game is a big celebration for fans, a showcase for the game’s current and future stars, and a place for executives to discuss potential trade deadline deals. Fun all around. Some people took advantage of the spotlight, and made a mark on Sunday. Here’s what stood out to me:

Pharrell & Pharrell’s Hat –

Pharrell was a big part of my childhood. As a native of Virginia Beach (757!!), he, his N.E.R.D. collaborators, Timbaland, Missy, and the Clipse were my artists.

We don’t claim Magoo. Pharrell Red October

Like New Yorkers with every rapper ever, I felt like Pharrell and co. represented me to the rest of the world. So I was glad to see Pharrell take the stage for his mini-concert during player introductions. He took us all back to high school and undergrad with some hits that I forgot how much I enjoyed. Definitely one of the best event performances I’ve watched in a while.

And when that Grindin’ beat dropped?! I almost knocked my Miller Lite off the table trying to bang out the beat.

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As if that wasn’t enough, Pharrell debuted the Red October version of his silly Grammy hat. But the crazy thing? I was genuinely excited when he did it! I’ll be picking up a knockoff version of this on Canal Street next time I’m in New York City.

Did you know Pharrell won the Producer of the Year Grammy in 2004 and again in 2014? That’s longevity, man. Virginia Beach saved rap.

Kyrie Irving –

The All Star Game MVP stole the show in the fourth quarter when both teams actually started to play for real. While everyone waited for a LeBron James versus Kevin Durant face off, Irving collected 15 points and four assists to close the gap on the West team and seal the win.

Irving had been under criticism this season as writers began to wonder when his teams will start winning. It’s a fair point. In two and a half seasons, Irving has gone a combined 65-136 (20-33 this year) and missed 41 games. As good as Irving’s stats have been, it hasn’t translated to any tangible success for the team.

Sunday’s game helped dispel the idea that Irving is overrated. If anything, the recent firing of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ GM shows that there are bigger issues undermining the team’s success. That might mean that Irving will pull a LeBron and head to greener pastures when his contract is up if things don’t improve quickly.

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Of course, this is the guy who was supposed to help Irving this season, so he might have one foot out the door already.

Carmelo Anthony Defenders –

Anthony also had a great game on Sunday. He made eight 3-pointers and did his part to keep the team in the game as the West opened up an 18 point lead.

The online conversation around Anthony’s performance was more interesting than what he did on the court. There were lots of people comparing the game to a typical one for Anthony’s New York Knicks.

Anthony plays great. The rest of the team plays poorly. Anthony’s team is down and he has to play from behind. Rinse. Repeat.

I get it. And I agree that the Knicks roster sucks. But as great as he was (and as great at Anthony Defenders felt), he only confirmed what we already knew about him. It’s why he is so great on the USA Basketball teams. Carmelo is an elite scorer who can carry a team offensively. Even a team of the 12 best players in the league.

HOWEVER

Carmelo seems to work best as a Power Forward, which exposes him on defense and can subject his team to bad matchups. If he played on an All Star team every game, this wouldn’t be an issue. But he plays on the Knicks, and it will take a miracle for that team to become a contender while Carmelo is still near his prime. I don’t doubt that he can lead a team to a championship, but slow down, Defenders. Sunday’s All Star game was just more of the same from Melo.

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That’s what I took from Sunday’s game. What stood out to you? What are you most looking forward to in the second half of the NBA season?

Hit the comments and give me your thoughts!