Everyone has something different they look forward to in the NBA all-star weekend. For most, it’s Slam Dunk Contest or the 3 Point Contest. Others it’s the Celebrity All-Star game or the All-Star Game itself. For me, it has always been the rising stars game. Here is where we get to see the best first and second-year players let loose and score as much as possible. Some of the guys, while they were stars in college or in Europe, to date, haven’t had the same success in the NBA. It is also a game where we get to see former college teammates back on the court together once again.
This was the case in 2014 with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke. The 2013 Michigan team is one of my personal all-time favorites and to see Burke and Hardaway leave for the NBA, while it was 1000000% the correct decision, sucked because we would never get to see the two of them dominate together like they did in Ann Arbor.
Unlike today’s future stars game, which has Team USA play against the World team, and way back in the day the rookies played against the Sophomore’s. 2014 had Chris Webber and Grant Hill draft teams, similar to what there is today for the All-Star Game.
Here is what the rosters looked like… (Team Webber on top. Team Hill on bottom).
At the time it was dope getting to see Burke and Hardaway team back up, the Plumlee brothers go at it and getting to see Lillard and AD dominate this event was going to be a blast.
But looking back on these rosters now, there were so many studs in this game.
Giannis, Lillard, AD, Beal, Oladipo, Drummond have all turned into superstars or at the very least all-stars.
Anyway, with about 8 minutes left in the second half of this game, while close, did have an all-star game type feel to it where the fans weren’t on the edge of their seat and some players seemed disinterested. But then… Something amazing happened.
Waiters starting off with a routine 3 and then Hardaway answered him from way downtown and it was on! Hardaway and Waiters were feeling themselves, the crowd and other NBA players in attendance were hyped up. Fun Times. Also, Dion crossing up THJ and then waiting for him to get back up to drill another 3 in his face was simply incredible.
Whenever Waiters gets going it is must-see TV and this was one of those cases. Not saying THJ didn’t show up in this matchup, he killed it too and led both teams with 36 points. But by the end, Dion had the swagger and he knew there was no one better than him on the planet at that moment in time. And even though Drummond won the game MVP, in my mind, the night will always belong to Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dion Waiters.