Not directly related to the Kings, but if you're an NBA fan you'll feel me on this one. The Celebrity All-Star game, as currently constructed, sucks. Here's my plan to inject some life into a boring, second-class event.
Each year, 12 awkward schlubs and four ringers descend upon NBA All-Star weekend with the hope of winning a coveted, untitled trophy presented to the winners by a man dressed as Ronald McDonald.
These people are celebrities - or, in most cases, pseudocelebrities - competing for no good reason in front of an audience that views them not as headliners, but as a necessary passing distraction.
Pitiful, lackluster and - somehow - blessed with the opportunity to grace the court.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m talking about the McDonald’s Celebrity All-Star game.
Last year, the big names - at the celeb game - were sparse and not at all eclectic. In fact, two of the biggest names in the game - Terrell Owens and Deion Sanders - climbed out of the same celebrity gene pool: the Dallas Cowboys.
Sure, Neion Deion was entertaining. Sure, T.O. offered a rarely-seen-at-a-celeb-game dunk. And sure, Master P made ‘em all say uhhhh. But I want more than that from this year’s celebrity game.
I want hijinks. I want boasting. I want ego. I want sparks. I want drama.
Which is why I think the perfect solution for the NBA Celebrity game is to pit two of the most egotistical, boastful, entertaining groups of people in America against each other.
Rappers vs. football players.
BOOM. Instant success.
No more gawky, uncoordinated white boys (I’m looking at you, Taylor Hicks). No more set shots from the three point line. No more dumbed down athletic underachievement. Just ego and hype and trash talk that would make Gary Payton blush like a nun in front of Gossip Girl.
Think about it. On the rappers side you could have Ice Cube, The Game, Bow Wow, Master P, Nelly, Snoop and (as a nod to White America) Justin Timberlake. And, since each team needs eight players, you can throw Jay-Z in the mix, too. Just so long as he gets some lessons in hoop from LeBron before he takes the court.
On the other side - the football side - you can sprinkle the team with guys who meet the new NFL pedigree: basketball players in college who got drafted by an NFL team on a whim and made good. The poster boy? Antonio Gates.
Team Gates will also include T.O. (in full-on promotion mode for his new reality show on VH1), Tony Gonzalez, Michael Irvin (who once played “charity” ball in the offseason for the ‘Boys), Chad Ocho Cinco, Joey Porter (first-rate trash talker) and token white boy Matt Cassel (who has a history that proves he is willing to do anything in front of a crowd).
The eighth - and final - roster spot on the football squad goes to Darren Sproles. He can dive for loose balls and make hustle plays.
On the line for the game…I don’t know what. Pride, I guess. And if we need something more, I’m sure someone at BET or the NFL Network can come up with an interesting wager. Television rights or cross-promotions or swagger or something.
I’ll leave it up to Rich Eisen. He’s a clever guy.
Whatever the wager, a game between these two teams would be incredibly entertaining. Can you imagine Ice Cube and Joey Porter trading taunts while a high-out-of-his-mind Snoop tries to guard D. Sproles and Timberlake and Cassel sit on the sidelines picking hotties out of the crowd?
It’d be an amazing evening of television, clocking in just behind the Slam Dunk Contest and the All-Star game itself on the relevancy meter.
The pre-game handshakes alone would be worth the price of admission.
So think it over, NBA office. Get the necessary paperwork together. Use Worldwide Wes as an ambassador. And let’s get this thing done.
Rappers vs. football players. The best celebrity All-Star game of all-time.
Let’s make it happen.