Thursday, February 18, 2016

We the North: The 1st NBA All-Star Game Outside the US

Kobe Bryant's final All-Star Game. #HeDidTheOldManShirtTuckLikeMJ
NBA All-Star Weekend 2016
Toronto, Canada
Feb 11-15, 2016
Off to Toronto for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. For the first time in its 65-year history, the ASG was held outside of the US. BTW, if you have the choice - fly into Billy Bishop (YTZ), not Pearson (YYZ). Pearson has a knack for making you spend as much time as possible at the airport. That's not a good knack.
Canada, you're so cute. 
Oysters at Pearl Diver. A strong recommendation.
Adidas VIP Suite. 
Crew. *James Harden not included. 
Sweet or suite?
Dinner at Byblos. Big on Yelp and locals - it was aight.
My GF is somewhere underneath this jacket. The temps were below 0 at this point. #SheWasntHappy 
This club was called The Nest. Apparently Amber Rose and Demarcus Cousins were here, but honestly - who really knows? #OrCares

After a distinguished interview with Yao Ming about the NBA's growth in China, his Hall of Fame finalist announcement, and Morgan Freeman's voice, Yao ripped my Chinese. Thanks bruh.

Steph gonna Steph... except he lost to teammate Klay Thompson in the 3-point Contest.
The slam dunk contest was arguably the greatest of all-time. Athletically-speaking it's a no-brainer, but the lack of star power is the only thing that holds it back. But Orlando's Aaron Gordon and Minnesota's Zach LaVine were showing out. This is Gordon doing crazy ish with the mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon. #BestNBAMascotName
Aaron Gordon's underneath both legs dunk was dumbfounding. It left viewers stunned like Vince Carter's elbow-hanging dunk in 2000. It was just something we hadn't seen before. Remarkable and the best dunk of the night on a night of amazing dunks. I have video of this that I originally posted here, but the quality was as lousy as Will Barton's dunks, so I deleted it here.  You see, Will Barton was also in the dunk contest lineup. #HeDidntBelong #HeWasntReady
That said, Zach LaVine did things that no human should be able to do. You can't do windmill dunks from the free throw line. You just can't. 
One of my producers, John Jervay, said it best - Zach LaVine has ruined the free throw line dunk. It is no longer impressive. LaVine jumped from the free throw line and stuck the ball between his legs. Go home, Zach, you're dunk skills are stupid drunk. Zach won (deservedly so), but I feel like it should've gone to Gordon. The two combined for 6 straight perfect 50 dunks. But not all 50s are equal, and Gordon's creativity topped LaVine's otherworldly athleticism.
It was around -29 with the wind chill after the dunk contest. Fahrenheit. Go home weather, you're stupid drunk, too.

CN Tower after dark. 
And we're going to the top of CN!
But first a quick local brew at the hotel. This was a hefe. Solid.
Toronto from 1151-feet. Looks like Los Angeles. HA!
Lion Dance meet NBA All-Star weekend.
I should've filtered this pic!
This dude was the reason I was at the party. Y'all might recognize Brian Yang because he knows everyone ever. He's a bit of a Renaissance man, but he's an actor on "Hawaii Five-O" as well as a producer on the Jeremy Lin doc, "Linsanity."

Your only 65th NBA ASG highlight. #TheGameWasntGood

Squash at some hip Thai restaurant, Khao San Road. This also looks like an antler sculpture in the town of Jackson, WY. #LittleKnownFacts
So we had a $24 voucher for food, but I had already eaten dinner. Of course, I couldn't let the voucher go to waste, so I started ordering ridiculous desserts - like these funnel cake fries with soft serve ice cream and Oreo topping! WTF! Plus a gigantic M&M cookie. Sadly, I didn't eat all of it and much of it was wasted. #NotProud #ButDemFunnelFriesWereLegit
In an odd decision, the NBA booked Sting to do the halftime show. Yeah - Sting... of The Police. Now I dig The Police - didn't really care too much for his solo work - but he did not resonate with most of the young fans, who were wondering why the old WCW wrestler looked so different without his makeup.
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da... is all I want to say to you.


Can NBA All-Stars name 5 Canadians:

Who Would You Rather Dunk On?

Final Seconds, Who Should Shoot the Ball - You or Steph Curry?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Chinese New Year in Michael Jordan's Old Playground

Chicago, IL
Feb 2016:
Lion Dance up in here. Photo courtesy Jason D. Lee Photography.
This year, the Asian American Coalition of Chicago invited me to emcee their Lunar New Year Celebration, there were more than 11-hundred guests that included many notable dignitaries, politicians, players... and me. We brought in the Year of the Monkey in style. Additional thanks to MSNBC anchor Richard Lui for bowing out of the event! 

Fried chicken at Sunda.
The penthouse suite at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago featured a pool table, fireplace, and wet bar. It was not mine.
Sweet welcome bag from the AACC. Those monkeys are rad.
Untitled Supper Club. Over 400 American whiskeys to choose from. I remember someone saying something about it being the largest whiskey bar in the country, or maybe it was the city, or maybe on the street corner. Whatever. There was lots of whiskey.
Including this charming fellow! They distilled a certain type of this at the restaurant/club itself - so apparently it's only available there. It makes for a nice Old Fashioned... you know, if I drank...
I forgot what this is, but it looks good. Photo courtesy of Lily Kim.
Some pork baos. Or chicken. Or maybe seafood. All of the above? Courtesy Lily Kim. 
Lamb shank. We also had a bone marrow burger that was tasty. Eating well is apparently an integral part to success in the AACC. Courtesy Lily Kim.
Some lovely ramen at a restaurant that eludes my mind at the moment. #NoticingATrend
The eye of Cloud Gate.
The orb. I mean, the Bean.
Too bad all these lame tourists are in the way of my lame tourist photo.
Chances I hurt my back after this: 101%?
With local ABC anchor Linda Yu, who's a Chicago broadcasting institution and started the AAJA chapter in Chicago. She's also infatuated with pandas, so if you ever see her in Chicago, that's a great icebreaker. Your welcome.
Me doing something witty.
Linda saying something witty. Me trying to see what's next in the prompter.
Lanterns. Courtesy Jason D. Lee Photography.
Batman Begins, yo!!! "I won't kill you, but I don't have to save you."
Dabbing with the Connie Chung of the future. Unless I can convince her sports is the way to go...