Letting Master P Fix the NBA All-Star Game

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Master P’s “Make ‘Em Say Ugh” video is quite possibly the single greatest cinematic capture of hardwood entertainment. It’s also the most embarrassing “edited” version of a hip-hop song ever recorded, what with the Spike Jones cartoon sound effects and all. But, a week after the event itself, I’ve realized it’s what the NBA All-Star Weekend should be. Aside from being the perfect encapsulation of the No Limit aesthetic, it manages something All-Star Weekend couldn’t—even with all the ostensibly contrary visual evidence presenting it as the silliest fucking thing ever, it’s clear that all participants are somehow taking it very seriously. And most importantly, it’s a basketball-related event—at all times, the focus is the actual game, although that doesn’t negate the possibility of a gold tank driving on the court, because Master P has a gold tank and wanted to show it. (Also it’s 1997 and everyone had giant gold tanks in that economy) With this shining example in mind, here are five things, none particularly unachievable, that the NBA can do right now to improve All-Star Weekend, as seen in “Make ‘Em Say Ugh.”

1. Shaq—Seen But Not Heard

This one should be pretty self-explanatory.

2. The Celebrity Game Should Be At Least 50% Washed-Up Rappers, If Not 100%

Consider P and The Game, two guys who’ve continually shown a proper lack of social decorum or shame while feebly grasping for attention of any type. Can you just imagine how they would undermine each other in the frontcourt? Well, yeah…you’ve probably seen the Washington Wizards play this year and if Cam’ron deigned to doff his mink before stepping on the court, he’d almost certainly model his game after Nick Young. These games are dysfunctional by design, so why not catalyze that by actually making it seem like something’s at stake? Which leads us to #3…

3. The MVP as voted by fans gets to perform at halftime with whatever softbatch rap&B hybrid the NBA puts up there

My last office job was near the Disney and NBC studios out in Burbank, and with the possible exception of seeing Nas walk by on his way to the local hip-hop station, the highlight of my employment was when the Flo Rida promotional bus was posted up outside the nearest liquor store all day, despite the area being almost entirely residential and free of foot or significant automobile traffic.

I bring this up because it seems emblematic of the Flo Rida experience in that any sort of overt advertisement, whether it’s the Flo Rida tour bus or a performance during halftime of the NBA All-Star Weekend feels paradoxically futile—he’s already popular in ways that can’t really even be explained as a result of ubiquity. Can Flo Rida actually grow on you? He and Pitbull’s performance this past week almost felt like some sort of visual tautology: these guys are superstars because they are performing at the All-Star Game. Even though you know of nobody who likes them. It just is.

My plan, besides making the Celebrity Game worth watching, can make the halftime show worthwhile, too, since someone involved will actually have something to gain from the experience—in their minds, this heavily scripted and foolproofed performance might turn out to be their “Busta Rhymes doing ‘Scenario’ on the Arsenio Hall Show moment.” Truth be told, I have absolutely no idea how this would actually be implemented, but if they want to sit on the rim while they do their verse as a tribute to Mystikal, that’s probably one of the few socially responsible ways to pay homage to the Man Right Chea.

4. Male cheerleaders

There is almost certainly a fantastic “where are they now?” piece to be done regarding the most prominent leading men in female hip-hop videos. The Cutest Brother In Here from “Shoop” (who was also the only brother in here, although that’s neither here nor there), the abs-flexing dude from the tail end of Toni Braxton’s “You’re Making Me High,” or failing that, the nerdy dude whose glasses and gangly demeanor forfeited him the possibility of getting gangbanged by Braxton and her closest friends—I think that was the plot of the video, at least. The male cheerleaders surrounding Mia X during her verse probably get left on the cutting room floor in my fake documentary—they’re likely a bunch of dudes who didn’t make it past the second round of callbacks for some Monica video.

Nonetheless, during a weekend that’s become pretty synonymous in hip-hop with the pinnacle of shameless groupie-dom, there needs to be some counterbalance of proper emasculation. The Shooting Stars competition ultimately is the only real venue for it—it’s not exactly a tentpole event, but nonetheless, if the lowest finisher in the Skills, Dunk or 3-Point competition had to don cheer gear and root for Sue Bird or whatever, you can bet your ass Kyrie Irving wouldn’t be lollygagging it like he was shaking off a terrible Coconut Ciroc hangover.

5. Mascot Slam Dunk Contest

Every year my extended family meets at a pretty dumpy country club to celebrate the first night of Passover. When I was much younger, it actually made sense and was kinda exciting—when you’re in high school, your relatives want to see you as often as possible. But there was a point where everyone who used to be teen went off to college and none of the other kids were old enough to even search for the afikomen—everyone just aged in lockstep, and things got kind of depressing. The difference between 13 and 14 is way bigger than that between 23 and 24. The slam dunk contest is like this.

That said, I don’t think it should be done away with completely, just that it’s not necessary every year. Give enough time for exciting shit to happen to people. The physical acumen of NBA athletes doesn’t meaningfully escalate on a yearly basis, but the capacity for meme-generating does, which is why I think the only way to really juice up the 2013 competition is a hard left into pure trolldom. Blake Griffin having a teammate wear a Kendrick Perkins jersey in an attempt to recreate this, someone rocking an Abe Lincoln beard and a Heat jersey going up for a monster dunk only to pass it away at the last second, someone willing to pay for Frederic Weis’ airfare and lodging for the entirety of All-Star Weekend. The list goes on and on.

Still, getting rid of the Slam Dunk Contest completely makes as much sense as getting rid of the Home Run Derby—in-game context is ultimately what makes these physical feats truly exciting, but even in a vacuum it’s still something to behold and an easy way to either put your superstars on display as physical specimens or possibly create new legends. There’s an easy solution, and one that I’d take to David Stern right now. The Mascot Dunk Contest. Think of what we open ourselves up to: trampolines, fire, the mind reels.

The worst that can happen to the Phoenix Suns gorilla is that he bursts an ACL and becomes a punchline/cautionary tale in the tradition of Mariner Moose, and even if Hip-Hop was uniformly despised—because what’s more Philly than a rabbit swagged out on some “Cross Colours from the TJ Maxx rack” shit?—he’s still got a higher Q rating than Jeremy Evans. It’s actually amazing this doesn’t already exist, because what’s more in the interest of both the fans and the owners than daredevil stuntin’ from someone who is literally anonymous and can be heartlessly replaced at a moment’s notice? As with so many other things, or at least a couple of other things, Master P understood this.

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If I remember correctly, there used to be a trampoline-based, mascot dunk contest as part of All-Star Saturday. Hugo the Hornet (then of Charlotte) was the preeminent star of this contest, mostly due to his lightweight spandex costume. His best dunk of the era was the "bug on the windshield" where he elevated over the rim, dunked, and slammed his body on the backboard spread eagle...hugo(bug) met the windshield (glass).

The Phoenix Gorilla was his main competition, and Benny the Bull had his highlights too, but Hugo was miles beyond them. I could not find anything on youtube, perhaps a better internet sleuth than I could do more digging. This is a faint memory, and I'm not ruling it out as a dream implanted in my mind from a lot of time playing NBA Jam.

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Continuing with your late 90s rap video meme, a friend and I were tweeting about 'No Dance' videos for the Bulls (in regards to Derrick and 'dance-gate') and we decided this video is most emblematic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLMTbO-72XY&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I demand instant escalation to full Running Man mode. All dunks are contested by a stable of established heels & faces. Periodically, a dunk is interrupted by a thoroughly despised authority figure who imposes ludicrous conditions and obstacles.


I like P, but I would rather model the ASG based on Trick Daddy's Take it to the House video because defense is stressed three times and the clock runs during free throws.

It's good that you pointed this out, because we're planning a follow-up on this very topic. Trick Daddy/Slip-N-Slide's MEAC Swag was so strong -- the video for "Shut Up" had a distinct Florida A&M vibe, too. Email me with any thoughts you have on this urgent matter, of course. We will get to the bottom of this. It's what The Classical is FOR.