|February 14, 2016
|Air Canada Center — Toronto, CA
|5 p.m. PST|
|National TV: TNT|
|Live stream: TNT Overtime|
|Stephen Curry — Golden State Warriors
||G||Kyle Lowry — Toronto Raptors
|Russell Westbrook — OKC Thunder||G||Dwyane Wade — Miami Heat
|Kobe Bryant — L.A. Lakers
||F||LeBron James — Cleveland Cavaliers
|Kawhi Leonard — San Antonio Spurs
||F||Paul George — Indiana Pacers
|Kevin Durant — OKC Thunder||F
||Carmelo Anthony — New York Knicks
|SB Nation Roster Previews
|Full Western Conference roster previews||Full Eastern Conference roster previews|
I actually had the pleasure of attending the 2001 NBA All-Star Game in Washington, D.C.
A friend with a dad who worked in media snagged box seats at the then-MCI Center and we watched in awe as Allen Iverson led the Eastern Conference back from a 21-point deficit to win the game by one point — no game has been that close since and only three previous were decided by a point (1965, 1971, 1977). If it wasn't the best All-Star Game ever, Allen Iverson's performance was easily among the best individual performances ever.
And not long after witnessing that, I simply lost interest in watching the game.
How much totally defenseless, ragged basketball can you really watch before it gets old? I tried to watch a few games here and there, but I honestly can't remember the last time I made it through a full game of that nonsense. And that includes last year: I certainly watched to see Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson start, but I'm not exactly sure I stuck with it. And if I did, there's nothing about it that stands out in my memory now.
In any event, I say all that to give some context for tonight's game: this is the most excited I've been about an NBA All-Star Game since going to that 2001 game and I don't think it's particularly close. Not that I'm expecting tonight's game to match the excitement of 2001, but the presence of genuine anticipation is sort of different compared to most of my adult life.
The reason is simple: with Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson all suited up for tonight's game, it's as much a testament to what an amazing time this is to be a Golden State Warriors fan as anything else.
It's not just that this is the first time in 40 years that the Warriors have three players in the game. Or that Steph will be the first Warrior since Rick Barry to start three straight. It's actually this little nugget from Warriors.com that has me excited to watch this game:
It’s also just the fourth time in NBA history that a team has had three of its players that the team drafted outside the top-five selected to the All-Star Game in the same season.
I know, I know — that is just about the nerdiest reason possible to be excited about an exhibition game. But consider the context: for years growing up, I watched these games wondering how on earth my beloved yet beleaguered Warriors would ever get a player worthy of an all-star game to root for. It was a long time between Latrell Spreewell and David Lee ... and, unfortunately, I wasn't really a fan of the latter.
To think that this franchise that has caused fans so much agony over the years not only has three All-Stars but also has three that their front office managed to obtain without the aid of a top pick. This is not just a testament to the individual Warriors players who have made the team but a testament to what an amazing organization this has come top to bottom.
People are obviously trying to make this about Kobe Bryant, who has no business even being at the game, but we'll know the truth: the Warriors have put themselves atop the league by consistently making good draft decisions in a very short period of time and Curry, Green, and Thompson will be carrying that flag today.