Wednesday, February 19, 2020

NBA All-Star Game has HEART for a change


Many of you know that I'm a basketball freak fan.  My team of choice has always been, and will always be, the Lakers.  I also realize many of you are going to say you don't watch sports or you don't watch basketball, but please bear with me through this post.  It's a tribute that I hope will help heal.

Many of my loyal readers also know Bleubeard and I are hosting Art Journal Journey this month with my Hearts theme.  

Having said all that, I have two pages today for you.  I always create something during the All-Star Weekend that runs from Friday through Sunday every year in February.  Players on each of the 30 teams receive fan votes.  Those best-of-the-best players with the most votes are picked to be in the All-Star Game on Sunday.  This year was special for several reasons, 

because it was about tributes, including two very important people who influenced the NBA (National Basketball Association).  One of course, is Kobe Bryant.

In case you need to translate the typed text:
The 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend was all about tributes, mostly to Kobe Bryant, but also to his daughter, the seven other people who died in that same crash, and David Stern, who died January 1.

The other is David Stern, shown preparing to hand Kobe Bryant the MVP award one year.

I'm sure even those of you who don't watch sports, know who Kobe is, but you may not know David Stern:
David Stern was the commissioner of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1984 to 2014. He started with the NBA in 1966 as outside counsel, joined the NBA in 1978 as general counsel, and became executive vice president of the league in 1980. He became commissioner in 1984. After 30 years of service, Stern resigned as the longest-tenured commissioner in the history of any major North American sports leagues. He made many significant changes, which included more exposure to basketball and founding the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).
And that is just the short list of his accomplishments.  He was also responsible for taking basketball world wide, creating international markets.  That may be why so many countries vie to have our NBA players visit and play in their countries.

For this spread, I started with a page on which I originally painted a black heart.  I wanted this page to appear solemn, sober, and dark, with lots of black to signify mourning.  The gold stars gave the only hint of color and decoration.  This page was definitely a tribute to losing Kobe and David.

The second spread was the bright and colorful tributes given to these greats.  It also honored the All-Star Weekend.  The purple and yellow reflect the colors of the Lakers uniforms.

Friday evening was the All-Star Celebrity Game.   This year was all about Chicago.  It was mostly rappers, but there were a few celebs, a few actors (one from Chicago PD tv show), two WNBA players, and one team owner (Milwaukee Bucks).  Needless to say, the home team won.

The Rising Stars Challenge features a group of standout first-year players or Rookies, against a group of standout second-year players known as Sophomores.  Since 2015, the game is now divided among players from the USA versus players from around the world.  What that means is, if the chosen player was born in the states, he will be on Team USA, whether he's a rookie or a sophomore.  If the player was born outside the USA, he is on Team World.  Regardless, all players are members of NBA teams and are selected through voting by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Many of us aren't fond of the new "us" versus "them" format and prefer to pit the rookies against the sophomores.  This year the final score was Team USA 151, Team World 131.

Now it's time for the tributes:
Kobe and his daughter Gianna were honored in several ways, including the 69th annual All-Star Game. Team LeBron James wore the No. 2 on the back of their jerseys, while Team Giannis Antetokounmpo, wore the No. 24. Gianna Bryant wore the No. 2 in her ball games, while we associate Kobe with No. 24.

On Friday, players in the NBA Rising Stars game (a game between the league's best rookies and sophomores) wore jersey patches featuring the numbers 2 and 24 in the center surrounded by nine stars.

Both teams wore jersey patches displaying nine stars, representing those who lost their lives in the crash (the Bryants; John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan).

Further for the Saturday night Skills Challenges:
The same patches were also worn by players competing in the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night.

The TNT (cable channel showing All-Star Weekend) NBA Studio Analysts spoke into mikes with the numbers 2 and 24, also.

The weekend wasn't without controversy, though.  In the Dunk Contest, many felt the loser was cheated.  I also felt they needed to call it a tie, but there is only ONE award that can be given.

Not sure you can see this, but the black stripe worn on all players' left side of their jerseys this season is to honor David Stern.  The stripe is worn during all games through the 2020 season.  The circle patch on the right side of the uniform honors the nine people who died in the helicopter crash.  Although you probably can't see it, the numbers 2 and 24 are in the center of the patch.  These patches are worn by chosen players solely during the All-Star weekend.

Regardless, the entire weekend had heart!

Now to explain the teams and the scores of the All-Star Game, the final event of the three day celebration.

The new format was a little confusing on paper, but made sense once I saw it in action. The score was reset after each quarter, and the team that won each quarter received a $100,000 charity bonus. Team LeBron won the first quarter, Team Giannis took the second, and the third ended in an out-of-our-seats thrilling tie.

I was amazed at the amount of fouls called, free throws taken, and even several challenges and reviews of plays.  This was unheard of in previous All Star games.  Usually, the referees are there as mere courtesy, like to hand the ball to the player for inbounding.  Not so this game.  This was like the seventh game of a world championship and the game was played with the same intensity.   

The total score of the game at the end of three quarters was 133-124 in favor of Team Giannis. Rather than having a traditional 12-minute game clock, the two teams played to 157, which was 24 more points than the leading team, a tribute to Kobe Bryant (and his jersey number).  At first, I wasn't sure this idea would work.
Then pure magic took over.  Instead of seeing a lot of player grandstanding, the crowd (and I) loved it.  We saw the world’s best basketball players actually compete and play defense against each other.  This was 10 alpha males who are usually the leaders of their respective teams, playing together and against their opponents.  It brought excitement to an event that many believe usually grows old in the opening 10 minutes. For once players cared.  So did the crowd.  So did I.  Now that I've seen how the system works, I hope they keep this same format in the future.  It was a nail biter till the final second.  The final score? Team LeBron 157, Team Giannis 155.

For this page, I wanted color and brightness, unlike the previous page which implied mourning.  I began by laying down yellow and purple watercolor pencils on a substrate of 110 lb card stock.   I created the yellow and purple hearts using acrylic craft paint.  From there all images came from the internet.  Since I only have black ink (inkjet printer) and black toner (laser printer), I knew it would be foolish to try to color in the uniforms.  Instead, I added dye ink around each of the computer generated sentiments.  To pull both spreads together, I added three gifted stars (thanks Jeanie) to the mix.

Thank you beyond belief for sticking with me all the way to the end.  I know it won't be read by some, but for me, it was a small way I could add to the many tributes that were made over the All-Star weekend.  It was something I definitely felt I needed to do.  Since there are hearts on both pages, I'm also sharing this with Art Journal Journey.  Hope to see you there, too. 


16 thoughtful remarks:

Valerie-Jael said...

Wonderful tribute to your favourite game. We even get basketball shown on out TV over here, but as you know, I don't watch any sports! Have a fun day, Valerie

froebelsternchen said...

A wonderful page to dignify basketball! Gorgeous made, made with much LOVE!

creativeseconds.com said...

Very cool way to hold onto a memory ~

aussie aNNie said...

Awesome post, great tribute as well.
Re my diamontes on my card, it was a real heart on a chain which I photographed and turned it into a png file and used it...xx

Iris Flavia said...

Germany, despite "having had" Dirk Nowitzki sadly is a land of soccer.

Slowwly American Football gets cool (Braunschweig being #1 again!), the Basketball Lions are first league, too, but I admit I´ve never seen a game, just pass by these huge guys and feel like a dwarf each time!! They have sponsored cars (VW Gold Plus) and you cannot see their heads fully, when they drive! Golf Plus is not big enough! But they are nice. Smiles all over.

So sad what happened to Kobe Bryant and his Daughter, it was on the news here, in "soccer land".

Great work you did as a tribute. Life is not fair at times.

CJ Kennedy said...

A very beautiful and heart-felt tribute

Divers and Sundry said...

What a lovely tribute :)

I enjoy watching any sport the person I'm with wants to see, so I'll treasure these moments with the Lakers. There are some times when we're all one sports family, and my heart goes out to the long-time Kobe and Lakers fans. The shock waves will be felt for a long time to come.

Sandra Cox said...

What a wonderful tribute, Elizabeth. Kudos.

My name is Erika. said...

These are both great pages Elizabeth. I am not a big basketball fan, but your love shines through. And I have to say the Kobe Bryant page is an extremely nice tribute. Hugs-Erika

Sami said...

A beautiful tribute to those who died on that awful accident and to the Lakers.
Well done Elizabeth xx

Meggymay said...

Wonderful tribute pages Elizabeth, I can tell when I read this post and previous times you have mentioned your favourite sport that you love the game.
The black heart really captures the mood and tone that the pages are showng .
Yvonne xx

Jeanie said...

This was super interesting. And I don't know HOW the all-star game got by me. I don't follow as much as I did when our home town kid, Magic Johnson, was playing but I still keep an eye out. Maybe I was too sick to care this weekend! I love these pages. The tribute to Kobe, everything. Well done, Elizabeth. And so well written too.

RO said...

The NBA needs to hire you TODAY! Your tribute, artwork, facts and comments truly epitomize what they stand for, and I love this so much. I know you're not on Instagram, but I hope it's okay f I take a few of these and share there. You've done a phenomenal job! Hugs, RO

pearshapedcrafting said...

A fabulous page and tribute Elizabeth! I wish we got to see more sports from the US than we do! Hugs, Chrisx

Cindy McMath said...

A great tribute. Your love of the game shines through.

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