Spy in the Skybox: Friday Morning Edition

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I’m back in the Skybox for most of Friday and there is a lot of activity going on in the arena today.  

  • Run-throughs for the Haier Shooting Stars competition started at 9:00am.  Again, there are stand-ins for every person who will be on the court during the real thing on Saturday night.  For the Shooting Stars competition, that means there are 12 guys on the stage to go through the introductions.  Then they actually get to go through an actual competition.  The only thing I hope is that the actual competition goes better on Saturday than it is going in rehearsals.  Most of the guys look like they’ve played basketball before but that half-court shot must be a killer.  They finally changed the rules for the stand-ins so they would only take one shot from each location other than half-court.  It was just taking too long!
  • After the Shooting Stars rehearsal, they did the same thing for the skills and dunk contests.  This was a little easier for the four participants.  The hardest thing for them (and it always seems like for the real players as well) was the bounce pass through the vertical hoop.  The ball seems to go through and then bounces out.
  • One of the guys doing the skills contest thought he would add a little flair at the end when he needed to make a lay-up and instead tried to dunk the ball.  Unfortunately for him, his legs were a little more tired than he anticipated and the ball hit off the front of the rim.  He quickly attempted and made another lay-up and then was laughed at as he left the court.  The camera guys decided to help him out by continually showing his miss on the big screen.

The entire Suns.com crew is now heading to the All-Star Media Availability for the next 2 hours.  I expect we’ll have some fun stories from that experience.

Jam Session Brings Back Memories


It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been more than a decade since the last time I attended the NBA’s Jam Session. I had just moved to Phoenix, and with comic book stores fewer and far between than they are in New York, I had recently developed a newfound love for the NBA.

It’s crazy to think of how much has changed in that time. In 1995, much of the hype in the All-Star Game was surrounding Grant Hill, a young forward out of Duke University who was set to be the “Air” apparent to Michael Jordan. Now that forward is calling the Valley his permanent home and seems determined to retire a Phoenix Sun. [Read more...]

All-Star Round Table

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Steve Nash, Bill Russell and Chris Paul shared a few All-Star laughs on Thursday.
(Jeramie McPeek/Suns.com)

I almost missed out on a great photo op today.

With more than 100 All-Star events or player appearances throughout the Valley this week – yes, more than 100 – it’s been a challenge trying to put together our plan of attack for Suns.com. While we always work to bring you in-depth coverage of All-Star, we wanted to take our collective game to another level this year with the NBA’s midseason extravaganza here in our hometown. Still, we obviously had to pick and choose which events we were going to tackle.

Well, I didn’t pick or choose Steve Nash’s afternoon interview with CNN over at “Stoudemire’s Downtown.” Sounded kind of boring, to be honest. But after sitting in my dark office all day long (the giant adidas signage covering the north glass wall of US Airways Center is NOT see through), I decided to get some fresh air and see if I could get a photo or two of Nash arriving at the restaurant. [Read more...]

Barnes Shows Off His "Virtual" Game



Barnes is a gamer on and off the court.
(Stefan Swiat/Suns.com)

If you though Matt Barnes was a good basketball player in reality, you should see him virtually. A truckload of fans gathered around EA Sports’ booth at Jam Session in Phoenix’s Convention Center on Thursday to see the Suns forward as he played EA Sports NBA Live ‘09. [Read more...]

Commissioner Stern Officially Tips Off Jam Session



Commissioner Stern tweets with his buddy Shaq in his spare time.
(Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images)

2009 NBA All-Star officially tipped off with an opening ceremony that was held at Jam Session on Thursday afternoon. The event was hosted by legendary Suns broadcaster Al McCoy and attended by NBA Commissioner David Stern, Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver, Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver, Suns President & COO Rick Welts, Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, City Councilman Michael Johnson, Head of adidas basketball Lawrence Norman, former Mercury star Jennifer Gillom and current Suns guard Leandro Barbosa. [Read more...]

Jared Dudley's Crystal Ball

(NBAE Photos/Getty Images)

(NBAE Photos/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Suns.com checked in with Jared Dudley and asked him for his predictions regarding this weekend’s All-Star festivities in Phoenix.

[Read more...]

J-Rich Challenges Youths to “Man Up”

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“You can never be a professional basketball player.”

While most youths with an NBA dream would take that statement to heart, thankfully, Jason Richardson didn’t. In fact, he steadfastly refused to let his teacher’s comment interfere with his future profession, and for the last four years, he’s been working with young students to encourage them to achieve their dreams while also making positive choices in life. [Read more...]

From the All-Star Skybox

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When something big comes around like the All-Star game or the playoffs, the Suns.com crew isn’t satisfied with just sitting in the newsroom watching the game on TV while simultaneously working. So long before I started working here, the department was given permission to work from what used to be the Organ Loft of the arena. We’ve begun calling it the “Skybox.”

The Skybox isn’t perfect by any means. We can’t see the scoreboard above the court, we’re higher than even the nosebleed seats and there is no elevator so we get to carry all of our computers, cameras and any other equipment we may have up several flights of stairs. But it’s definitely better than listening to the crowd have a good time and knowing we are at the arena but not really experiencing the game! [Read more...]

5 Questions With Hall of Famer Rick Barry



(Daniel Banks/Suns.com)

2009 NBA All-Star officially tipped off in Phoenix on Wednesday and one of the events that signified the beginning of the celebration was the appearance of Hall of Famer Rick Barry at the Suns Team Shop located inside the US Airways Center. The eight-time All-Star, who played for the Warriors, Nets and Rockets during his professional career, signed autographs for fans for an hour as the NBA debuted its All-Star merchandise in the team shop.

Barry, who was named to the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, allowed Suns.com to fire five questions in his direction about a variety of topics that included 2009 NBA All-Star, his playing days and where the basketball talent lies within his family.

[Read more...]

Suns Greats to Judge 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest

Larry Nance

Saturday’s 2009 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest will have a decidedly Suns feel to it. All-Star Saturday’s annual jamming exhibition will be judged by a cast of celebrated former Suns standouts. [Read more...]