18 Feb 19
San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Editor’s note: The following is from the Purple & Gold newsletter for Monday, Feb. 18, covering the Lakers and the NBA from beat writers Kyle Goon and Mirjam Swanson. To get the Purple & Bold newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.
Imagine this: You have to sit on a podium for 25 minutes, taking questions from a horde of 100, maybe 200 media members crushed together in front of you.
They ask for shout-outs to different countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, Israel. Can you say “hello” in Chinese? What’s your favorite food? What’s your favorite emoji? What’s your favorite dinosaur.
Then, from somewhere out in the expanse: “Can I show you a magic trick? Pick a card.”
It might not come across for fans just how weird All-Star Weekend is. It’s a circus that attracts people from the furthest places and on the furthest edge of the spectrum of human experience. Selfie sticks sprout up like weeds. It leads to many, many fruitless and unimportant exchanges between the NBA’s best players and strange people with cameras.
But short of me asking you all to get off my lawn, there is an artistry to this weirdness: There’s occasional moments of surreal interaction, when players are feeling game enough or questions are strange enough — or even if a player just wants to shoot a question down in an entertaining way.
We were blessed in Charlotte with the gift of ASAP Sports transcripts, which recorded parts of each of the 24 All-Stars’ media press conferences Saturday. Here, assembled for your reading pleasure, is a collection of the wackiest quotes and exchanges from All-Star weekend:
Q. Let me get this first one out of the way: You’re the king of the beard swag. What did you condition it with this morning?
JAMES HARDEN: Conditioner. Conditioner and shampoo, making sure it’s nice and fluffy. I got a haircut yesterday, so it look real good.
Q. One thing about you that you wish people knew that they don’t?
BLAKE GRIFFIN: One thing about me that I wished people knew? I love being asked the question, “What’s one thing about you that people don’t know?” That’s one of my favorite things. People don’t know that.
Q. Michael Jordan’s birthday is this weekend. If you were to get M.J. something for his birthday, what would you get him?
NIKOLA JOKIC: Horse.
Q. Not a goat?
NIKOLA JOKIC: Not a goat.
Q. What was your Valentine’s day gift this year?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: This year, I didn’t get nothing this year. Nothing, man.
Q. Ric Flair is from here. If you were a wrestler, what would your wrestling name be?
KYLE LOWRY: I need like The Pineapple, something like that. Rough on the outside, but sweet on the inside.
Q. The Prickler.
KYLE LOWRY: That’s it. The Pineapple Prickler, there you go right there.
Q. What’s your best move?
KEVIN DURANT: My best move? I don’t know. Go check YouTube and tell me tomorrow.
Q. Do you like the fact that Giannis is trying to fix your relationship with [Russell] Westbrook?
JOEL EMBIID: I mean, I don’t care.
Q. If you could trade places with any of your teammates this week, who would it be?
KLAY THOMPSON: If I couldn’t be here in Charlotte, I know Draymond is in some beautiful, exotic destination. I think Puerto Vallarta. So that sounds pretty nice.
Q. PG, it’s all about the big names in the league. Who do you think is rocking the tightest nickname right now?
PAUL GEORGE: Man, I think the Joker [Nikola Jokic], man. The Joker is a dope name. I think Jokic got the best nickname right now.
Q. I was wondering, did you take dance classes when you were younger? You’re so shifty. Those feet. How did you learn to be so stop and go? Did you take dance classes when you were younger?
KEMBA WALKER: I did actually.
Q. I knew it. From one dancer to another.
KEMBA WALKER: Thank you.
KING OF THE COMEBACKS
While you chew on if the Lakers have what it takes to charge back into the playoff picture in the final 25 games, here’s some minor evidence to consider: In the past two All-Star Games, Team LeBron has mounted comebacks down 13 in 2018 and down 20 in 2019 to win both. As I wrote last night, it’s tough to doubt LeBron James.
– Kyle Goon
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Come get your All-Star Click-its
Team LeBron triumphs – Some observations from the game, and what LeBron had to say about going into the final 25-game stretch in the regular season.
An era of unrest after AD – The NBA is grappling with the problems of trade requests and tampering sensitivity with the situation in New Orleans.
No fast break for Magic – Mark Heisler looks at how this Lakers’ era won’t be as easy to build as Showtime.
Kyle Kuzma’s meaningful MVP – In a meaningless game, Kuz talked about what mattered to him (besides the check).
Actually interesting questions and answers – Here’s what LeBron had to say about D-Wade, Colin Kaepernick and much more.
The King becomes the owner? – It could happen, but not for a while, he says.
Last dance with D-Wade and Dirk – The entire league was happy to see these two vets come to Charlotte on a special invite.
No more trade talk – Kyle Kuzma is ready to move beyond the trade deadline.
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