LaVine is living the dream

Mohamed Bafakih, Sports Editor

If Valentine’s Day weekend was spent on your couch all alone with the television set on ESPN and TNT with snacks all over the place and some cold beverages on the side (like myself), you definitely got your money’s worth.

The Big Apple this past weekend played host to the biggest All-Star event in all four major American sports.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the NBA All-Star festivities took center stage at Madison Square Garden for the first time since 1998, and the newly built Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the first time.

As much as I want to break down all the events, I’ll rag about how 19-year-old rookie sensation Zach LaVine stole the show and put up a performance for the ages.

We knew LaVine was coming in as the favorite but to be compared to Vince Carter’s 2000 Slam Dunk competition performance in Oakland is rightfully deserving, and even perhaps a slight edge on LaVine’s side.

With all respect to Carter and his amazing career that is still not degrading at the age of 38, Carter really was just a strong finisher and the stage was easier for him as much of his competition was average for a dunk contest. Also not to mention, if he dunked on a 7-2 player as he did that summer during the Olympics, this comparison would be unrealistic.

Carter then also had already competed twice before in the dunk contest and was showcased often in the national stage as part of the Toronto Raptors.

LaVine on the other hand plays on a Minnesota Timberwolves ballclub that gets

little-to-no coverage and for a rookie to go on the biggest stage of his career thus far (outside of getting drafted) and receive the maximum score of 100 in the first round by NBA legends is unbelievable.

As Kenny “The Jet” Smith mentioned after that second dunk, “He [LaVine] was born for this contest.”

On the first dunk, LaVine replicated Michael Jordan in ‘Space Jam’ as he wore a Jordan Tune Squad jersey.

Now anytime you put on a Jordan jersey, especially in a dunk contest featuring so many spectators, you cannot disappoint.

LaVine bounced it to himself on one side and went in-between the legs and reversed it on the other side of the rim, nearly hitting his head on the iron.

Gaining complete control of the crowd’s attention, the 6-5 guard out of UCLA followed his first dunk by throwing it to himself and bringing the ball nearly behind his knees and elevating for yet another perfect score.

Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic gave LaVine the best run for his money and despite some missed attempts by Oladipo, LaVine was in it to win.

In the final round, LaVine sealed it as he was assisted by teammates Andrew Wiggins (who should be in the dunk contest next year in his hometown of Toronto) and Shabazz Muhammad en route to a $100,000 first place victory prize, a trophy to showcase, and posters to be seen all across the basketball world.

I must say New York did a tremendous job hosting All-Star Weekend, but as it shifts north of the border next year to Toronto, I expect the 416 to prove to Americans