NBA All-Star Weekend set to torture long-suffering New York basketball fans

New York will be center stage as the best NBA players participate in several events for All-Star Weekend 2015.

New York will be center stage as the best NBA players participate in several events for All-Star Weekend 2015.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

1976 was the year of the bicentennial celebration of America’s independence, Sugar Ray Leonard and Bruce Jenner were celebrated for winning their gold medals in the 1976 Olympics, and the NBA and ABA merged, uniting the best basketball players in one league. 1976 also happens to be the last year a professional basketball team won a championship in New York.

"Dr. J" Julius Erving led the NY Nets past the Denver Nuggets for the last ABA championship in 1976.

“Dr. J” Julius Erving led the NY Nets past the Denver Nuggets for the last ABA championship in 1976.

Julius Erving led the New York Nets, based in Long Island, to an upset victory over David Thompson and the Denver Nuggets. 29 years later, the NBA’s best players will take center stage in New York, with events taking place at both Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden.

Erving (l) and David Thompson (r) not only went head-to-head in the 1976 ABA Finals but also the inaugural slam dunk competition as well. Dr, J was victorious on both occasions.

Erving (l) and David Thompson (r) not only went head-to-head in the 1976 ABA Finals but also the inaugural slam dunk competition as well. Dr, J was victorious on both occasions.

Friday and Saturday will be highlighted by the Celebrity Basketball game and a newly formatted Rising Stars challenge that will pit first and second year players from the US against international players. 1976 was also the year of the inaugural slam dunk competition, won by “Dr. J” Julius Erving. Saturday, will also feature the Slam Dunk competition, as well as the Skills Challenge, and a star-studded 3-point shootout.

The Eastern Conference starters that were voted for Sunday's game. (l - r) Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry.

The Eastern Conference starters that were voted for Sunday’s game. (l – r) Pau Gasol, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry.

The Friday and Saturday events scheduled for the Barclays Center will surely be entertaining, Sunday’s All-Star game at MSG should be intriguing. LeBron James will headline an Eastern squad that will feature four Atlanta Hawks and the lone New York representative in Carmelo Anthony.

Steph Curry (l) and James Harden (r) are top MVP candidates this season and will compete in the 3-point shootout while starting together in the backcourt  for Sunday's All-Star game.

Steph Curry (l) and James Harden (r) are top MVP candidates this season and will compete in the 3-point shootout while starting together in the backcourt for Sunday’s All-Star game.

The Western squad will be headlined by this season’s MVP candidates Steph Curry and James Harden. The West will be the favorite in the matchup as their team also includes the best duo in the NBA in Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant as well as talented big men in LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, and DeMarcus Cousins.

The last time the Knicks went to the NBA Finals was the year after New York hosted the 1998 All-Star game. Larry Johnson's 4-point play against the Indiana Pacers was perhaps the most memorable  shot on that Finals run.

The last time the Knicks went to the NBA Finals was the year after New York hosted the 1998 All-Star game. Larry Johnson’s 4-point play against the Indiana Pacers was perhaps the most memorable shot on that Finals run.

While NBA fans will have the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of New York, weather permitting, and marvel at the best players the league has to offer, Knicks and Nets fans will have to return to a season where both teams have been disappointments. But who knows? The last time New York hosted the NBA All-Star game was 1998 then the Knicks went to the Finals the following year. So there’s a little hope for New York basketball fans.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a training/benefits consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twiiter.com. For business inquiries contact (646)309-1938.

New Edition electrifies Barclays Center on All Six Tour, with Joe

new edtioui

All six members of New Edition showed up ready to thrill their fans at Barclays Center on June 29, 2014.

By Carmen Glover

A reunited New Edition group, celebrating 31 years of providing quality entertainment to a devoted fan base, took Brooklyn’s Barclays Center by storm on Sunday, June 29, 2014, the last Sunday of Black Music Month. The group kicked off the All Six Tour, featuring Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Bobby Brown, Ron Devoe, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivens in a concert that seemed like it was made up of several mini-concerts smoothly interspersed with performances by the group itself.

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Smoldering, sensuous,  R& B singer Joe infused his performance with raw sexuality that had his fans screaming in rapturous ecstasy.

Sensuous R&B crooner Joe opened the show with his trademark velvet voice, seducing the women in the audience seamlessly, without a shred of apology. Belting out many of his hits, he had the crowd singing along like they were members of the Joe Choir. Not satisfied with the distance presented by the stage, he climbed down and mingled with the crowd as a phalanx of security guards swarmed him, providing a semi-buffer from the adoring females who hugged and caressed him possessively. Joe gave a spectacular performance and treated the audience to hits such as “More and More,”I want to Know,” “Don’t Want to be a Player,” “A Love of my Own” and “All the Things your Man Won’t Do.”

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Johnny Gill’s powerful voice seemed like it shook the walls of the Barclays Center on Sunday night.

When Joe left the stage, DJ Marley Marl went back in time with a raft of hip hop hits that transformed Barclays Center into a block party of dancing fans. In the middle of his set, he invited Jeff Redd onstage who performed his hit “You Called and Told Me.” Redd was so pleased with the positive reception he inspired that he sang the song twice, borrowing a page from Joe’s book and leaving the stage to mingle with the crowd. After Redd’s performance, Marl continued with a musical interlude and then the stage went dark as a hush fell over the hall.

Bobby

Bobby Brown  struggled with the notes in some of his songs but gave a decent performance.

Anticipation built to a crescendo until voices emerged from the darkness, announcing that all six members of New Edition were on stage. Then came a burst of light and an onslaught of music as the group members greeted their fans and began to sing, dance, and entertain like only they can. They performed together as a group, then each of the lead singers had a set consisting of two to three songs.

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Ralph Tresvant proudly displayed his trim physique and his still perfect tenor as he soared with the notes in the musical selections.

Gill sang “Rub You the Right Way,” “Fair Weather Friend,” and “There you Go.” Tresvant opened his set with “Sensitivity” and segued into “Money Can’t Buy You Love” and “Stone Cold Love,” while Brown sang “My Prerogative” “On Our Own,” “Roni,” and “Good Enough.” Brown brought two of his children onstage with him to dance while he sang. Bell Biv Devoe took to the stage and showcased stellar dance moves that would put teenagers to shame!  They sang “Do Me Baby,” “I Thought it was Me” and “When Will I See You Smile Again?”

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Ricky Bell,  Ronnie Devoe and Michael Bivens were energetic and confident, singing effortlessly while dancing with dexterity and finesse that many younger singers would love to emulate.

All six performers then converged onstage to perform a medley of the group’s hits including “Candy Girl,” “Can You Stand the Rain?” “Lost in Love,” “If It Isn’t Love,” “NE Heartbreak,’ “Count Me Out,” “Cool It Now,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Jealous Girl” and “Is This the End.” image Bell Biv Devoe ended the show with “Poison” and the audience made it clear that, given the chance, they were prepared to spend the night dancing to New Edition’s music. All six performers thanked the audience for their support and loyalty.

Despite horrendous acoustics that distorted the sound effects at several points throughout the night subsequently shortening the expected duration of the show, the concert was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening. The members of New Edition will continue on their multi-city tour with a performance this week in Atlanta. Check local listings for show times and locations. —OnPointPress.net.