“The Trainer is from your Cleveland Cavaliers, Gary Briggs!”: 1997 NBA All-Star Introductions (Part Two)

“The Trainer is from your Cleveland Cavaliers, Gary Briggs!”: 1997 NBA All-Star Introductions (Part Two)

The Internet has reduced my attention span to that of a gnat (Nicholas Carr wrote an interesting book a few years back about how the Internet rewires our brains, BUT OO LOOK SPORTZ). It takes me multiple sittings to get through any longform article as I get easily distracted by the world wide web’s never ending traps that have been set oh so meticulously. Which is why I elected to split these posts into two parts. I’ll try and keep most of these posts from hitting excessive word counts because no one wants to see my ramble on like that anyway. Last week we tackled the 1997 Western Conference All-Stars, so this week we’re going eastward with Biggie and Puff.

Let’s get back to Gund Arena


Doug Collins spits hot fire.


Assistant Coaches, including CLEVELAND’S OWN GARY BRIGGS (trainer but who cares)


You have to love all-star games when they throw the host city a bone with one of the assistant jobs and the crowd eats it up every time. We couldn’t pick the guy out of a lineup if we had 500 chances but the PA announcer just said Cleveland, dammit. A close cousin to when they introduce EVERY SINGLE employee before postseason games. I’m pretty sure they introduced the whole city of Cleveland before the World Series last year, which hey, if it’s Tom Hamilton I’ll listen to him read every name out of the phone book.


Vin Baker

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It’s alright Vin, we’ve all gotten Cheeto dust all over our fingers at some point.


Christian Laettner


The man, the myth, the warmup jacket. As a noted Duke apologist I won’t say much mean-spirited about Laettner other than to say he might have been the biggest 80’s villain come to life to ever step on the court. And no, that’s *not* mean, if anything it’s a compliment in Laettner’s world. He certainly never made things easy on himself and it’s all summed up nicely in his 30 for 30 doc. But at the end of the day, another rule of thumb: No hating on anyone that has taken the reigns of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Alright you can maybe hate on the suit a little.

laettner mad ants.jpg


Glen Rice


Your 1997 All-Star Game MVP. What kind of odds do you think you could have gotten on Rice to win MVP before this game? 50-1? Anyways, we can’t get too congratulatory for a Wolverine.

But a Hornets aside! Apart from having probably the hottest jacket in the 1990’s game, the Hornets were prominently involved in one of my favorite 1990’s short lasting Nickelodeon shows, My Brother and Me.


This show was on enough that you could have fooled me that it was on for 6 years. Nope, 13 episodes and gone too soon. But all they needed was the pilot. The show took place in Charlotte so they wasted no time jumping on the Hornets train in the first episode. I don’t really remember the plot so fact check me but I know it prominently involved the kids being overwhelmingly excited with the chance to meet former Hornets player Kendall Gill. Gill was a fine enough player but I remember even at 9 years old finding it amusing how thrilled these kids were with meeting him.

Although I really have no room to talk, that same year I waited in a hour and a half line at Kroger to get Vinny Testaverde’s autograph. I regret nothing.


Joe Dumars

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I don’t know what it is but Dumars always seemed like the guy that would tattle on all the other players to the coaches. “Yeah Coach I don’t want to be the one to tell you but Otis Thorpe is running a numbers game out of his locker.” And hey, he drafted Darko. Which, well, yeah.



Chris Webber


Whoops, that’s not his still.

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There we go. We’ll have more with Webber at a later date with his prominent involvement in one of my earliest sports memories. It wasn’t a positive one. To say something nice about Webber though, he might be the 2nd best (as long as Hubie Brown is still walking this earth there will be no competition) NBA color analyst.


Tim Hardaway


Bob Knight always gets a lot of recognition for his chair toss (which was perfectly replicated by Ron Swanson) but Tim Hardaway never gets enough credit(?) for his monitor throw. So it’s time for another game of WHO WORE IT BETTER?

tim hardaway monitor throw.gifbob knight chair toss.gif

Bob’s goes down in history and rightfully so but with Hardaway you get the destruction of actual equipment and the greatness later in the clip when Darrell Armstrong tries plugging the monitor back in. Think how great it would have been if Gene Keady retrieved Knight’s thrown chair. But it didn’t happen so I go ADVANTAGE HARDAWAY.


Terrell Brandon

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One minute you’re getting announced in your home team all-star game and you’re on a great Sports Illustrated cover declaring you the best point guard in the league, the next you’re getting shipped to Milwaukee with Tyrone Hill. It’s a whirlwind league I tells ya. Full credit to Terrell Brandon on both his playing career, and his cities career, consisting of the tropical climates of Cleveland, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. When he retired they should have given him a lifetime card to Burlington Coat Factory.


Alonzo Mourning

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When you have to sit out the all-star game but you get to wear an orange shirt in America’s finest municipality:

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Patrick Ewing

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You could make the argument Patrick Ewing had the worst 1990’s.

There’s this:

ewing dunk.gif

And this:

patrick ewing 2.gif

And to top it off he had his sexual potency questioned in a children’s movie. (fast forward to 1:40, or just watch the whole thing because come on it’s a Space Jam clip)


I’d say poor guy but he’s not exactly poor guy.


Scottie Pippen

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The jury is still out if Pippen is the finest athlete to come out of the University of Central Arkansas but I think he might be able to take it down. Central Arkansas, where’ the men’s teams are the Bears and the women’s teams are the Sugar Bears. I don’t know, that Revenant bear didn’t seem very sugary to me. Anyways, I’ve appreciated Pippen’s surliness in his post-career, I’d probably be salty too if I was an eternal second fiddle that could have probably won some titles even if Michael Jordan never existed. If you give Pippen’s creepy bust at the United Center a quarter it gives you backhanded compliments and complains about the kids these days.



Grant Hill

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Grant Hill is a treasure and just enjoy this top 5 “This is SportsCenter” spot (more of these to come).


Dikembe Mutombo


After scouring the Internet for longer than I’d like to admit I might just change this blog into weekly Dikembe gifs. Even with the legendary finger wag my indelible 90’s memory of Dikembe is his reaction after the Nuggets 8 seed win over the 1 seed Sonics in the ’94 playoffs. If only you could bottle up such joy. Dikembe did a lookback on local Denver TV a few years ago and as you can imagine it’s absolutely delightful. Man. Tony Pena might need to step aside this might just be Dikembe’s World now.

dikembe sonics.gif


Anfernee Hardaway

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The shoes, ohhh the shoes. I consider myself the luckiest elementary school basketball player in the world because I had Penny and Iverson shoes back-to-back years. I think I averaged 32 a game, no fact checks. I am the furthest thing from a shoe buff but I’m having a Sophie’s Choice on which pair I’d pick tops. What do you, THE ALL-IMPORTANT READER, think?




Michael Jordan


Who? But really, full credit to anyone that can elicit a very loud cheer from a group of people that once witnessed that very man rip out their collective heart and eat it in front of them.

That wraps up the intros, within the first 30 seconds of the game the announcing crew makes fun of Cavs Head Coach Mike Fratello’s style of play. Sigh. The East would go on to win 132-120 Maybe Glen Rice let the My Brother and Me kids touch the MVP trophy.


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