Tuesday, February 19, 2008

All Star 08'-Post New Orleans

Took a couple of days to shoot down to New Orleans for this years NBA All Star festivities. First of all, the city is ready. Minimal problems with a high flux of people, events and mostly good weather. Get back down there if you haven't been or if you haven't been-it's a must do this year.

As usual a lot of stars, athletes and aspirational lifestylers. One thing that stuck out was the adidas presence everywhere with it's "Basketball is a Brotherhood" mantra. You could not but help how they'd integrated itself in every subtle crevice of the city. I just told someone earlier that it's a great campaign that I believe has a lot of potential legs in terms of becoming viral and engaging the consumer.

The game itself was also pretty entertaining this year. King James re-emerged and took home MVP after dunking on a few players from the West early on. Dude is a monster, believe me, I saw some things in person against the best in the league and he's going to only get better for a long time to come.

Next, let me just say Dwight Howard has so much marketability in his future as a big man. His progression on and off the court since his rookie year was purely illustrated as he donned the Superman cape and brought the dunk contest back from flat-lining. I think even Soulja Boy would have to admit that he can't match the pagentry Howard brought out the phone booth.

I'm predicting a rise in NBA viewership going into the second half of the year and continuing into the playoffs this year, much higher than the last 4-5 years. Why? One, the West has long been the weighted most competitive conference, but now with Boston, Detroit and a young Orlando led by the aforementioned Howard and we have some balance. Don't forget Cleveland, trading deadline isn't over yet. And speaking of trades...JKidd's back in Dallas and the West just got even more interesting. Who is not going to be watching NBATV this year? With a set of moves that now calls for three reconfigured teams (PHX, Dallas & LA) along with the others and we have something to look forward to. Combine that with young Portland and Seattle and the NBA has set itself up nicely (and lucratively) for the next 5-10 years. Not to mention the recent announcement that there will be five additional European team, plus whatever becomes of the teams in China.

Mark it down, the NBA is now officially, NBAE (E is for 'entertainment').

Let the games begin.

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