Just a few observations from Saturday’s All-Star Game that don’t have anything to do with UConn (because I did that for ESPN.com):
*-Kudos to LJ: Lauren Jackson has sore Achilles’ tendon, and I can’t imagine any fan or journalist would have criticized her if she’d skipped the flight to Connecticut and the All-Star Game. She still has the second half of the season in front of her and a chance to win a WNBA championship. Jackson doesn’t have to prove she will play in pain; we’ve seen plenty of that from her. So had she decided to give her Achilles’ a rest in a concession to long-term goals, no one would have thought less of her.
But LJ really, really enjoys playing, and the camaraderie of being around her peers. In the locker room after the West’s 130-118 victory, she was smiling non-stop and said this was one of the most fun things she does.
However, there was more to her decision than that. It really does matter to her that the fans wanted her there. You may think when you’re that good, you might take for granted that you’re going to be an All-Star. But that’s not the case for her.
“It’s an honor, especially for me being voted in. It’s a huge honor,” Jackson said. “I don’t think about injuries. I just go out and enjoy it. I guess I really love playing. That’s what it comes down to. If I didn’t like it so much, I wouldn’t do it.”
*-Mama’s little helper: One of the more popular people in the West’s locker room was Tina Thompson’s 4-year-old son, Dylan. When he wasn’t being hugged by a player, he was trying to help out. He kept bring bags of ice for Diana Taurasi to put on her knee. Checked to see if she needed some water. How about another towel?
“It’s OK, buddy, I’m good,” Taurasi told him, but he couldn’t resist still bringing over a few more bags of ice.
(Oh, all right. I said this blog entry would have nothing to do with UConn. But how can you avoid the Huskies? They were all over the place in this game.)
*-The Dunk: I don’t think the players in the All-Star Game should clear out to let someone try. If Sylvia Fowles doesn’t dunk in the natural flow of a game, then why do it during a game? To show off she could dunk, she could have done it during warmups or something. That said, I also wasn’t incensed that it happened the way it did. I just would have preferred it done differently.
The dunk isn’t something I worry about. It’s neat when it happens, and we all expect it to happen more often with the evolution of the athleticism of the players. I’m all for dunking. But the absence of dunks doesn’t bother me.
*-Sky high: I hope to have an ESPN.com column soon on the tandem of Fowles and Candice Dupree. Suffice to say that they’ve done a lot to be able to work together well, including Dupree expanding her range. They also have Chicago teammate Jia Perkins here.
Fowles and Dupree combined for 29 points and 11 rebounds. Meanwhile, Perkins had 16 points and five assists.
“I think we have a great team,” Perkins said of the Sky. “We have the right people, and we’re looking to build on that.”