Dick Bavetta was all business. Charles Barkley's legendary confidence seemed shaken. But in the end, it was the younger Barkley who left with the victory... as well as a severely bruised tailbone after an ill-advised backpedal to the finish line. Video is below.
Hard to call Dick Bavetta a loser, though. He went through it with such good spirit, such class, and outright desire. He's 67 years old, and he willingly made a Pete Rose head first dive on a hardwood floor. Dick Bavetta has balls like iron cantaloupes.
If Bavetta wasn't the loser, though, who was? Naturally, Tim Hardaway. As if the race wasn't enjoyable enough, Bavetta and Barkley kissed afterwards, openly taunting Tim Hardaway.
Elsewhere in All-Star Saturday night competition, some people won the Shooting Stars and Skills Challenges. Agent Zero was destroyed in the three-point shootout by Agent Kapono, who had a near historic run of 24 points in the final round.
And in the dunk contest, Dwight Howard got mugged. For the second straight year, the best dunk of the night was not rewarded. When you can put a sticker on the backboard at 12 feet 6 inches and then dunk, all in one jump... you not only at least deserve a trip to the Finals, you might also be goddamn superhuman. Instead, the finals included Gerald Green and the increasingly annoying Nate Robinson.
I don't have anything against Nate himself, really... but he didn't deserve to win last year, and he didn't deserve to be in the final this year. Gerald Green ended up as your winner, and it's not that he's an unworthy champion... but I just can't get past the Dwight Howard injustice.