Painting All-Star Saturday Green

February 10, 2010 - 10:26 am

The post-Super Bowl hangover is upon us. There will be no more football until the preseason kicks off in August, and spring training is still a month away. But there is hope for this first weekend without an NFL game on the menu: NBA All-Star Weekend.

The game itself? That is secondary. Who remembers who won it last year, or even who the MVP was (the West cruised to a 146-119 win, and Kobe and Shaq shared the MVP honors). The only memorable moment from that Sunday didn't even happen during the game.

What makes the All-Star game worth watching, of course, is the events on Saturday night. And Celtics fans will get a chance to see two of the green in action in Dallas when Rajon Rondo takes part in the H-O-R-S-E competition and Paul Pierce joins the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout participants. While Rondo will be basking in the glow of his first All-Star selection, Pierce will have some incentive after his performance in the contest in 2002, when he came through with just eight points and had Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley talking more about his clothes than his game.

So, to get fans in Boston ready for Saturday, here is a history of some of the highs and lows of Celtics who have been a part of All-Star Saturday night'€™s events.

Larry Bird

The first Three-Point Shootout '€” actually dubbed the '€œLong Distance Shootout'€ '€” occurred in 1986 in Dallas, which just so happens to be the site of this year'€™s All-Star weekend. The winner? Larry Bird. This was the year of the famous story when Bird sauntered into the locker room and asked his fellow participants, "All right, who's coming in second place today?" as chronicled here.

Bird won the event in each of its first three years, but the 1988 final was perhaps his best moment of the three. (Fun fact: Celtics GM Danny Ainge was also in that field, and appeared in the event twice as a Celtic in '€™88 and '€™89.) With Dale Ellis setting the bar at 15, Bird came out ice cold. But in typical Larry Legend fashion, he came through in the clutch, nailing eight of his last 10 shots, including the dagger moneyball at the end, to take the victory.

Dee Brown

The Reeboks. The no-look dunk. Dee Brown'€™s performance at the 1991 All-Star game is legendary. Brown went head-to-head in the finals with the heavy favorite, Shawn "Reign Man" Kemp, and put on a show in Charlotte. And he will always be synonymous with arguably the coolest basketball shoes that have nothing to do with Michael Jordan.

Greg Minor

The list of players who were a part of the 1996 Slam Dunk contest was a mostly forgettable lot. The favorite was Michael Finley, and the actual winner was Brent Barry, two guys who are remembered more as outside shooters. And then there was the relatively anonymous Greg Minor. But he was a Celtic, and he tried to follow in Brown'€™s footsteps. He actually made it to the second round along with the aforementioned pairing, but finished third.

Antoine Walker

Celtics fans have don'€™t exactly have the fondest memories of '€™Toine hoisting threes. But he did  just that, a lot, and he wasn't exactly good at it: He only shot 32 percent from beyond the arc in 2002-03, the year he took part. The field included former Celtic David Wesley and the aforementioned Barry, as well as the defending champ Peja Stojakovic. Walker may have had the worst performance in the history of the event, finishing behind his buddy Pierce with just seven points in the opening round and ending with a flourish of air-balls.

Gerald Green

OK, so Gerald Green was the very definition of a bust. He couldn'€™t play defense and barely cracked the rotation in his tenure as Celtic. But you can'€™t discount that the fact that he was athletic. And in a dismal season before the Big Three were brought together that started with the death of Red Auerbach and included an 18-game losing streak, Green delivered the only bright spot by shining at the dunk contest in Vegas.