If Becky Hammon and Robert Horry in the celebrity game weren’t enough San Antonio representation in Dallas for the opening night’s festivities of All-Star Weekend 2010, DeJuan Blair was destined to change that.
Being overlooked is nothing new for the 6-7 Blair, who watched as 29 other NBA GMs passed on him on draft night.
A pregame poll on NBA.com asked which rookie would have the biggest impact on the game. Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry and Brandon Jennings all made the list, but Blair was nowhere to be found.
But you didn’t have to search for him once the game started. His presence was felt early with hustle points and rebounds. Of course that’s no surprise to Spurs fans, who see him do the same thing on a nightly basis.
The highlights wouldn’t elude him though as he picked off a pass and ran the length of a court. He was rewarded with a pass on the other end and with no one else in front of him, he threw the ball off the glass and slammed it through on the rebound. Needless to say the crowd went crazy!
It was more of the same in the second half as Blair seemed to tear down every rebound, even over 7 ft. center Brook Lopez. It almost seemed as if he was unstoppable, until he got hit in the face and had to be taken in for stitches. Luckily for Spurs fans it wasn’t anything serious. Oh and Coach Pop was reported to have called Blair not to check up on his injury but to tell him to stop taking 3-point shots.
But Blair came back with a vengeance showing off his low post game against much taller, and even faster opponents. With seconds left in the game, he jumped out of bounds to save the ball, then came back inbounds for a pass, squared up against Lopez and put him on skates with a spin move. Lopez tried everything but a gang tackle to keep Blair from scoring, but it didn’t work. It was fitting Blair got a rebound and a score before the final buzzer went off.
In the end, Blair scored 22 points and led both teams with 23 rebounds. Heading into the final vote, those on Twitter were unanimous, Blair was the MVP. However, in the end, the MVP went to Kings guard Tyreke Evans, who decided to share it with Blair as both players hoisted up the trophy.
So Blair was overlooked yet again, but this time it was by NBA fans. Blair might want to relish being off the radar for now, because this was certainly a night 29 GMs will remember.
Jeff Garcia contributed to this post.