Cleveland (AP) — The names of the NBA’s greatest players have been called one after another, connecting the past and present of basketball.
And as each walked to the floor, LeBron James became even more distrustful.
The poster on the wall of his bedroom as a child has come back to life.
“Allen Iverson and Jason Kidd, Gary Payton, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson,” said James, still trying to grasp the experience. “Meet them today and then stand on stage with them-it’s just crazy.”
On Sunday night, the league celebrated Diamond Anniversary with a sparkling tribute to celebrate 75 years on hardwood floors.
During an inspiring half-time tribute to Sunday’s All-Star game, 45 members of the 75th Anniversary Team, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul Jabber, and James, are huge in the middle of the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. I stood from elbow to elbow on a round stage. ..
This was an opportunity to be salute to the pinnacle of the game for bowing and paving the way for today’s players.
For James, who created the Fade Away Jumper (a type that Jordan made famous), his chances of being around the idolized player to make Team LeBron win Team Durant 163-160 were overwhelming.
“Every time they announced another name, I didn’t even have the opportunity to please the player they named,” he said. “It was like Gary Payton. I was awesome. Then J Kidd appeared, then AI (Allen Iverson), then D. Wade, CP (Chris Paul), And it was Stephen (Curry). I just stumbled. “
It wasn’t just James.
Wearing a blue blazer with the 75th logo on each chest, the NBA’s best and best were introduced with big applause to Jordan, the last player on the podium raised on the central court. The biggest cheers went up.
The forward was first brought out by Charles Barkley. Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the current six all-stars of the 75th team, changed clothes from his Team LeBron uniform for a tribute on the court.
During the television broadcast, Berkeley said being in the NBA’s elite hit him harder than he expected. Antetokunpo, one of the two Europeans on the team, was also in awe of attending the ceremony.
“When I started playing basketball when I was young, I can’t imagine being next to all these best players of all time,” said the Milwaukee star. “Your name was called, went out there to wave their hands, stood next to them and talked to them, it was great.
“I couldn’t be here, so I shed a little tears on stage. Being among those guys-man, it’s crazy.”
Julius “Dr. J” Irving bowed to a crowd sold out, and always funny Dennis Rodman wore a basketball cap and a hooded sweatshirt under his jacket and lowered the burgundy carpet.
James was the last welcomed forward group, and former Cleveland stars spun in a circle to return the love that came from every corner of the arena. This was his homecoming weekend, which made it even more special in line with the 75th anniversary.
When James spotted the star-studded stage, he tried to immerse himself in that moment.
“It’s like going to a concert of your favorite musicians at the best stadium. While they’re playing, you’re literally on stage with them,” I can’t believe I’m here. There is a feeling, “he said. .. That’s the best way I can put it. “
“I can’t believe I’m sitting next to Bruce Springsteen playing with 160,000 spectators at a stadium in London, or I’m in the yard with Jay-Z. Whitney. · Sitting on stage with Houston. 90,000 Coliseum.
“It was like that to me. I couldn’t believe it.”
When it was his turn to welcome the center, Shaquille O’Neal stuck his tongue out at the camera and posed. The league’s career scoring leader, Abdul Jabber, imitated his signature “Skyhook” before the 74-year-old woman filmed it. A seat at the end of the stage.
Iverson, who once scored 54 points in the building, led the guards, shortly after George “Iceman” Garvin. He confirmed that the crowd remembered his famous finger rotation.
Before Jordan entered, a photo of Kobe Bryant on a huge scoreboard shows an emotional reaction to his young daughter Janna and the Lakers superstar who died tragically in a helicopter crash in 2020. I touched on the chanting of.
Even Curry, who was booed by the Cleveland crowd before scoring 50 points and winning the MVP’s honor, got a great hand.
Jordan was surprised as the league covered the details of the celebration.
Following the game, James confirmed that he would reconnect with Jordan, who urged the young child from Akron to chase after greatness.
“The way he put on his shoes, the way he wore his uniform, that is, to some of the cars he drove,” James said.
The still-living members of the 75th team who did not participate were shown in the video, each saluteing the fans with a wave.
This is the second time the league has commended its great man in Cleveland after the 50th Anniversary team was commended in 1997.
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