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NBA All Star weekend brings entertainment — for better or worse

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Some aspects of the NBA All Star Game were fantastic. Fergie’s rendition of the national anthem was not. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

It was a slow weekend for sports yet somehow it gave us plenty to discuss.

With the wait for the Warriors’ return nearly over, there’s things I must address first:

Re-energized All Star Game

On Sunday, the NBA held its most compelling All-Star Game since 2006 when the East beat the West 122-120 and LeBron James become the youngest player (21) in NBA history to win the exhibition’s MVP.

With the new format allowing the two top vote-getters from each conference to select players from a pool of stars, we witnessed a game that actually featured a competitive spirit.

The players even participated on defense.

Look, you’re never going to mistake the NBA midseason classic as a postseason game, let alone a Wednesday night regular season game in December, but this year it was actually watchable, and that’s saying something.

Misfiring entertainers

One thing that went awry, or was masterful depending on how you look at these things, was the player introductions and the singing of the national anthem. Oh boy, were those bad.

Anybody out there have Kevin Hart fatigue and when did the All-Star weekend become a showcase for a comedian who reminds no one of Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy or Dave Chappelle? Enough is enough, NBA. The 27-minute intro Hart led is 27 minutes we can’t get back.

As for Fergie, watching her botch the national anthem was hysterical. It reminded no one of Marvin Gaye’s rendition back at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game, nor did it give me flashbacks of Whitney Houston sending chills down everyone’s spine before Super Bowl XXV.

Poor Fergie tried to spice up the anthem, but all she did was provide us with Hall of Fame memes and priceless facial expressions from Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Sometimes, a desecration can be entertaining.

Pace of play obsession

Last season, it took 3 hours and 5 minutes to complete a typical Major League Baseball game, which is fine by me.

What irks me are these half-cocked attempts to speed up the game. The beauty of baseball is that it doesn’t operate with a clock, which is why I’m happy that there will be no pitch clock this season.

In addition to the reduced time for pitching changes and inning breaks, mound visits will be limited to six over nine innings, which is cool, but there are so many loopholes to the new pace of play rules.

If games aren’t shortened by at least 25 minutes on average, has the league really accomplished anything? Just play ball and stop bitchin’ about the time of the game. Let’s not dehumanize everything in sports.

Bonta Hill of 95.7 The Game can be heard from 12-3 on the Greg Papa Show. Born and bred in San Francisco, he is a sports junkie who loves to sit in the lab (home), eats breakfast food for dinner, and has a newfound love for tequila. Follow at your own risk on Twitter @BontaHill.

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