At the 2014 NBA Rising Stars Game on Friday night, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dion Waiters put on one of the greatest shows in the history of any basketball game, when they decided to go 1-on-1 at a crucial stage in the game. Sure, it was a meaningless contest, with nothing but pride and hype on the line, but Hardaway Jr. and Waiters basically took over for their respective teams, with the support and acknowledgement of their teammates to have the appreciation to stand back and let them both do their thing. They nailed three-pointers at a record pace, with one taking one giant step backward each trip down the floor to challenge the other to bury one from further back. After driving against each other and then settling back in to more of a 5-on-5 sort of game, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder said that he would love to go 1-on-1 with someone during the 2014 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night. When pressed for an answer as to whom he would love to challenge, Durant pulled no punches.
Obviously, it was LeBron James of the Miami Heat. In my opinion, Durant threw down the challenge to James on live television in front of a national audience. The story received huge traction, with the entire world buzzing about what we could witness on Sunday night. It could have helped save an All-Star weekend that once again included a lackluster performance on Saturday night. It could have had the entire world talking about it and blowing up social media toward the end of the weekend and through this week. It could have been huge.
It could have been huge. It just never happened.
We all know that Durant wanted it. We know the NBA fans wanted it. We know TNT wanted it. Unfortunately, James wanted none of it.
I don’t know f he was scared. I don’t know if he was too into winning the game. I don’t know what his excuse was, or if he had time to create one.
All I know is that all people will be talking about, despite the fact that it was a record-setting game that featured the most points in All-Star Game history with absolutely no defense played whatsoever, is the night that James failed to man up and accept a challenge.