Little League World Series star Mo’ne Davis didn’t disappoint on her latest big stage.
The 13-year-old, who wowed the nation on the mound last summer, stole the show at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game Friday night at the Garden. She was being guarded by comedian/actor Kevin Hart, who’s about the same size as the diminutive Davis, early in the game outside the three-point line when she used a crossover dribble, attacked the paint and spun Hart out of his shoes for an easy layup.
“That was pretty cool,” Davis said. “I work on it, but usually don’t do it. It was the right time to do it.”
Hart, who like Davis is from Philadelphia, said, “No excuses,” as he returned to the huddle shortly after her basket.
The Garden was abuzz with stars from the NBA, WNBA and Hollywood two nights before the NBA All-Star Game is played Sunday. But much of the attention was on the teenager, who got one of the loudest ovations from the crowd when she was introduced before the game.
Davis shot to fame as the first girl to win a Little League World Series game. Only in eighth grade, Davis already plays basketball for the high school varsity team. “It was a lot of fun, a lot of people never saw me play basketball,” she said. “To play in the celebrity All-Star game was pretty cool.”
The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year finished the All-Star Game with four points, helping the West team beat the East 59-51. Hart had 15 points, won the MVP and announced he was retiring from the Celebrity Game. “She was really impressive out there,” said WNBA star Skylar Diggins. “She definitely held her own.” Davis was a little starstruck, too. She made sure to take a photo with Diggins after the game before she left.
KYLE BE SEEING YOU
Of all the players entertaining questions at NBA All-Star media day Friday, Kyle Lowry seemed to be in the best mood. The Raptor couldn’t have picked a better year for his first All-Star appearance, playing in New York, relatively close to his hometown of Philadelphia. The city also represents what could have been for the Toronto point guard.
James Dolan infamously vetoed a trade last season that would have sent Lowry to the Knicks. On Sunday, he’ll log his first All-Star minutes at Madison Square Garden, the place he thought he’d be calling home.
“I thought the trade was done, to be honest,” Lowry said. “But it wasn’t, so we can keep talking about that, but that’s history.”
Lowry was envisioning what playing for the Knicks would be like, something he feels is not unique to him.“Everyone would love to think about playing in the Garden and playing in front of that fan base,” he said. “But I’m happy in Toronto so I don’t got to worry about that.”
Not only will Lowry get to show Dolan what the Knick owner missed out on, but he’ll get to play as an All-Star in front of his family and friends who are expected to make the drive up I-95. “It’s like a perfect marriage right now,” Lowry said.
NO NET REWARD YET
Following the announcement in 2013 that the New York City teams would co-host the All-Star game, soon-to-be commissioner Adam Silver said the Nets would host the big Sunday game at Barclays Center in “the relatively near future,” a reward for only holding the sidebar events in 2015.
Amidst rumors that majority shares of the team and the arena are up for sale, CEO Brett Yormark told the Daily News that there hasn’t yet been a commitment from the Nets. He said the topic should be discussed shortly.
“I’m sure there will be some options to host it again,” Yormark said. “I’m sure after this weekend, management and ownership will sit down and decide whether or not it’s something we want to pursue. But the experience has been terrific.”
NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum — who went to high school in Brooklyn — said the league hasn’t set a timeline for the All-Star game returning to New York. “We haven’t determined when we’ll come back yet. We haven’t made any decisions,” he said. “But clearly, Brooklyn, with the brand new arena they have, it would be a fantastic place to host the All-Star game.”
Yormark and Tatum were at PS 11 in Brooklyn, just a 15-minute walk from Barclays Center, where Dwyane Wade helped dedicate a refurbished basketball court at the school, donated by the NBA. Wade’s appearance prompted one school girl to burst into tears when introduced to the Heat guard. “It shows the power and transcendence of our players,” Tatum said.
DURANT KNOCKS VOTE
During one of the biggest media gatherings of the NBA calendar, in front of a plethora of voice recorders, microphones and video cameras, Kevin Durant took the media to task for not being knowledgeable enough when it comes to awards voting and expressed a desire for the players to have a voice in the matter.
“I think media get too much power to vote on stuff that quite frankly I don’t think you really know a lot about as much as we know about it,” Durant declared. “We play against these guys every single night. . . . Our vote should count. Our opinions should count.”
FLYING UNDER RADAR
Early in the first half of Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, a crowd favorite emerged. From his youthful appearance to his gravity-defying dunks, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Andrew Wiggins endeared himself to the crowd.
Wiggins, the game’s MVP, finished with 22 points, six rebounds and four assists for the World team in a 121-112 win against the U.S. team in his second appearance at Barclays Center this season. Nets center Mason Plumlee scored 13 points, and his 25-year-old rookie teammate Bogan Bogdanovic had16 in a game involving first-and-second-year players with little defense. But few could match the excitement the 6-8 Wiggins built whenever he touched the ball.
The Canadian product added a monster block of a jumper from Orlando guard Victor Oladipo, who scored 22 points and seemed to be going at Wiggins at times. “I love being out there,” Wiggins said. “It was all in fun. It’s competitive but it’s fun, just trying to get the fans something to watch, the chit-chatting. It was fun.”
The Cavaliers selected Wiggins with the top pick of the NBA draft last June. He was then traded to Minnesota as part of the deal that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland after LeBron James signed with his hometown team.
LEBRON IN UNION POST
LeBron James was elected Friday as first vice president of the NBA players’ union, the NBPA, during its annual meeting as part of All-Star Weekend. The Associated Press said Clippers guard Chris Paul, the union’s president, reached out to James, who wanted to be involved in future talks for the next collective bargaining agreement, which could take place in 2017.
— With News Wire Services
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