But itís all good. Itís one of the best showcase events in pro sports, mainly because itís all about our fans and having fun and everyone loosens up and just hangs out for those few days. Itís about being peers and playiní ball like we did growiní up. Seeing the big dogs all together in some friendly competition always makes for a great time. Itís not about the name on your jersey any more, you know? But I do have to add that this year there were a lotta green jerseys Ö My favorite kind.
Our team was all over the East Conference roster. Ray Ray, KG and Rajon, Doc and all our coaches made the trip, too. One of our assistants, Lawrence Frank, even coached the sophomore team in the Saturday night rookie-sophomore game. Having so many familiar faces makes things more enjoyable.
Itís definitely a testament to the hard work our guys put in this season and itís nice to get recognized for that. Adds another layer of intensity and fun, beiní able to compete on the All-Star stage alongside your own guys.
It makes the weekend a little more comfortable. Sometimes coming to the All-Star game can feel a little odd, since youíre so used to beiní around your own guys. Even though youíve played a lot of times in all these venues, itís definitely a different thing when you donít have all your teammates, coaches and staff around.
This year was a lot different though. Not only was I in my hometown, but I had all my teammates and coaches here. So the guys made plans to go out, have a little fun, maybe get something to eat, catch a performance or something. Just enjoy the weekend together, it was cool.
It was a great show, watching all the superstars throughout the league like Kobe, Carmelo & Durant, going up against each other. Itís crazy. Donít worry, even though everyone chilled and hung out a bit over the weekend, we all go back to being enemies on the court when Monday rolls around Ö and itís back on. Back to battling out down the stretch run and tryin to get ourselves in position for the playoffs. Our goal is to go in with a head of steam and to make sure that Game 7 is on our home turf this time.
Even though I was real excited to play with my teammates in the game, one of the highlights for me was defending my title against the ďKing of the ThreeĒ himself, Ray Allen, in the 3-point contest. I was talkin' about it for awhile so, even though I got off to an iffy start, I stepped up my game down the stretch and made it to the Finals and then, well, you all know what happened. Lost to the young fella from the Heat. But it was fun, and Iíll tell you this, my main focus is to win the titles that count, and thatís Banner 18 for us.
Now, you know I love Boston fans. Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again that theyíre some of the smartest, most passionate fans in the game. But come on now, where is the love for No. 34? I do have to call you guys out for voting for Ray over me on my survey last week Ė but I guess itís cool as long as Iím losing votes to a teammate. But I got my eye on you now, so you know. Weíre gonna need you to focus your energy for us down the season stretch run and into the playoffs, so time to step up your game.
Again, I was excited to come back to my hometown for this weekend. Only downside for me was that everyone I knew, and Iím pretty sure their mothers too, wanted me to help get them tickets. Tried to help out where I could, but Iím sure someone ended up pretty mad at me, I just know it. I can handle my business on the court, but handling all these ticket requests is a whole other thing.
On the positive side though, I didn't have to make a ton of travel plans for friends and family, so I guess in the end it all evened out. So I just enjoyed the weekend with my teammates and my friends and family and soaked it all in. Just a little breather before we get back to it.People ask me what my favorite All-Star standout moments are, and I got about a decade of them. But a lot of mine are things that happened off the court, Ďcus the game is my job, but the other stuff, all the celebrities and stuff, thatís all kind of wild for me. I do get star struck, believe it or not, but I donít like to show it. I try to keep calm and professional at all times. I find that to be the best way to get the things in life you really want. But last year I got to meet Mary J. Blige Ė wonít ever forget that. Iíve always admired her, listened to her music, and there I was talking to her. Thereís so many stars that come out for the game Ė you know, all the musicians, the comedians, the actors and actresses. Itís a total scene the whole weekend, everywhere you go. This year we had Dustin Hoffman, Mark Wahlberg, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, George Lopez, that producer Brian Glazer, all the stars came out.
And it was great that some of those guys were able to come out and support me at my Microsoftís Bing All-Star Health & Fitness Festival at my old stompiní grounds, the Inglewood High School gym, where it all started for me. Thatís the spot where I really learned that having skill is good and even necessary, but it doesnít mean a thing unless you work hard and practice, practice, practice. Also realized that I really had to dedicate myself and keep myself in shape if I wanted to compete at the highest level. It was the highlight of my All-Star weekend for sure. Great to be able to go back and give back and help turn an old storage space at Inglewood High into a state-of-the-art Locker Room Lounge with the help of HGTVís Robert and Cortney Novogratz, a top notch design team.
As part of my Truth on Health initiative, the Festival was about encouraging and helping youth make informed decisions about living a healthy lifestyle.
Bing donated 600 of my Paul Pierce Activity Watches to students that were there. These watches, which track their daily exercise, allow the students to participate in my FitClub34 (a rewards-based fan club turned "fit" club) and earn cool prizes for their commitment to fitness.
Our friends over at Xbox also got in on the fun. We had Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 set up at one of the fitness stations, demonstrating how being active can be a lot of fun too (we love the boxing game!).
And of course, no fitness festival with me would be complete without basketball clinics and fitness demonstrations, as well as a ton of activities hosted by Microsoft Kinect! Kids got to do yoga, dance, and basketball drills.
Many thanks to the celebs, including my friend Maria Menounos from ďAccess Hollywood,Ē Tristan Wilds from ď90210,Ē Rocsi Diaz, TV host of BETís 106 & Park, Lil C, choreographer from So You Think You Can Dance, Zendaya from the Disney Channel and Bobbíe J from 30 Rock. Even Christoper Mintz-Plasse, my favorite guy from ďSuperbadĒ came to share in the fun. They really helped make it a great day for the kids, and Iím really excited they showed up.
And now, that all the festivities are behind us, itís back to focusing on that banner. So now itís on!
Paul Pierce's Truth on Health campaign empowers and encourages young people to lead healthier lives by providing them with the information, resources, and tools necessary to become more active and physically fit. To learn more, visit www.truthonhealth.org
Follow Paul Pierce on Twitter @PaulPierce34 and @TruthonHealth and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/paulpierce
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About the authorPaul Pierce is the captain of the Boston Celtics. Pierce has spent his entire career with the Celtics since being drafted in 1998 out of Kansas, and led them to their 17th NBA Championship in 2008, when he was the NBA Finals MVP. More »
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For more information on FitClub34, visit TruthonHealth.org