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With one incredible display of athleticism, Dwight Howard put an indelible stamp on the NBA’s All-Star festivities from New Orleans. Howard’s Superman layup/dunk was just one of the examples of the talent on display during the weekend. Leading off the fun was Daniel Gibson and his eleven 3-pointers in the Rookie/Sophomore challenge. Gibson led the second-year players to another victory while winning MVP honors.

However, it appears there was some bad blood in Friday Night’s young ‘un showcase. And there was a TO appearance in the Celebrity All-Star “game.”

Saturday was all Dwight Howard, but before Superman donned his cape, Jason Kapono won the 3-point Shoot-out, tying Craig Hodges single-round high score with 25 points; Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and Becky Hammon (definitely hot) won the Shooting Stars contest—that’s right, two seven-footers essentially won a shooting skills exhibition; and Deron Williams won the Skills Contest.

After these displays were finished, it was Dwight Howard time. He started his assault on the Dunk Contest with a behind-the-backboard gem that, by all rights, should have cracked his skull open. Head injuries avoided (and after a highly-overlooked Gerald Green/cupcake dunk), it was time for Superman to appear.

What follows is not really a dunk, per se’, but whatever it is, it’s damn impressive, as I’m sure you’ve seen by now… but here’s the video anyway:

If it was a layup, it was the best. Layup. Ever. After Howard pulled that off, the rest of the contest seemed like a formality.

Superman’s performance was a perfect lead-in to Sunday’s 3-quarter exhibition + 1-quarter NBA Basketball, All-Star Game; a description 2008′s version did little to undo. In an entertaining game that featured an exciting finish, the Eastern Conference beat the West by the score of 134-128.

The East was led by MVP Lebron James, who had 27 points, 8 rebounds and 9 assists. However, MVP honors could’ve easily went to reserve Ray Allen, who came off of the bench to score 28 points, including 14 in the decisive 4th quarter. Allen did the majority of his damage in the final 3:15 of the game as he hit three 3-pointers. James capped the East’s victory with a resounding dunk in traffic over Dirk Nowitzki.

All-in-all, the highly slept-on NBA All-Star Game weekend did what it normally does: entertains. Yes, there have been some boring dunk contests and some of the competitions aren’t incredibly compelling, but no one does All-Star celebrations quite like the NBA. It’s easily preferable over the NFL’s Pro Bowl or MLB’s offering.

Yes, this year’s uniforms were unfortunate and some of the non-3-point shoot-outs/dunk contest contest were kinda bland, but, the final result was enjoyable… if you still like the NBA. Bonus: no Pacman Jones BS. Additional bonus: the music used on the introductions and at halftime make the city of New Orleans a perfect location to hold multiple All-Star events.

Much better than the American Idol, flavor-of-the-week performer. Nice choice, Commissioner Stern.