By Patricia Bermudez-Hizon
For Yahoo! Southeast Asia
It takes a lot to land a spot in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and play with some of the certified greats. For one, you must be a certified star to be on the lineup or be connected to the general managers like comedian Jimmy Kimmel and Bill Simmons of ESPN.com.
On Team Kimmel, representing the West, they had Chuck's Zachary Levi, Rob Kardashian, rapper Lil' Romeo, Trey Songz, teaming up with WNBA's Swin Cash, former NBA players like AC Green, Rick Fox, and Jalen Rose.
They had Hall of Famer Magic Johnson coaching with the help of Ty Burrell of Modern Family. And oh yeah, they had some young sensation named Justin Bieber, too. Don't act like you don't know who he is.
East's Team Simmons had an interesting lineup with Nick Cannon (How old was he when Mariah Carey sang in the All Stars 8 years ago?), True Romance's Michael Rapaport, the ultra funny Jason Sudeikis ofSaturday Night Live, rapper Common, and someone who may not be "mainstream popular" but is a definite high-profile individual, Arne Duncan, the US Secretary of Education.
WNBA's Tamika Catchings was also fielded along with former NBA greats like Mitch Ritchmond, Chris Mullin, and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen. Bill Walton, who also shares the hall of fame distinction, coached the squad with the help of Jason Alexander of Seinfeld.
The Staples Center was definitely wrapped up in Bieber-mania. Why else would the 12- to 14-year-old girls come to watch? Bieber showed he had passion for the game and that he wasn't afraid to bump bodies, even if it was against a WNBA player. His jumper was suspect though, 3 of 11 from the field, but he was aggressive and was eager to please. He was after all being coached by Magic Johnson. He knows what "showtime" is all about.
The highlight of Bieber's game definitely has to be the cross over to lose Common and the assist to Green.
Even though his team lost and Scottie Pippen had MVP worthy numbers with his 6 of 8 shooting and 17 points, Bieber still won the MVP voting. Scottie's generation are a step behind the social network crazy fans of the almost 17-year-old sensation.
Still, 8 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds is a pretty good outcome for Bieber, who said in an interview, has never played organized basketball in his life.
He may not have taken home a Grammy. But at least he's got an NBA ALL-Star (Celebrity) MVP trophy to bring home to mama.
Photo by AP/Jae C. Hong