I am imploring Adam Silver, Taco Bell, and any other high authority NBA executive to address an All-Star Weekend clock operating scandal. Saturday the team of Portland's Damian Lillard and Utah's Trey Burke appeared to have pulled off an outstanding comeback victory in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge as they edged the Magic's out Victor Oladipo and Philadelphia's Michael Carter-Williams 42.3 seconds to 42.2 seconds. A measly 0.1 in what was by far the closest finale in the competition's 11-year history.
The coolest thing about all of these Saturday night festivities is the money that goes to charity. The West winning the skills challenge meant that $100,000 was donated to the Teach for America and Wounded Warrior Project charities. The East, as runner-up, snagged $25,000 for their charities. So at this point I'm thinking about how nice of a job Oladipo did despite MCW being the worst of the two, and I was going to immediately focus my attention on Arron Afflalo and the upcoming 3-point contest.
And then this screen cap image appeared across my Twitter timeline:
I'm not mad, but now we went from harmless fun into me questioning the competency level of the clock operators. TNT HAS ALL OF THOSE CAMERAS! UTILIZE THE REPLAY SYSTEM! Then I'm going into conspiracy mode about how Adam Silver will take over David Stern's tradition of secretly screwing over the Magic. After witnessing Afflalo struggled in the 3-point contest (awesome job proving the doubters wrong, Marco Belinelli), and then watching the worst dunk contest of all-time, I then realized that the skills competition needed to be revisited.
The evidence above proves that at MINIMUM, we're looking at a 45.0 seconds run for each West and East side which signifies that the competition was at worse a draw, if not in fact a possible win for the East depending on when you believe the clocks should have stop. I'm taking the super conservative approach by deeming that a draw should've occurred and that a tiebreaker should have been instilled. Victor Oladipo was wrongfully punished by the shot clock operator for double clutching on his dunk. Now, obviously this happened Saturday night. There's no way the NBA would ever restart this competition. But this is a grave injustice. It's not just a meaningless case of highway robbery. Why?
Forget Victor getting jobbed, or about the trophy, or any of that. What about the scholarship money that was up for grabs? I'm not saying take the $30,000 scholarship away from Anna-Maria Spears, the young woman who benefited from Burke and Lillard winning. That'd be beyond heartbreaking for the girl who was awarded the funds. However, a wrong needs to be righted. Did the other 3 kids each get $10,000 - including Raeshawn Henderson who was represented by Oladipo and MCW - scholarships just for being there? Yes. Did Taco Bell also donate $60,000 donations in the names of Trey Burke and Damian Lillard to the Boys & Girls Clubs? Yes. That's fantastic. Good on you guys and that's why you've been in my fast food restaurant rotation for most of my life. But why should Raeshawn Henderson wrongfully only get $10,000 when it very well should have been $30,000? Those East charities could've used $100,000 instead of $25,000 as well.
The easiest and appropriate solution? Give Anna-Maria and Raeshawn each a $30,000 scholarship. College isn't cheap after all. Let the West have that $100,000 that went to Teach for America and Wounded Warriors Project, but also hand over an extra $75,000 to the East's charities. I'm sure the NBA or Taco Bell can dig around in their pockets and piece together an extra $100,000. Hell, throw in another $60,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Clubs in the name of Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams too. The NBA is all about caring. So do something to correct a massive error. Plus, it'll shine a bright light on an evening overshadowed by a horrendous dunk contest.