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Korver snubbed for three-point shootout
by Sam Smith
Posted on Feb 8
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If there’s something to this All-Star snub/revenge thing, then the Bulls should be going to Kyle Korver Wednesday when they play the Utah Jazz.
That’s because Korver seemed to be the most egregious omission from the three point shootout contestants announced Tuesday.
Defending champion Paul Pierce will face Ray Allen, Kevin Durant, James Jones, Daniel Gibson and Dorell Wright in the All-Star weekend contest.
Quick: What team does Jones even play for? Wright?
Korver is shooting 41.2 percent on threes this season, 20th in the NBA. That ranks slightly behind both Gibson and Jones and ahead of Wright.
But Korver just last season set the all-time NBA record for three point shooting in one season, 53.6 percent. So three guys hardly anyone has ever heard of will participate ahead of the best single season shooter in NBA history?
Really, who in the NBA office even watches games?
“I would have liked to have done it,” Korver said after Bulls practice in Salt Lake City when he first learned he was not invited. “I’ll relax (for the weekend). The older you get the more you look forward to the break.
“But I’d love to go and do it (contest) again,” said Korver. “I’d love to win it some day. For sure, L.A. would be a good place for All-Star break. I’ll enjoy it somewhere else.”
Korver was first informed by reporters of the participants and seemed stunned when some of the names were read off. Not one to criticize publicly, Korver just smiled when asked whether he was disappointed or surprised.
Certainly you can understand Allen, one of the best shooters in the history of the game and a high level star like Durant whom fans want to see. It’s a credit to he and Pierce that they even want to be in these contests which others like LeBron James shun. The All-Star game first became a great NBA event when the likes of Larry Bird, Dr. J, Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan endorsed the game, the weekend and the contests with their participation.
But it’s difficult to comprehend how players from losing teams like Gibson and Wright with lesser shooting credentials than Korver could be selected. And while Jones is with a good team, he is hardly as well regarded around the NBA as shooter compared to Korver.
Meanwhile, it was a curious line of questioning that Korver got from at least one reporter as a large number of Utah media—a veteran compared it to the media total at a big playoff game—for the return of Korver, Ronnie Brewer and especially Carlos Boozer.
Boozer is the ambivalent figure with his controversial past here. But Korver and Brewer both were popular. Apparently Korver, to his slight embarrassment, was particularly with teenage female fans.
Korver has also to his embarrassment been likened to actor Ashton Kutcher in appearance, and one reporter in a stentorian voice declared that Boozer could be booed, but “The females in the audience will be there for you.
“Don’t deny it,” he demanded.
“I had a lot of good memories here,” Korver said sheepishly, clearly uncomfortable. “Hopefully (the greeting) is nice.”
But the reporter persisted, informing Korver that girls will be wearing pink Korver jerseys to honor him.
“How come you keep asking me questions about girls!” Korver demanded, though laughing.
“I don’t know what to say about that.”
Finally, the inquisition abated and Korver offered the routine about missing the people and fans. But he waxed rhapsodically about the scenery, especially the snow covered mountains.
As an aside, I’ve traveled the NBA for some 30 years and this is the most picturesque city. Tuesday was a spectacular day, sunny and crisp, the mountains virtually encircling the city blanketed with snow. Korver said he probably would borrow a car just to go for a ride to get a closer look.
“There’s something about seeing the mountains every day,” said Korver. “Having nature around does something for your soul. I had a little spot downtown (where he lived) and you could see the mountains every morning. Living here you begin to take it for granted, but you spend some time away and you realize how great they are.”
Korver said he has a lot of friends coming to the game and said he spent time on the trip here from Portland gathering up extra tickets from teammates as players get a ticket allotment for each game.
“Luckily,” said Korver, “not many people know people in Utah.”
And, as it turns out, not many people in the NBA office know shooting.