Jeff Teague says he won’t get much sleep over the next couple days and it’s hard to blame him. As the only member of the Atlanta Hawks to participate in NBA All-Star Weekend, Teague was almost carrying the city on his back. He nearly dropped it.
After coasting down the court as the first participant for the Eastern Conference in the NBA Skills Challenge, Teague looked like he was going to finish with a great time. He’d made his chest pass, his bounce pass and maneuvered around defenders on his way down court. All he had to do now was make the layup at the end of the court to sound the buzzer.
He blew it.
Then he had to run back, grab the ball and put it back in, giving him the second worst time in the competition.
“Man,” he told the Daily World, “I’m going to have nightmares about that missed layup for days.”
After such an inauspicious start to his first All-Star weekend, it would be easy for Teague to get down. But Atlanta’s point guard is taking it all in stride.
When asked how he felt about being the only Hawk in Houston, Teague responded coolly, “Nah, me and Dominique [Wilkins] out here,” with a laugh.
Wilkins was one of the NBA Legends who participated in the weekend ceremony.
“No, I wish guys could be here with me, but it’s a lot of fun,” Teague added. “I’m gonna go back and tell those guys about my experience and just enjoying it all.”
It wasn’t all fun in the Houston sun for the Wake Forrest product. Teague told the Daily World that he’s got his eyes on starting the playoff run on the right foot.
“[We want to] just keep playing Hawks basketball and play a little better defense in the second half of the season,” he said. “You know, It’s getting close to playoff time so we want to get in our right seed.”
Teague said he won’t even be in Houston for the big game on Sunday night because he wants to get back to business.
“I gotta go back,” he said. “I gotta start running again, gotta stay in shape. We got Miami Heat the first game back.”
The All-Star game can be a nice vacation for some, but it can also impart some valuable lessons about how to be a pro and how to make your mark on the league.
“I mean it’s just a blessing to be here,” Teague said. “[The players chosen for the All-Star Game] are really good at what they do and I get to be here picking their brain and trying to figure out what they do, what helps them get better and try to follow in their footsteps.”
Rather than intimidated, Teague said it’s made him hungry.
“It’s just like the way everybody looks up to them, everybody wants to be around them,” he said of the most impressive thing about his weekend companions. “I want that in the future.”