Print and Go Back ESPN.com: BlogsColumns [Print without images]

Thursday, February 11, 2010
Updated: February 13, 5:10 PM ET
Weekend itinerary

By Dave McMenamin
ESPNLosAngeles.com

All-Star Weekend officially begins on Friday and the Los Angeles Lakers have a 41-13 record, the best in the Western Conference.

You would think a stellar place in the standings would prompt the Lakers to reward themselves, kick back and relax during the six days they have before their next game against Golden State, but, for the most part, they'll remain a busy bunch.

Other than head coach Phil Jackson, that is.

"That will be my personal time," Jackson said. "I'll tell you this, Jeanie [Buss] has to go to Dallas so I'll probably be doing laundry, feeding the dog, things like that. I'll be domestic.

"I'll try to get some R & R during this period of time, some rest. I'm going to get a massage, a facial, have my fingernails and toenails done, stuff like that. I'll get a haircut probably too."

While Jackson is receiving a makeover on the level of when Dorothy and the gang arrived at the Emerald City, much of Jackson's gang will be headed to Dallas, the All-Star host city.

Five Lakers will be in Big D in an official capacity, while a couple of others just might be spotted around town. Kobe Bryant, who was voted as a starter in Sunday's game, his 12th All-Star selection, will not play because of his injured ankle, but he is still scheduled to travel to Dallas and take part in All-Star Weekend festivities as a spectator. Pau Gasol was chosen by the Western Conference coaches as an All-Star reserve, marking his third invite to the game. Shannon Brown is one of five participants who will be competing in the slam dunk contest. Derek Fisher will be in meetings all day on Friday and Saturday fulfilling his responsibilities as president of the National Basketball Players Association as he meets with players' union executive Billy Hunter and representatives from all 30 teams to discuss the league's new collective bargaining agreement proposal. Jordan Farmar will join Fisher as the Lakers' player rep.

"I always look forward to the game," Gasol said. "Not so much everything else that they have us doing there. Some of the things are great, some of the things, there's just a little too much sometimes and it gets wearing but other than that it will be a good time to be with my family, enjoy a good weekend and I'm going to stay off my legs as much as possible."

Gasol's younger brother, Marc, a second-year center for the Memphis Grizzlies, will also be in Dallas to play in the rookie-sophomore game on Friday night.
DJ Mbenga
D.J. Mbenga will help Shannon Brown in the dunk competition Saturday.
While Gasol will be lounging with his brother, Fisher will be making tough decisions.

"I would assume by Sunday the commissioner will make his normal kind of state of the union, not the state of the union I guess, the state of the league," Fisher said. "We'll have the state of the union."

Farmar said he is glad he has Fisher to lean on for "inside info" regarding the negotiations process, but he won't be sticking around to hear what David Stern has to say. Farmar has Valentine's Day plans with his fiancée in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Ron Artest said on Wednesday he had a trip planned to go to Dallas, but was considering cancelling it to take care of some errands for his kids. When he was asked later in the conversation how he would feel about missing a basketball game with close to 100,000 people in the stands, he said he had no idea there were going to be that many fans there and said the trip was back on.

D.J. Mbenga will be back in Dallas as well. The Mavericks were the first NBA team to sign him back in 2004 and Mark Cuban is actually responsible for Mbenga being known as "D.J." When the Mavs' owner couldn't pronounce Mbenga's real first name, Didier, at the center's introductory news conference, he improvised with the nickname. Mbenga might be the busiest Laker of them all. He said he is hoping to sell his house he owns in Dallas, shoot commercials for endorsements he has overseas, and serve as an on-air correspondent for a television station in Belgium.

That's not all on his agenda, either.

Mbenga's high-flying teammate Brown has been hush-hush about his slam dunk plans for Saturday night other than revealing that Bryant will be involved as a passer on one of his attempts, but Mbenga said on Wednesday that he'll be on the court for another one of Brown's throwdowns.

"It's going to be a lot of jumping around," Brown said. It had better be if he hopes to clear the 7-foot Mbenga. The rest of the Lakers are following Jackson's lead for the most part.

Lamar Odom said he is going to "do I what I always do during All-Star Weekend, stay home," alluding to the fact that he's yet to get an All-Star nod in his 11-year career. Odom is planning a big backyard barbecue too. Adam Morrison, Sasha Vujacic and Andrew Bynum all said they are planning to "just chill" in L.A. Luke Walton is going home to San Diego to spend time with his family, while Josh Powell said he is taking care of some family business as well. The one thing that will bring most of them together over the weekend will be Brown's slam dunk contest, however. "I'm going to watch Shannon win," Odom said.

"I don't always watch, but I'm definitely tuning in to see Shannon," Walton said.

As for Jackson?

"They'll have it on video if it's good enough," Jackson said. "They'll replay it."

Dave McMenamin covers the Lakers for ESPNLosAngeles.com