Noted star of stage and screen Kevin Hart entered Friday night's Celebrity Game with hopes of securing a third consecutive Most Valuable Player award, because that would be a very fun thing about which to make jokes when he chatted with NBA players or was chatted with during NBA broadcasts. Alas, Hart's performance on Friday night didn't really merit such recognition, as he scored seven points on just 2 for 11 shooting with four assists; his fame, however, led him to receive the highest vote count in Celebrity Game MVP balloting, despite the fact that his West team lost, 60-56.
We must give credit where it's due, though — as soon as the MVP announcement was made, he immediately thanked his fans, but did the right thing and handed the honors to a more deserving candidate:
That's right — Hart did the stand-up thing (no pun intended) and handed the Celebrity Game MVP trophy over to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. It was a touching moment.
Duncan, a Celebrity Game alumnus who was an Academic All-American at Harvard back in the '80s, played professionally in Australia for four years and is a regular participant in President Barack Obama's pickup runs, put forth a performance in the abysmal exhibition that more than merited such recognition.
The 49-year-old Cabinet member ran the break:
He worked hard on the offensive glass:
And he delivered the feed of the game, hitting WNBA star Skylar Diggins with a no-look behind-the-head feed that gives the rest of All-Star Weekend's participants a high bar to clear on Saturday and Sunday:
Duncan finished with a Celebrity Game-record 20 points on 8 for 14 shooting, 11 rebounds (including six on the offensive glass), six assists and two steals in leading the East to the win and earning the (handed-off) MVP honors. That Arne got the big prize at the end of the night offered a compelling argument that the Celebrity Game can be a true meritocracy, just like the American educational and political systems are.
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