Al Horford was already with his family on a beach in Mexico.
The Hawks center was just starting to enjoy his NBA All-Star break.
Then he got a phone call.
Not on his cell phone for that had been shut off. When Horford’s agent and then coach Mike Budenholzer reached him Friday morning through the hotel, they had news. It was good news for Horford. For others, maybe not.
The calls informed Horford that he had been named to the All-Star team as a Eastern Conference replacement for Chris Bosh, who had to withdraw due to a calf injury. He had to decide whether to leave the warm, sunny climate of Mexico for the bitter cold environment of Toronto.
“I looked at my wife and she said ‘No, no, we’ve got to go. It’s a great honor. It’s a great accomplishment,’” Horford related. “I guess we can take time off in the summer. We got our things and headed to Toronto. It was a great weekend, being able to be there with my son and taking him to the 3-point contest and the dunk (contest). He obviously doesn’t understand all that but it was fun to be there with him and my wife and being able to experience it.”
And for his fellow All-Stars?
“All the guys were looking at me like I was crazy,” said Horford, who played in his fourth All-Star Game. “I got that constantly.”
In Toronto, Horford joined teammate Paul Millsap. The forward was named as an All-Star for the third straight year.
Millsap said he enjoyed the entire week – but especially the All-Star Saturday night activities. He loved the fact that Timberwolves rookie forward Karl-Anthony Towns won the Skills Challenge.
“Being front and center at the dunk contest,” Millsap said when asked his favorite memory. “And actually the whole Saturday night from the Skills Challenge and watching the bigs go out there and compete. It says a lot about this league and where this league is going. The athletes, the talented big men and how things are changing.”