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FEB 03 2024 NBA Allstar Game Preview

Source: Icon Sportswire / Getty

397 points.  That’s how many were scored in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.  The East scored a record 211 points.  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t happy with it and apparently a lot of talking heads were upset as well.  Calling it a “disgrace to the game” and an “embarrassment”.  But was it?  Are we really expecting much from an all-star game in any sport these days?  I’m not and the sooner others stop letting it bother them the better off we’ll all be.

The All-Star games as a whole are non-competitive these days.  From the NBA and the complete abandonment of any attempted defense or effort to the NFL, which has just given up and gone to flag football.  The NHL has abandoned their format as well and gone to 3-on-3 tournaments.  The MLB All-Star Game is still holding on and is actually the most competitive of the four major sports but they’ve removed the ridiculous home-field advantage in the World Series component that accompanied it for many years.

Who cares if it’s non-competitive though?  If you aren’t enjoying the product, you can turn it off.  That’s what I did. I was locked into the first quarter when Tyrese Haliburton was lighting it up from seemingly everywhere on the court but once the second quarter got going the shine quickly wore off and I went on to something else to watch, occasionally checking my phone for updates. I’ve given up completely on the Pro Bowl and NHL All-Star Games.  I’ll watch the MLB’s because there is literally nothing else on during that time of the year and it’s usually competitive.  But if it’s not floating my boat, I check out and doing something else with my time.

The competitive aspect of all All-Star games is pretty much gone.  These athletes make way too much money these days where any “prize money” is a drop in the bucket for most of them.  The in-season tournament made guys try because it was prize money for the whole team, where even the ninth guy on a roster could make $1 million if his team went all the way.  That made guys try.  That’s not the case in the NBA All-Star Game, where the winning team’s players each get $100,000.  A lot of money for folks like you and me but not so much for LeBron, Giannis, Luka and Jokic.

There are also no unique match-ups to watch during these games like back in the day.  Every team can pretty much be watched wherever you are in the country if you look hard enough.  League and season passes have changed the rarity of seeing athletes from the Pacific Northwest take on the East coast teams. Seeing Jordan go up against a young Kobe was must-see TV.  There isn’t that anymore.

Could there be tweaks and changes?  Sure.  My suggestion is ten teams of three All-Stars each get into a mini-tournament. Have 10 different legends or celebrities to draft their respective teams ahead of the weekend. 5-minute games, half-court, most points advances.  Final two teams get two five-minute quarters with the winners getting a substantial pot with totals dropping depending on where your team finishes in the tournament. Not only does it cut out the unnecessary full game 12-minute quarters but it also offers a better financial incentive for players to try harder and maybe even play some defense.

My other idea is just move the in-season tournament final to the All-Star weekend.  Double the prize money or something and let that game close out the weekend.  I’m open to try anything but I’m also not sweating if the game remains as uninteresting as it’s become.  I can just tap out and turn my attention elsewhere.

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