It’s nearly time for the NBA All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina!
In days gone by, the NBA All-Star weekend was a special annual event for professional basketball fans.
In days gone by, the All-Star weekend allowed fans to see their favorite players gathered together in one arena with the East All-Stars squaring off against the West All-Stars.
In days gone by, the NBA All-Star game featured at least one player from every team in the league on the roster.
Times have changed, and, sadly, those days are gone!
This weekend, you’ll see “Team LeBron James” against “Team Giannis Antetokounmpo”. LeBron James was the leader in fan voting from the NBA’s Western Conference and Giannis A. received the most votes for players in the Eastern Conference.
Logically, many fans would assume that Team LeBron would be comprised of the top five Western All-Stars voted by the fans, and Team Giannis would be leading his other four Eastern conference fan choices in the respective starting line-ups.
The NBA All-Star game actually had a televised “draft” last week where LeBron James and Giannis A. made alternating picks from the fans’ top choices (five from each conference) and those “reserves” chosen by the NBA head coaches (seven from each conference).
If your favorite NBA team is Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, or the New York Knicks in the East, you won’t be represented. Western teams in Salt Lake City (Utah), Sacramento, Memphis, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Clippers will be on the outs, too.
Don’t gloat, Miami and Dallas! The only reason you have a Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitski on the roster is because of a special “last chance” invite as these two players are retiring at the end of the season.
Team LeBron will be coached by Mike Malone of the Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets while Team Giannis will be coached by his own coach, Mike Budenholzer, of the Eastern leaders in Milwaukee.
Is it just me or don’t you expect that LeBron will fire his coach by halftime and name himself as coach for the second half?
In addition to the All-Star game on Sunday night, there will be other events designed to take money away from the paying customers this weekend in Charlotte.
On Friday night, some fans will pay money to watch an “All-Star Celebrity Challenge” game featuring a few retired stars, some WNBA players, at least one rapper, some comedians, and more!
If that wasn’t enough, the NBA’s “Rising Stars” will play an exhibition game featuring Team US vs. Team World (players with oversees roots). Sadly, Lonzo Ball will not play due to injury, but I would really consider watching this game if his Dad, LaVar Ball, took his place in the line-up!
On Saturday, it’s the recently added “Skills” (yawn) challenge plus the annual 3-point shooting contest followed by the (bigger yawn) slam dunk challenge.
Ironically, there are ten contestants for the 3-point contest, eight players in the skills challenge, and just four this season competing in the slam dunk contest.
Though I doubt the NBA pays attention to my ideas, I hereby propose the following changes for the weekend to make the NBA All-Star weekend more fan friendly:
- One player is selected from each NBA team. That should help increase fan interest.
- Do away with the “Team LeBron” and “Team Giannis” stuff. Go back to West vs. East for fans.
- The Starters (selected by the fans) play in quarters 1 and 4 (unless injured). The reserves will play quarters 2 and 3, but each reserve must play for at least six minutes total for the game.
- Do away with the Friday night stuff. Nobody cares.
- On Saturday, do away with the Slam Dunk competition. Absolutely nobody cares anymore.
- On Saturday, do away with the Skills challenge (it will be modified…stay tuned – the fun is starting).
- On Saturday, first play an “NBA Rookies vs. NBA Legends” 20 minute game. Everyone loves to see some of their old favorites, and the Rookies get to meet their heroes. Game sponsored by Sportscreme!
- On Saturday, all players selected for Sunday’s All-Star game must play in at least one of the following: (a) 3-point shooting contest; (b) “H-O-R-S-E” competition (no dunking allowed unless both challengers agree); (c) “Around-the-World” shooting challenge game; and (d) Free throw shooting contest.
In each event, the winner receives $100,000 to be donated to a predetermined charity of his choice with runner-up(s) receiving $50,000 going to a charity cause. The NBA will make those donations from profits derived from the weekend’s proceeds!
The Saturday night event should be about the All-Stars. The competitions are not physical, so there is relatively no chance for players to get injured prior to Sunday’s game.
The Sunday All-Star game winning team should feature a higher NBA charity donation coming from the winning team and a lesser (but reasonable) amount donated on behalf of the losing squad. Those donations should be made directly to the charities based in the All-Star host city.
How about a new NBA All-Star weekend slogan? “A good time for some great causes”.
You’re welcome, NBA!