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Why the NBA All-Star Game Is an Ongoing Disappointment

Credit: Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The annual NBA All-Star Game took place yesterday in Indianapolis, Indiana, featuring the best players from the East and West conferences to highlight the remarkable talents of some of the best athletes in the world. 


There have been a total of 73 All-Star games played throughout the history of the NBA, where selected players will gather in a host city throughout a weekend and participate in skill competitions such as the infamous dunk and three-point competitions. On the last day of the competition, the 26 selected All-Stars will compete in a highly anticipated full-length NBA game to prove why they have been selected for such a highly coveted honour.


Yesterday’s game returned to the classic East vs. West battle with a traditional scoring system and four 12-minute quarters for the first time since 2017. Fans have been demanding a return to this format for the past seven seasons, as it usually generates the most competition between players as they seem to feel a strong sense of loyalty to their conference. However, even with a return to this historic format, it did little to combat the recurring problems that have made the NBA All-Star Game so unwatchable for the past few years. 


Lack of defence, effort, energy, passion - you name it. While fans expect to see the best players in the world battle it out for the title of “the best of the best”, the players seem to continuously disregard the notion that they are there for a reason and make a lacklustre attempt to “play basketball”. NBA commissioner Adam Silver cannot possibly think that this contributes to the development of the game of basketball, and it might honestly be time to start thinking about scrapping the NBA All-Star Game altogether.


West All-Stars

Credit: NBA


There was nothing enjoyable about watching yesterday’s NBA All-Star game that ended in a ridiculous score of 211-186, highlighted by the record-breaking 397 combined points scored in the game. Even despite the West All-Stars having some of the best defenders the NBA has ever seen playing on the same squad in Paul George, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis, the Eastern squad still managed to put up an astounding 211 points, being the first team in the game’s history to eclipse the 200 mark.


It was obvious the game was going to be another waste of time for NBA fans as soon as it started, as logo threes and windmill dunks were being attempted within the first three minutes of the first quarter, with no defence anywhere in sight. The opening two quarters saw both teams combine for a ridiculous 193 points - the most ever first-half point in NBA and NBA All-Star history by a mile.


It wasn’t just fans however that were disappointed with the performance of these world-class athletes, as many prominent media members took to X (formerly Twitter) to sound off on the lack of effort during and after the game. Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe was livid, and it seems he took the words out of every NBA fan’s mouth. 


“If you’re not personally offended by this disgraceful farce taking place right now in Indy, you don’t love or understand basketball, these “All-Stars” should be censured. And where are the coaches? Have any of them have any pride? They’re all acting like athletic court jesters,” Ryan remarked.


It wasn’t just Ryan who was fuming with the lack of effort though, as long-time NBA reporter legend David Aldrige, who is a staple in the game for his courtside interviews also took to X to bash the players following the game.


“That was dreadful. Again. I am beginning to think that this game is irredeemable. I am not sure why even minimal defensive effort is beyond this generation of All-Stars. But it may be time to end this game if they can’t give more of a damn than that,” Aldridge sounded off.


Having the opportunity to watch the best basketball players in the world on the course all at once is an absolute privilege for NBA fans, however, it is tough to appreciate the spectacle when both teams attempted 168 total threes. The most threes ever attempted in a regulation NBA game was 106, set by Houston and Brooklyn in the 2019 season. With the All-Star Game eclipsing this already ridiculous record by 62 threes, it puts into perspective how much defensive integrity truly means to these players in the All-Star Game.


Adam Silver

Credit: Darron Cummings/AP


The questions arising out of past All-Star games have now truly come to fruition after yesterday’s pathetic attempt at showcasing the best basketball talents in the world going head to head. Is it worth scrapping the NBA All-Star Game altogether? Why would people want to watch 48 minutes of logo threes and dunks? Most importantly, how can Commissioner Adam Silver redeem the highly coveted event before it starts to affect actual NBA ratings and viewership?


Now, there are some solutions that could possibly incentivize players to return to their regular season and playoff form at the All-Star game which would ultimately put life back into the annual spectacle.


Let players wear their team jerseys again. Former All-Star game formats allowed players to represent their own team’s jersey in the game. Being able to represent the team you play for in the All-Star Game would not only incentivize but essentially force players to play with more effort as then they are representing more than just themselves. It seems that when players are there in the East or West jersey, they lack effort as they feel they are much less loyal to their conference than they are to their team.


That’s a more casual solution, so here’s an extreme one. Whichever conference is the winner of the All-Star game gets the home-court advantage in the NBA Finals in June. Just like the old Major League Baseball way, whichever conference comes out the victor of the game will have a massive advantage when it comes to playoff time.  Not only will this incentivize players to play their absolute best, but it will also make it so that the majority of the best players are playing full-game minutes, especially ones who will have a chance to play in June. It’s extreme, but it will completely reshape how the All-Star Game is played.


Either way, regardless of whether Commissioner Adam Silver will make any changes to the All-Star Game, fans know that what they watched yesterday was a joke. A pathetic attempt at putting the best basketball talent in the world on display. Something has to change, or Silver might as well get rid of the entire concept completely.



Edited By: Josh Reidelbach


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