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The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

The Student News Organization for Rutherford B. Hayes High School

The Talisman

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Opinion: NBA All-Star Weekend needs a facelift

The+NBAs+All-Star+weekend+needs+a+refresh.
Photo credit: GoodFon
The NBA’s All-Star weekend needs a refresh.

With the NFL season over and the NBA and NHL season in the rearview, another phase of All-Star events has come and gone. While these events are a display of the game’s greatest players, they’ve somewhat lost their luster in recent years.
For yet another year, NBA All-Star weekend left fans bored and unentertained, and it’s time to take a look at the event as a whole.
The first NBA All-Star game was in 1951 to draw more attention to the league. Before that season tipped off, the league shrunk from 17 to 11, losing teams to other leagues or folding entirely, and only continued to downsize when the Washington Capitols folded mid year. That season’s champion was the Rochester Royals, who beat the Knicks in a seven game series where neither team exceeded 100 points in any game.
That season’s highest earners were George Mikan and Harry Boykoff, each bringing in a lucrative 15,000 dollars in their yearly salary. The three-point line wasn’t around, nor would it be for decades. Back then, basketball was barely a major draw in America, with baseball and football dominating the sports landscape.
Today, the game is in a much different spot. The NBA is watched by millions worldwide, Boston Celtics shooting guard Jaylen Brown just inked a deal worth $304 million this summer, and there’s an entire ecosystem built around the NBA.
The NBA All-Star weekend, however, has struggled to age with such grace. The event has become boring and uninteresting to even the most passionate fans.
The typical All-Star weekend now features a Rising Stars game, the 3-point contest, the dunk contest, and the actual All-Star Game. Yet again, this year’s festivities failed to captivate fans, and each event is at fault in its own way.
The Rising Stars game showcases some of the best young talents in the league, but is essentially a U25 All Star game and has some of the same issues as the main game: There’s a severe lack of stakes and competition.
The Dunk Contest is one of the NBA’s most iconic traditions, but may have run its course. After decades of dunks, the creativity has started to drain from the event. There are only so many things to jump over, and the lack of stars that actually participate has pushed the event to the point where it has been won by a G-League player for two consecutive years.
The Three Point contest is actually an overall positive weekend, and this past year’s “Steph vs. Sabrina” event shows how the contest could be a tool to spice up the weekend overall.
The actual All-Star game however is perhaps the worst part of the whole slate. This year, the game finished with an atrocious scoreline of 186-211 after four quarters of boring, sloppy and lazy basketball that not even the most devoted hoop heads could get into. It was just a bunch of millionaires shooting from miles away, half-attempting dunks, and not playing defense.
Whether the format is a team captain oriented draft or a duel of East vs. West, the truth is that the lack of stake in this game leads to a lack of effort. There is no reason for the best basketball players in the world to do anything more than go out and chuck some shots up for a couple hours.
To actually make this event entertaining, there needs to be a reason. Perhaps the winning conference gets home court advantage in the Finals, or players get a cash incentive for themselves or towards a charity of their choice.
However, a complete reconstruction of the game entirely could open up a whole new world for entertaining basketball. What about an open tournament for NBA players to enter into?
Each summer The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, takes place with former college hoopers and pro basketball players from around the world forming teams and competing for a cash prize. Whether it’s for a specific cause or to represent their alma maters, these teams make for more entertaining basketball than anything produced by All-Star weekend in the past decade.
Imagine a Villanova alumni squad of Jalen Brunson, Donte Divencenzo, Mikal Bridges, Josh, Hart, Eric Paschall and Ryan Archidiacano. They could go up against a Michigan, Duke, UNC, Gonzaga or Kentucky alumni team made up of all the players these programs have produced. Alternatively, we could see a team of Nike players go against Adidas signed players. With all the possibilities, leaving the makeup of the All-Star game to the players could enhance the overall experience for everyone.
Regardless of how it’s done, if the players are given a reason to care and play, the subsequent basketball that is played will appeal to fans because of the passion behind it.

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About the Contributor
Carter Sims
Carter Sims, Managing Editor
Carter Sims (he/him) is a senior and a member of the basketball and tennis teams. This is his third year on staff. He is a loyal sports fan and enjoys watching games and coaching youth basketball at camps and skill clinics in Delaware in his free time.
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