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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

New NBA All-Star Game Format

NBA logo.

NBA logo.

The NBA All-Star game: the quintessential best-against-the-best showcase. A spectacle to behold and gawk at while torches are being passed before the spectators’ very eyes.

This is no longer so. The All-Star Game has been a little more than a joke for the past few years, so the NBA finally stepped in and created a new reason for participation. But does the addition of a player-run draft and a $100,000 incentive solve the mundanity of the All-Star game? I wonder…

As the first step to increasing the competitiveness of the All-Star Game, the NBA introduced a concept of drafting the teams. Essentially, the top pick of the East and the top of the West would be the two captains who “draft” the teams they want. This excludes the possibility of a cold “East vs. West” match-up. We have seen this in years prior, and because the West is historically more dominant than the East, the play always suffered.

In concept, the idea of a draft is brilliant. Who doesn’t want inter-conference players together on the same team for a slug fest that has no boundaries? The NBA didn’t televise the draft, and let’s be honest—who doesn’t want to watch a player-run draft? The execution was so close to being perfect, except none of it was nationally televised. For an organization that seems so business-savvy, the NBA missed out on a huge cash grab while the fans missed a potentially drama-filled event. There is no reason to keep the draft secret, and funnily enough, the NBA players think so too, except for Kevin Durant whose opinion doesn’t even matter anyway. So, does the draft help the marketability and the overall image of the All-Star Game? Sure, but it has to be more public.

The other minor tweak the NBA implemented was to give each player on the winning team $100,000. This is just useless. Many of these players have contracts from $80 million all the way up to $158 million over three to five years. Is $100,000 really any sort of incentive? If you take James Harden’s income, for example, and break it down, he could spend $65,000 a week and still be in the positive after a year. This win money won’t change the mentality of the All-Star players and make them more competitive. I propose, as an alternative, that the NBA donate $2 million to whatever organization the winners want. It gives a better image for the NBA and also acts as a public relations move for the players.

These two things, the draft and the cash incentive, are the only changes set to be implemented to the All-Star Game, and it leaves a lot to be desired. Besides the alternatives mentioned above, I believe they should implement changes that recognize what the All-Star Game really is: a show, above all else. It is an exhibition that’s not meant to be taken too seriously. Many critics of the game, such as Stephen A. Smith, critique the lack of defense and competitiveness, but honestly, those things are within the scope of what an All-Star Game should be.

The NBA needs to do a complete overhaul and make the All-Star Game the exhibition match we want. Adding a 4-point line, along with maybe an extra point for an alley-oop, will lend a little more levity to the game’s atmosphere, as it should.

The Harlem Globetrotters are built around comedy and showmanship, so the NBA shouldn’t have a problem building the All-Star game around those same things.