How to Improve the NBA All Star Game

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After the 2013 NBA All Star game in Houston, I was left a little disappointed with the game and in fact the whole weekend. There were not that many moments where I thought ‘wow’ or ‘I can’t believe he just did that’.

Reading many sports forums and blogs I feel that many fans feel the same way. I will now give my thoughts on the All-Star events and ways they can improve the events.

First of all I would like to point out a few things I noticed throughout the All-Star weekend. The new format of East vs West was totally unnecessary and did not really add anything to the events. It really stops the best players from competing against each other in the final rounds. For example the Shooting Stars Challenge, Team Westbrook and Harden had the quickest times but only one was allowed into the final round.

I thought with the amount they are playing for charity, they would take it more seriously, but I didn’t feel any added sense of competition.

A second issue I have is with the Houston crowd because it was dead most of the time. There was no energy or excitement throughout most of the events, surely they could of got a hype man to pump up the crowd. Was the action so boring the crowd did not react or was just the crowd?

Celebrity All -Star Game

This game is usually a great mix of legends, WNBA players and celebrities with the outcome being a fun game and the odd surprise of basketball skills. The game was OK to watch and as usual Kevin Hart was putting on a show with his mouth rather than his basketball, which led him to a second MVP, but without him it would have been less interesting. But can the NBA please invite more celebs who can actually play basketball, I mean the ‘shots’ that Ne-yo took was just embarrassing and Trey Songz trying to show off failed miserably.

Rising Stars: Team Shaq vs Team Chuck

I thought that this was one the better events from the All-Star weekend even though it was a blow out and did not even come close to becoming competitive. It was a joy to watch the dunks and all of the 3’s being made but the highlight has to be Kyrie Irving dropping Brandon Knight and the following 1 on 1 battle between them.

Shooting Stars

The first event of Saturday night was disappointing and mostly because I think only half the crowd turned up to see it. There was nothing from the crowd and with slow times from the east made it feel like a waiting game rather than a competition. There were many shots being missed even before the half court shot and this just slowed the whole competition down.

Skills Challenge

Something needs to be done to this event to make the players try for quick time. Most players act too cool and it just surprises me that they would be happy to have a casual run at the course and be satisfied with not even coming close to winning. How could they make the players go quicker? An individual charity incentive may help but like I said before about the East and West concept it wouldn’t make a difference. Maybe a new design of the course or even just scrap it all together if they don’t take it more seriously.

Three-Point Contest

Again this was one of the better events of the weekend with great shooters in the competition and the winner Kyrie Irving becoming the star of this all-star weekend. It was a fairly close competition up until Kyrie scored 23 which the other finalist Matt Bonner could not comeback from.

Slam Dunk Contest

Well here we go again, is the dunk contest finished with? There were some pretty nice dunks from the overall winner Terrance Ross, Gerald Green’s first dunk, Kenneth Faried’s between the legs and Eric Bledsoe’s reverse, but something was certainly lacking. One of the major problems is the number of attempts the dunker’s take. The contest started OK but when James White was running up and down the court missing every dunk and Gerald Green not making his second dunk, the whole buzz of the contest was gone and not even Terrance  Ross could revive it with pretty good dunks in the final.

Another problem is some of the dunks have been overly done and are not creative any more. How many more times do we need to see Jeremy Evans jump over something. He brings out a 7ft 4 Mark Eaton and sits him on a box making him the same height as a child. Something needs to be done to revamp this or even scrap it, because at the moment it’s all hype and no substance.

All-Star Game    

I guess you could say this was an OK game, it was pretty close throughout but there weren’t many highlights.  There were some positives from the game, one of which was the MVP Chris Paul who controlled the game and with 15 assists set up his team up perfectly.

Another highlight was Kobe blocking Lebron twice and his hounding full court defence he was playing on him in the fourth quarter. Lebron did not seem best pleased with what Kobe was doing but it was good to see them go at each other.

A final highlight for the wrong reasons is the performance of Chris Bosh. If 3 air balls in the first half wasn’t bad enough, Chris Paul and Tony Parker decided to dribble the ball between his legs. Once is bad enough but for it to happen twice is just embarrassing and just added to his bad night.

I think the main problem is the all-star selections that were made. With the all-star game being mainly dominated by guards, there were so many big men that offered nothing to the game. Players like Chandler and Lee, although great players, did not do anything to excite the crowd. You could argue they did not get the ball enough but even if they did they wouldn’t do much with it.

Also the selection of Garnett was laughable, to play 6 minutes at the start of the game and sit of the bench for the rest is just a waste of an all-star spot, maybe the fans shouldn’t vote any more for the starters.

Final Thoughts

Here some ideas to improve the all-star weekend:

  • Scrap the East-West format – add individual rewards instead but even this might not add to the competition level.
  • 1 vs 1 Tournament – it was enjoyable to see players go against each this year like Kyrie dropping Knight but would stars really enter this contest for fear of being embarrassed, it would then just turn out like the dunk contest again.
  • Bring in Street-ballers – everyone likes seeing the tricks they can do and some of the dunks they can do are more creative the NBA players dunks.
  • Bring back HORSE – the HORSE competition was really enjoyable to watch to see different types of shots but the only problem was that there were so many commercial breaks in between each shot and it really stopped the flow of it.
  • Legends Event – Although there are some legends in the celebrity game, it would be nice to see legends go against each other in some sort of shooting challenge or even a full game.
  • Make Stars Enter Events – This is most difficult because no one can force any player to enter a certain event. Stars have nothing to gain from entering events and even a donation to their charity will not persuade them.
  • Fan Participation – Why not add one spot for each event where a fan can actually take part in and two spots for the all-star game. Wouldn’t it be fun to see a fan in the 3 point contest or a fan trying to take on Lebron in the all-star game. Then maybe they would try harder because surely no player wants to be beaten by a fan.

These are my suggestions and of course changes could be made to the specific events like only having 3 dunks per attempt in the dunk contest but I’m looking for new ideas and events that would bring something fresh to the All-Star weekend.

Leave a comment and let me know an ideas that you have that would improve the all-star weekend.

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