It’s fairly safe to say the NBA All-Star game has lost its luster over the past several years. The game had become a gloflridies layup line, with defense of any type making, at best, a passing appearance. Changes to the format, that featured team captains picking teams, playground style, and teams playing for a selected charity initially seemed to breathe new life into the game, but have proven to be a band-aid over a gaping wound, with the game returning to the issues that previously plagued it. The 2023 iteration was a live-action case study of everything wrong with the NBA All-Star game, climbing to the point to where it was nearly unwatchable. Denver Nuggets’ head coach, who coached Team LeBron in the 2023 iteration called it the “worst basketball game ever played.”
“It’s an honor to be here. It’s an honor to be a part of a great weekend, great players. But that is the worst basketball game ever played,” Malone said after the All-Star game. “I don’t know if you can fix it. I give Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving — those guys were like, competing. Joel was imploring some of the guys to play harder, to try to get some defense in. No one got hurt, they put on a show for the fans, but that is a tough game to sit through. I’m not gonna lie.”
The NBA is exploring ideas to put some competitive juice back into the midseason showcase, including a return to the traditional East v West format, per reporting from Shams Charania.
I am not sure if returning to something more in line with the traditional format will pull the All-Star game off life support. Whatever method the leagues chooses to impliment in order to field the All-Star rosters is in a sense irrelevent; the game will only be saved by the players actually taking it serious and embracing the competition aspect, the only question is whether this shift happens of their own volition or are incetivzed to do so; hopefully the Association will not add some cheesy gimmick like Major League Baseball did by putting posteason implications on the contest.