Maybe the NBA and commissioner David Stern were hoping the 2013 NBA All-Star Game coinciding with Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday would actually make people want to watch. It didn't happen.
It’s gotten to the point where the All-Star Game is overshadowed by its sister events during All-Star Weekend. I’d much rather watch Usain Bolt, Kevin Hart and Ryen Russillo joke around during the Celebrity Game than watch the actual players do to each other what they’d do to guys like me if I was ever fortunate enough to play pickup against them.
Maybe it’s too eerily similar to a typical NBA game. High-scoring superstars, flashy moves and small amounts of defense are taking over the NBA, and in a few years, you might not be able to tell the All-Star Game scoreline from a playoff game’s.
The MLB’s All-Star Game actually carries World Series implications. The MLS’s All-Star game usually pits the league’s best against top European clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea. The NHL’s All-Star Game features lots of scoring in a sport that typically doesn’t. The same cannot be said for the NBA. Until an East or West team hits 200 points, the All-Star Game will be pretty forgettable.
Only the NFL’s Pro Bowl is less interesting than the NBA’s All-Star Game. In both, defense is basically prohibited but at least the NBA has other competitions.
The dunk contest has the potential to be one of the most exciting and interesting events out there, but just doesn’t live up. If players like Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Tyson Chandler would participate, interest would skyrocket. The world knows they can throw it down and would love to see them compete in a friendly, anything-goes setting.
Instead, no-names like Terrence Ross, Jeremy Evans and James White take the stage, and while they’re certainly qualified to compete, there’s no doubting that the bigger names would put on a better show. Creativity has turned tacky with props playing more and more of a role in the dunk contest.
The only reason the Rising Stars challenge might be worth watching is because mastermind goofballs and NBA legends Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are the general managers putting together the teams. And even that’s a stretch.
Game MVP Chris Paul never looked so indifferent about winning a trophy last night, and if the players aren’t even excited about the All-Star Game, there are problems.
It’s nice to see under-appreciated players like David Lee and LaMarcus Aldridge get their much-deserved time in the national spotlight, but something needs to be done if the NBA wants people to care about the All-Star Game.