A week after the biggest weekend in the NBA regular season schedule, All-Star Weekend, NBA fans worldwide got quite the spectacle last Sunday night as Team LeBron beat Team Steph 148-145 in one of the best all-star games in recent memory. This was quite refreshing, as the Dunk Contest, the night before saw rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz used his Vince Carter tribute dunk to take home the rim-rocker crown in what was unfortunately an underwhelming competition.
Now back to the All-star game, which was not without controversy. Seen as a fun “gift” back to the fans by having the most popular and talented players of the sport display their prowess, in some of the years passed fans have been disappointed with both the level of effort displayed during the game and with the selection of players. This year was different, the NBA opted to allow the two highest vote getters, LeBron James and Steph Curry, to select their teams based on the leading vote getters around the association. Complaints of this process not being televised were aired out but nonetheless interest in the game itself peaked at the thought of something new and different.
While notable players made the cut, some were snubbed out based on the fans, players and coaches’ voting. One conspiracy theory was that LeBron’s team was cursed, 3 of his picks (John Wall, Demarcus Cousins and Kristaps Porzingis) received injuries that didn’t allow them to play in the game, the latter 2 of those being season ending injuries. Unfortunate, but that gave room for others to step in and get a chance to play with the leagues best.
With the main complaint being the lack of effort from the players, it was obvious from the on-set that that complaint would not be heard again this year as both teams set out to win and have bragging rights over their opponents until next year.
As a fan, I am hoping that the same level of competition is repeated even if the same team selection process is changed. One idea was to have the East vs West again, but the winning team have Finals home court advantage like how baseball use to in their all-star game. Another half-hearted joke was to have the losing team visit President Trump while he is still in office in order to up the ante. Either way, players do have to worry about the remainder of the season and to avoid injuries as playoff standings are very much up for grabs and the ASW is simply the halfway point in the season, now teams can come back from their time off refreshed and ready to play and make a push for the playoffs.
Here’s hoping to few injuries and plenty highlights.