The NBA All-Star weekend has become stale and boring. The dunk contest has become a beauty pageant. Star players won’t participate in anything but the game, which features no defense. The league has tried to fix and adjust the events little by little, to appease the fans. It’s not enough. If we are going to bring entertainment to the masses every season, the NBA All-Star Weekend needs large-scale reform. This article will outline some outside-the-box options that would be effective. Pay attention Adam Silver.
NBA King Of The Court
The skills competition during All-Star weekend is the definition of boring. Nobody wants to tune in on a weekend evening to see guys dribble through cones, pass into baskets, and make layups. NBA skills competition? More like an elementary school competition. If we are going to have a “versus” event, it needs to be one on one.
When fans argue about who the best player is, the phrase “it’s a team game” will be heard a minimum of half a dozen times. I do want a skill competition, but the skill I want to see is the ability to score vs the ability to defend.
A common issue surrounding the events that take place All-Star weekend, other than the main event, is that the players who participate are typically not stars themselves. If you don’t care about the event, it won’t change your mind to have the league’s last-place team send their 8th man to participate in it. This is where the league needs to take a stand against the players. They get big-time bonuses to show up on all-star weekend, even if they don’t participate. So, let’s make them earn the money. Every player eligible (healthy enough) to play in the All-Star game on Sunday has to be available for the King of the Court, or they are not allowed to play in the game or participate in any of the events. They will not be considered an all-star in terms of contract incentives, regardless of their vote count.
When you attend a rock concert, you like to feel like part of the show. Fans at sporting events are no different. For that reason, the fans in attendance for the competition will select the competitors. As stated earlier, all 24 participants for the NBA All-Star Game will be available. The fans will vote for who they want 30 minutes prior to the event, and votes will be tallied 15 minutes before. The top 8 vote-getters will participate in a bracketed tournament. Games will be the first one to reach five baskets, will be winners outs. After each missed shot, the game will be started again at the top of the key, retaining the current score. In other words, the defender doesn’t need to get the rebound on a miss.
NBA Shooting Contest
I will say that there is at least one extra event I enjoy, and it is the three-point contest. Even that has gotten old though, and they have tried to spice things up with a ridiculous money rack. This will need to undergo an overhaul as well, but an effective one. This will be called the NBA shooting contest and will test a player’s pure shooting ability.
Unlike the king of the court, we will not make every all-star available for this event. We also don’t want a roster full of scrubs though, so the event must feature at least two participants in the all-star game and two participants in the futures game. Ideally, we want the best pure shooters in the league to participate, but let’s also use the event to promote the league’s rising stars.
The shooting contest will still feature five racks, but they will be placed in the following locations: 15-foot bank shot to the left or right of center (player choice), free-throw line, corner three, straight on three, and 35 feet out, 45 degrees from center.
The players will still get 60 seconds and can start from any location, and go in any order. Four balls per rack will be worth one point, and there will be one money ball per rack, worth two points. There will be no money rack.
Identical to the King of the Court, the competition will feature eight competitors, and they will play a bracket-style tournament.
NBA Slam Dunk Contest
The NBA Slam Dunk contest has come a long way (sort of) since Larry Nance won, back in 1984. Players have gotten more athletic, which has resulted in the dunks getting more creative. This event, more than any other has undergone the most change. People stopped caring about it in the early 1990s, and it came back by demand when Vince Carter took the NBA by storm. The contest was rejuvenated again for a short period but has gotten a little too dumb for my taste.
For starters, we don’t know any of the competitors. Secondly, we are now down to just four contestants, and the dunks are graded more on pageantry than they are on actual dunks. Let’s change it for the better, and for good.
We will follow the same model as the shooting contest (8 participants, 2 of which must be NBA all-star participants, and 2 of which must be futures game participants). There is plenty of room to bring in that player on a 10-day contract from the G-League, but the fans want stars, and we are going to give it to them.
This will not be a bracket. The participants will each get two dunks in round one, and the two competitors with the highest combined score of their two dunks will advance to the finals. Each player will get two dunks in the finals, and the highest total score is the champion. In the event of a tie, there will be a sudden death dunk off (1 attempt each). Sudden death will continue until one player outscores the other.
Two new features we will permanently add to the event are in both rounds, players will only get two dunk attempts per dunk. I am tired of guys finally making it on the eleventh attempt and getting a 47. The second rule is no props are allowed. No cars, mascots, or people to jump over/around. There will also be no capes, space suits, or funny outfits. Participants will be limited in attire to a jersey/t-shirt/warm-up shirt and shorts. Your attire must remain the same for the whole competition (no wardrobe changes).
NBA All-Star Game Tounament
The game itself has undergone a couple of botox injections. The idea was to try and get players to play more defense, but you will never get that in an exhibition game. The first adjustment we will make is instead of a game, we will have a four-team tournament. Each game of the tournament is 12 minutes long. Teams will consist of five starters and two subs
The top four vote-getters will be captains and will pick their teams on TV before the game, playground-style (players to choose from will be lined up, and join their captain at midcourt after being selected. The pool of participants the captains will choose from, is the remaining 20 all-stars, the two leading scorers from the futures game, the shooting contest champion, and the dunk champ.
In the event that any of the alternates are already on the all-star roster, they would be replaced by the runner-up. Once all four teams are selected, Game 1 starts, with the top vote-getters team vs the fourth-place vote-getters team. Game two is 2 vs 3. The third game is the two losers, and the last game is the two winners. In other words, all four teams would play 24 minutes. Instead of an All-Star game MVP, an NBA All-Star tournament MVP would be awarded. Maybe a player on an 0-2 team wins the award. It wouldn’t necessarily go to a player on the tournament champion.