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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The NBA All-Star Game needs to change

Sports opinion
Damian Lillard (Right) and Steph Curry (Left) battle out in the 2024 NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star festivities are now over and it’s time to reflect on the entertainment us viewers at home watched, specifically the All-Star Game. 

Before diving into the game itself, it is important to note that the NBA decided to revert back to their old All-Star Game formats for this year’s event held in Indianapolis, Ind.. Instead of having two individuals be captains and select a team, the two divisions were split up between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. This is the first time using this format since 2017. 

The Eastern Conference ended victorious, winning the game 211-186. Setting multiple records along the way. The East’s point total was the highest ever, surpassing the 196 points scored by the Western All-Stars in 2016, while the combined total of 397 cleared the previous record of 374 set in 2017. The Eastern All-Stars also made a total of 42 3-pointers to beat the record of 35 that was set in 2019. 

“Everybody was asking what the record was,” Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard said. “We found out and went after it.” 

With all of that said, there was a clear lack of defense played in the All-Star Game which is understandable when thinking about the players’ health. To the players, this is supposed to be a week off and used as enjoyment or relaxation. 

That leaves us, the viewers at home, wondering what we can do to make the All-Star Game more entertaining and competitive. Surely we don’t want to see uncontested threes and wide open layups every single year, so what can be done? 

In order to get the All-Stars to take the game more seriously, there needs to be incentives for them. One example is to have the winner of the East and West matchup to have home game advantage during the NBA Finals. It would make winning the game have meaning besides the bragging rights of hitting more shots on no defense. 

Another idea is to have the winning teams’ players receive money for winning the game, and I’m not talking something like $50,000, I mean the players should get one to two million dollars. Yes, they are already millionaires, and yes, there would be the question of where that money comes from, but that is irrelevant right now. The current issue is making the game have higher implications for the players, and more enjoyable for the viewers at home.

The NBA has already taken the right steps towards making the events such as skills challenge, 3-point contest and dunk contest more fun to watch with the addition of the Stephen Curry vs. Sabrina Ionescu 3-point battle. 

Unfortunately, with how the current All-Star Game looks, it would not be surprising to see it be removed completely. It would be a long and difficult question within the NBA as an organization, but the number one thing for them is the players’ health. If the players themselves don’t wish to try in what’s known as the best pick-up basketball game in the world during All-Star break, why even have it?

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