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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The NBA All-Star Game needs change

Half-court shots, wide open dunks and no effort on defense define the current state of the largely disappointing NBA All-Star Game. Fans and players alike know it needs a change, and a large one at that. The All-Star Game was once a sight to see as the best players in the league from the Eastern and Western conferences faced off head-to-head and proved who is best. 

The All-Star Game is now a sad shell of its former self and a glorified shootaround. The most recent edition featured the record for combined points and one of the teams reached well over 200 points. There is no attempt made by anyone in the league to make the game exciting again. The entire event should be revamped to provide a better event for the players and fans. Whether it is switching the format altogether or making minor tweaks, everyone knows that changes need to be made.

For some reason, other events like the three-point shooting contest or dunk contest are highly competitive and fans show their excitement online for the shooting streaks or creative dunks. The best players in the league just can’t find the motivation to risk injury and exert themselves on a weekend that is supposed to be a vacation.

The NBA and commissioner Adam Silver have tried just about everything to get the players and fans to care again, creating an all-star draft, offering incentives or adding targets scores for closer finishes.  

The most watched All-Star Game in the last 20 years was in 2003 with 10.8 million viewers. The 2024 edition had 5.5 million viewers, slightly up from 4.6 million last year but still showing a noticeable decline from the 2000’s. The 2023 audience was the lowest in the event’s history and showed a clear problem in the game. 

Many argue the game will never be competitive. For me, it’s an All-Star Game, so I will never look at it as being super competitive,” Anthony Edwards said. Many players have similar positions, but incentives can be the first change to add excitement.  

The NBA passes out millions all the time, but this season was the first to start an in-season tournament with the winners each being awarded $500,000. The first change is awarding each All-Star on the winning team a cash prize for winning. $1 million, or even much more, would work as 12 players being awarded this sum is only $12 million total, a small price to pay for a more competitive game that will bring in millions of viewers and revenue. 

The next step is taking a rule right from the MLB. The MLB has a largely successful All-Star game bringing in more excitement and viewers than the more popular NBA does. In the MLB, the winner of the All-Star game is awarded home-field advantage in the World Series. This brings a huge advantage for the winning team that allows each All-Star to fight for their prospective playoff teams to get this huge opportunity. Winning home-team advantage not only gives their team a better winning percentage, but also rakes in more money with the extra home games.

This rule would go hand in hand with reverting back to the East vs West format. The draft idea was done as a desperate attempt to increase excitement, but the novelty faded fast. 

Like the American League against the National League in the MLB, the East vs West format allows playoff rivals to play together and have players fight for their conference for the playoffs.  

Another idea to strengthen the event is a 1v1 tournament. If players don’t want to compete in the All-Star game, a 1v1 tournament with a $1 million prize will force competition and generate plenty of buzz and attention around the league and online. Even if star players don’t want to compete you can go down the list of superstars and it’s guaranteed some of them will play. 

With a game featuring some of the league’s best talents, there is no reason to not have an exciting and close event to gather excitement for the league. 

This story was written by Conor McPherson. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on X/Twitter at @ConorMcPherson 

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