Hoop It Up: Revamping All-Star Weekend

Lebron:"I'll take Melo" Wade: "But you two play the same position...ohh"

There are some things I just won’t ever understand. Spanish. That inexplicable extra syllable in the middle of Wednesday. The reason they don’t just take those flying eagles to Mordor in the beginning of LOTR. And why every All-Star weekend is boring. How can collecting the most talented people in each sport and pitting them against one another suck so badly? Its baffling. The Probowl is a half-speed game with blitzing explicitly banned. The NHL attempted to inject some excitement by installing a draft before the game but its flopped. The MLS has its best players play a renowned foreign club, but they look terrible on the pitch because they’ve never played together. The MLB tried to spice things up by making the game mean something, but well…its still baseball. And somehow, despite all of this, the NBA all-star game still manages to be the worst of the bunch.

The NBA’s all star weekend has such potential, but every event manages to fail miserably and its capped off with a meaningless game that makes Melo’s regular season defense seem astounding. The players know they are out there to put on a show, which they most certainly do. But those of us who actually like basketball outside of Sports Center’s top 10 plays are left with a weekend devoid of real games. I’ve sat around for a while trying to figure out how to fix the game, but aside from unfair(and most likely cap-rules violating) monetary compensation for the winning team I can’t figure out how to motivate the players enough to make the game exciting. That’s when I decided that David Stern just needs to scrap the game all-together and replace it with something entirely new, an 8-team 3v3 tournament.

All-star voting would remain the same, however the total number of all stars would be reduced by two(one from each conference) which isn’t such a bad thing with each conference getting 12 all-stars. Next there would be a fantasy draft, with the top 8 vote getters becoming the team captains regardless of position. The one stipulation of the draft being that the captains aren’t allowed to select their regular season teammates, solving the main problem of the NHL’s all-star draft. Once the draft ends, the teams would then be seeded 1 though 8 based on its players cumulative all-star votes(which are unknown to the captains at the time of drafting). After that they play good-old schoolyard basketball to 21 points, 1’s and 2’s, on a nice wide open court with the winner getting bragging rights and some form of charity prize (think homerun derby, where each team get a family they are playing for, and those families sit courtside). As for motivation on the defensive end, they would play winner’s ball(the team that scores get the ball back), so any team not willing to try on defense wouldn’t get to touch the ball offensively.

I don’t see how this idea doesn’t work. I toyed around with a 1v1 tournament but realized it would take way too long and would completely exclude point guards(too short) and centers(lacking ball skills). This format however replicates probably the most commonly played style of basketball around the country and can make for some really exciting moments. Who doesn’t want to watch Kevin Durant on a podium trying to figure out if Deron Williams might fall to the next round or if he should take a point guard now? Or see Lebron backing down Dwight Howard before dishing the ball to Kobe who throws an alley-oop to Derek Rose. I dream about things like this. The game would be fast paced, wide open, always up in the air, and most importantly a refreshing break from the regular season grind. David Stern, please do this. Now.

And be sure to check back for when Jake, Jalbs, and I break down the fantasy drafts and matchups for this year’s all-stars.


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