NBA All-Star Weekend garners a lot of well-deserved attention. After all, who wouldn’t want to watch the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, the 3-point contest and the actual NBA All-Star Game?
Not many NBA fans avoid watching these festivities. However, while they are interesting, there are multiple ways to spice up the festivities and add some excitement to the games.
First of all, people enjoy watching the best of the best compete. That’s why we have the All-Star Game in the first place, as almost every star competes in the annual offense-fest. However, we don’t see enough of the stars in All-Star Weekend. People enjoyed watching the old dunk contests because noteworthy players such as Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter and Spud Webb took part in the contests.
However, last year’s contest was lacking a lot. Jeremy Evans, Chase Budinger, Paul George and Derrick Williams took part in the 2012 Slam Dunk Contest and while George has developed into a very good player, he is still averaging just 22.3 points per 48 minutes and 9.9 rebounds per 48 minutes. For comparison, Kevin Durant, a true star, is averaging over 36 points per 48 minutes.
What I’m saying is that none of those guys received any national attention and weren’t worthy of any recognition, and as a result, the contest wasn’t great. This year, James White, Gerald Green, Kenneth Faried, Eric Bledsoe, Evans and Terrence Ross competed, with Ross winning. While die-hard NBA fans will be able to recognize all of those names, the casual fan won’t be interested.
Sure, Faried is a good player and Bledsoe is having a great season. But the contest lacks stars, and that’s what we want to see. Why can’t Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard or LeBron James compete? We have seen Griffin before and he lit up the contest with a dunk over a car. JaVale McGee, the second-place finisher in 2011, the year Griffin competed, is also a very good dunker and a player who will warrant national attention.
Bringing in stars will certainly increase the amount of television viewers and the enjoyment level of the whole contest. People don’t want to see Gerald Green, they want to see Blake Griffin. Even having just one star per dunk contest will improve the contest and the whole weekend significantly.
The dunk contest probably is the biggest event other than the game itself, and that’s because some of the other events, such as the Skills Challenge, aren’t all that interesting. The Rising Stars game is a great idea and I love the three-point contest, but some of the events are lacking. Luckily, there are ways to change that.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the second pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, competed in a game of one-on-one with his boss Michael Jordan, who a few people might recognize. According to Dave Zangaro of CSN Houston, the 50-year old star took down the rookie, and Kidd-Gilchrist was surprised. It sparked the nation to go crazy, and it sparked me to think of an idea.
While there are plentiful obstacles, games between some of the NBA greats and some of the NBA rookies would be great. I’m not expecting Bill Russell to play, but it would be cool to see retired stars, such as Larry Bird or even Jordan. Someone like Allen Iverson, who just recently retired, could most definitely compete as well, against rookies.
As fellow Hoops Habit writer P.J Sapienza explained, a one-on-one tournament with some of the NBA’s current stars would be amazing. It would be great to see if James could beat Durant in one-on-one, and while it is a great idea that would attract tons of people, it would be hard with the risk of injury. While a one-on-one tournament with rookies and former greats would be hard as well, it’s more likely for star rookies, likely on bad teams (if they were picked in the lottery) to choose to participate. Still, it would be a very interesting event.
If former NBA greats are going to play, celebrities should be allowed to play as well. It would be pretty neat to watch a celebrity, such as Justin Bieber, take on a star or just an NBA player, and it would be great for the casual audience as well. It would be awesome for NBA fans to watch as well, and it could definitely prove successful.
It would be awesome to see if there are celebrities capable of playing in the NBA or NBA players incapable of playing in the NBA, in the form of a one-on-one game sure to become one of the top events at All-Star Weekend. It could replace the Celebrity Game and motivate celebrities to prove that they can play basketball as well, while NBA players will fight to keep their status at the top of the pack. It would be rare to see a professional player lose, but it would certainly be a headline.
All of those ideas would be great for the NBA and All-Star Weekend and they could replace something such as the Skills Challenge. But if those ideas don’t work out, there are other possibilities. The H-O-R-S-E competition was fun to watch in my opinion (before it was removed) and while not many agreed with me, I still believe it was a neat idea. I’d like to see something similar to that in the future and there is a way to make that happen.
A trick shot competition would be cool to watch, as we all love to watch someone throw a ball off a car and into a hoop or throw a ball into a hoop from a roof. Watching some of the NBA stars do that would be awesome, and the highlights, as well as the actual competition, would be awesome. This is something former greats can take part in as well, so we could see James and Jordan going against each other, trying to make the craziest trick shot. Celebrities could also take part, so it could be like a mix of the All-Star Game and the Celebrity Game.
If the idea was proposed to the NBA, it might not be accepted due to the H-O-R-S-E experiment, but it’s an idea that could pique the interest of some fans. It makes for some awesome You Tube videos, and the same could go for All-Star Weekend. It’s a risk, but in my opinion, it’s one worth taking.
There’s certainly no guarantee that one-on-one tournaments or trick shot contests will be added to the festivities and there’s not even a guarantee that stars will be featured in the Slam Dunk Contest. However, I think all of these ideas would be for the bestand they could add an element that would bring in more people than ever.
And what would that mean? All-Star Weekend would be better than ever.
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