Words by Karan Teli
Recently, the highlights of the last two minutes of the 2001 All-Star Game have been doing the rounds on social media. Allen Iverson diving for loose balls. Kobe Bean hitting back-to-back-to-back clutch jumpers. Stephon Marbury hitting clutch three pointers. Vince Carter flying. It had everything; including competitiveness. Players that wanted to actually win the All-Star Game.
Compare that to the last few years. The 2001 All-Star Game finished 104-103, while the 2019 All-Star game finished 164-178. I know the 3 point shot has changed the game, but there’s no way you should be scoring 178 points in 48 minutes. For the last few years, the All-Star Game has just been everyone’s favourite players having a run around together on the court; throwing alley oops, flashy dunks, heat check three pointers and absolutely NO defence. But it’s reached the point where we actually don’t care anymore. We care about the 3-Point Contest. We care about the Dunk Contest. But we haven’t cared about the All-Star Game in a long time.
And the NBA have noticed. They’ve switched it up with the team captains in 2018, which actually brought some rare excitement to the game that we had not seen in a while. This year they’ve taken it a step further. But now, it’s just confusing.
If I understand correctly; each quarter is it’s own individual game, where the score will start 0-0. Then when the 4th quarter starts, 24 points, in honour of Kobe Bryant, will be added onto the winning team’s total and the first to reach that number of points wins the All-Star Game. Get it? I barely get it, but I think I get it. With the lack of defence played in the All Star Game, 24 points could be scored in 3 minutes and then we’re done. Not exactly what the NBA is after.
We’ll have to see if the new rule change, plus charity cash incentive, rises the competitiveness of the game and actually makes it a fun spectacle to watch. Rewatching the highlights of the 2001 All-Star Game made me realise what it actually is supposed to be at the end of the day – a pick-up basketball game between the 24 best players in the world. Now how can that not be exciting? I hope the NBA have found the answer.