A New and Much Improved All-Star Game
Let’s cut to the chase: Last night’s NBA All-Star Game was freaking amazing! What a tremendous way to not only celebrate the best that the NBA has to offer, but also an incredible way to pay tribute to the life of Kobe Bryant, a player who embodied hustle and hard play unlike virtually anyone else in NBA history.
To recap, the game took on a new format this year. Instead of a regular four-quarter game, it was divided up on a quarter-by-quarter basis, compressing the competition and making each quarter a mini-game. However, each team’s scores were added together after three quarters and then a target score was set of the leading team’s score plus 24 (in honor of Kobe).
Leading up to the All-Star Game, this new format was ridiculed as being gimmicky and not what the NBA needed. But now, this new format looks like Commissioner Adam Silver hit a masterstroke. Simply, no one is complaining about the new format now. In fact, the only complaint I could possibly think of is that the game was won on a free throw. However, that’s a rule that will likely be changed for next year’s event. Again, there’s always going to be issues in the first year after a change, and that’s why rules can be tweaked.
But after the roaring success of this new format, how will this affect the All-Star Games of other leagues? My answer is that it should definitely motivate other leagues to shake up the formats of their All-Star Games, but I don’t know how. One idea would be to take the NBA’s idea and split the game up into smaller sections to encourage more competition (the MLB could make 3-inning games, for example).
It remains to be seen whether the other major sports leagues will implement changes, but it certainly behooves them to try something out given the widespread acceptance of the NBA’s changes.