Maybe I should blame it on the NFL… but I’m not too excited for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. If that statement didn’t turn the page for you, then I would like to welcome you to the journey you are about to embark on through “my brain”. It’s filled with thoughts that are logical enough to be true, opinionated enough to be false, and crazy enough to keep you reading. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m sure you’re probably wondering how you got here [*Freeze Frame* *Record Scratch*]. I don’t have that particular answer for you but I will tell you my story.
Last Sunday night I plopped down on my decently comfortable 3-piece leather sectional to watch the Pro Bowl on my 70in OLED, while doing my best Shannon Sharpe impression, only to watch 3-hours of entertainment that was barely comparable to a kid’s flag football game. It only took about 30 minutes before my mind began to drift into the void of empty thoughts in my head when suddenly I received a notification that the NBA All-Stars reserves were revealed. At first thought I told myself “This is will be far better than the junk I’m tuned into right now”. Although that mindset will likely stand correct, I realized that neither product has offered much to the eye in recent years; which is a shame, to say the least with the event slated to be played in the greatest city in the country, Cleveland.
I’m easy, put a couple of big-name celebrities in a movie or tv show, give it a good name, and I’m game. So, people may be rather shocked that the NBA’s most star-studded event of the season has seamlessly lost my interest, while I find it hard to believe that anyone enjoys watching a competitive event featuring players who stand around like it is their first day on a new job. It’s just a little hard to get excited about the defense’s unwillingness to contest three-pointers or “give me” outlet passes off of the inbound. Gone are the days of hoping for a fast-paced game full of flashy passes in congested lanes and real defense. As a matter of fact, the event is so far gone from the days of arguably the greatest NBA All-Star Game ever played in 1988, where the iconic Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics led the East to a win with the help of Michael Jordan over the Western All-Stars 138-133, that I don’t believe there is any simple way to bring it back to its days of glory. All in all, the game has gone so far off of the rails that I would prefer to watch highlights from the 1977 ASG that featured ex-ABA players such as George Gervin, Artis Gilmore, and the high-flying Dr. J, coined “The ABA Invasion”, rather than tune in to a remake of 2002’s short-lived “Slamball” league minus the trampolines.
Truth is, over the past decade the weekend has been more about the festivities leading up to the game like the dunk contest, three-point shootout, or even its celebrity counterpart than the headliner itself. If it weren’t for Adam Silver’s savvy idea to integrate a player draft that is initiated by the team captains (Lebron and KD), as well as multiple incentives that benefit charities from all over the world, I’m not so sure that many would remember the game was going to be played at all. As for me, the gimmicks won’t be enough to get me to tune in this year. Until the NBA has found a way to get the players to give some form of effort, I’d just rather the game be scrapped and not played at all.