Sunday nights All-Star game was clearly a better matchup in recent years. There were no blowouts, no injuries and included some competitiveness that hasn’t been in an All-Star Game since… well, ages.
Yes, the format was changed and the traditional East vs West format was scrapped and replaced with a ‘pickup basketball’ approach with captains choosing sides. But the improvements went beyond James and Curry picking their teams. The players wanted to rewrite the story of the game itself, and take pride in the exhibition and show some serious effort.
The NBA had some balls in changing the All-Star format, and steering it away from the traps of tradition. The older group of players had played with and against each other for so long, that they got used to it. While the younger ones didn’t have a voice to try and inject some energy or change into the game. It’s a delicate balancing act for sure. Going back to basics, the game is an exhibition and isn’t supposed to be serious. It cant be serious from the fact that it doesn’t have the stakes of an actual game and no one wants to get injured.
Imagine if a player like Russell Westbrook or James Harden had been injured. It would have tarnished the whole weekend and pissed off their team’s fans and really pissed off their management. At the same time, if no effort was made in the game, the event turns sour and a waste of time for everyone.
To balance safety and game competitiveness is a tough task. The players must avoid disaster without giving up that edge of competition, and they have to raise the stakes while knowing it’s all for fun. At least this years new format, this new chapter, was a full success.
Note: The NBA’s having a breather, and there are no games this week till Thursday. The next lazy issue will be sent out Monday, 26th of February.
So… catch you Monday.