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Article:How to Make the NBA All Star Game Interesting Again

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Over the years the National Basketball Association has introduced several events to spice up its annual All-Star Weekend such as the Rookie-Sophomore Game, the Skills Challenge, the Shooting Stars Competition, and H.O.R.S.E. (which was introduced for this year's festivities) while constantly tinkering with rules for its show case Slam Dunk Contest.

However I think its time for David Stern and company to make the ultimate adjustment: that being to the actual All Star Game itself.

That's because the gathering of pro basketball's finest-which was the most entertaining all-star game played by the four major pro leagues in this country-has lost its luster. Completely.

Recent NBA All-Star Games have been marred by sloppy play featuring blown dunks, countless turnovers and little defense from apathetic and disinterested ballers. Meanwhile coaches, Phil Jackson being the most notable example, don't seem to have too much fun either. The NBA's mid-season talent showcase, like an Al Gore speech has turned into a cure for insomnia.

It's been over ten years since I watched an NBA All-Star game from start to finish and this year I watched the opening minutes of the game before losing interest and tuned into the finish of the North Carolina-Miami contest on ESPN. The year before I did the same thing with the exception that I tuned into a different college game: UCLA vs. USC.

The only saving grace for the All-Star game currently is if it reaches the fourth quarter and the outcome of the contest is still in doubt. Then players raise their intensity and interest level and the NBA All-Star game actually starts to resemble an actual basketball game.

So to make the All Star Game more intriguing, David Stern should change its current format of the Western Conference squaring off against the Eastern Conference.

My suggestion: Use the ABA's idea from their 1976 All-Star game, where a team of All-Stars faced off of against one of its actual teams, the Denver Nuggets.

Let the NBA use the same idea with another variation. Have two games, which matches up an actual team from one conference (such as the team with the best record or the defending conference champions or just a team deemed worthy enough to be selected) against the all-star squad from the other conference.

In other words this year's All-Star Weekend would feature the Boston Celtics taking on the Western Conference All-Stars in one game and the Los Angeles Lakers battling the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the other.

And if such a format existed for the 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend consider the sub-plot unfolding of LeBron James having Jason Kidd, Dwayne Wade, Kevin Garnett, and Dwight Howard his running mates. In such a case, it would most certainly provide King James to present more of challenge to the San Antonio Spurs then he did with his Cleveland Cavalier teammates in 2007's less-then-thrilling and un-fulfilling NBA Finals.

So by having one actual team in the All-Star game running its own offense and defensive systems-in other words playing organized basketball-it would result in the opposing all-star squad to play in an organized (or some what organized) manner resulting in an intriguing match-up, allowing the breath-taking athletic talent of the world's finest male athletes to showcase itself in a more disciplined and competitive setting rather then denigrating into the wild helter-skelter hoops satire that the All Star game has become.

Such a format would also open up more roster spots and also allow more players deserving hoopsters to be named as All-Stars.

For example, Kevin Durant or Al Jefferson, snubbed from this year's squad would get to be named to the Western Conference Squad as Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol would already playing in the Lakers' match-up against the Eastern All Stars.

Of course, NBA clubs and the players' union would probably resist the idea of having to participate in a meaningless exhibition in the middle of an exhausting 82-game season so such a proposal may not be feasible or realistic, and if it did there's no absolute guarantee this idea would make the all-star game more entertaining. But given the current state of the NBA All-Star game, what would it hurt for the league to give it a try?


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