(This is a guest article by Stephen Lombardo)
For what seems like an eternity, the NBA has lost some of its appeal to its fans when it comes to All-Star weekend. The game is the most entertaining part. However, they don’t actually play basketball until the final five minutes of the game. All-Star Saturday feels like it doesn’t even exist. HORSE, the newest event of the weekend, showed its crucial flaw this week when they turned it into a three-point shoot out until someone was declared the winner. The point guard time trials feel a bit lame, the shoot out is ok, but the slam dunk contest (the NBA’s marquis event) feels like less than a shell of its former self. How do you save this event, and bring back the excitement there was in the 80’s and 90’s?
Well first of all, we cannot bring back Jordan and Bird to resurrect this event as much as we may want to. Instead the NBA should introduce a new twist to the weekend. One idea would be to host a one on one tournament that features the All-Stars playing that weekend. Set it up by having 16 of the players compete in this event. Give the fans a chance to see the game’s greatest players decide it amongst themselves who the best player in the NBA really is. We watch all the best players play against each other during the regular season, but that’s with their teams playing with them. Instead of us having to imagine what it would be like to watch these great players face each other as if they were out in the schoolyard why not just make it happen? What do you feel is more attractive? Nate Robinson going for his 3rd or 4th slam dunk title, or LeBron James playing a game one on one versus Kobe Bryant? I think the answer is obvious.
Setting up this tournament would be pretty basic as well. You can have them play to 11, 15, or 21 as if they were playing at the schoolyard. Attracting the players would be easy also. Give them a cash incentive for playing in the tournament and let it go from there. These athletes would love to compete with one another in something like this. Making the clientele easy to attract. The NBA would easy blow away every other idea that the NFL, MLB, or NHL could have to make their event better.
Although the NBA could be in a state of crisis this time next year, we all know they will be back on their feet just like every other sport has in a time of CBA peril. This idea surprisingly has not gotten a lot of play. Instead they think they can come up with better ideas to save this lost weekend. So far none of them have worked. This one could not only save their All-Star weekend, but also perhaps change the way other leagues run their All-Star events.
Stephen Lombardo is a recent graduate of St. Johns’ University, with experience working for the Staten Island Yankees. Previous experiences also include working at CBS during the NCAA tournament in 2009 and writing for a fantasy baseball website. To learn more about Stephen connect with him on LinkedIn.
Of course that’s a more attractive idea, I doubt that would happen mostly because these two want the ring more than the one-on-one title. People wouldn’t see it as a simple game, it’d b a battle to answer the question: who is better? That can’t be answered in a game of pick up lol. Now these two in a dunk contest would work because it’s a lot more subtle-LBJ beating Kobe in a dunk contest wouldn’t exactly mean he’s better all around, you know? Why? Because Kobe could flash his four rings!
But I agre with the comment about HORSE! I was bored, Rajon Rondo was bored and so were the fans in the stands. They’re struggling for entertainment value right now, but what if they put joe blows against the pros- making HORSE a game of fans vs. pros? That would be more entertaining if Joe from Montana beat Kevin Durant in HORSE.
Why is everyone dogging the NBA Slam Dunk contest? Yes, it would be cool to see LeBron get creative, but holy crap, watching a 5’9″ baller literally “fly thru the air” is a freak show I’ll tune into any day of the week.
@Chris I don’t think anyone has an issue with Nate Robinson…he was great…that guy has ups! But the other “talent” was quite boring…they didn’t really do anything creative. Put Nate Robinson against better, more creative dunkers and you have a better “show” a la Spudd Webb vs. Dominique Wilkins. Create an event where athletes actually want to compete and crave that title. Or perhaps there’s really nothing more creative to do?
Definitely wouldn’t slight Nate Robinson though…he was the only one worth watching!
It’s not so much that the Slam Dunk contest is the worst thing ever. I feel that it has just ran its course. This idea is fresh and it is something that the best in the game would love to be a part of.
Nate is great but its the other competitors that we lose because we’ve never heard of them before and that is what hurts this competition.
Thank you for your comments/thoughts/opinions!
Can’t have 16 All Stars playing a 1 on 1 in an exhibition game. The threat of injury goes wayyy up. That’s a big reason a lot of these guys won’t participate in the Dunk Contest. To have them play one on one games that last 20-30 minutes and could end up becoming testy is not a risk their teams would allow them to take.
I can agree with you on the fact that injury could befall a player. However, injuries in pro sports are like anything else. They don’t stop playing all star events today around pro sports because the GM’s that have invested millions in their athletes are afraid that the player may get hurt. Sports are a tremendous marketing tool for some of the biggest corporations around (eg: Nike, Adidas). The sponsorship that would come along with an event like this far out weighs something like an injury that could happen at any point during any game for an athlete.
Maybe brining in the NBA D-League Winner will make everyone else step their game up. Or bring in that guy who can do the 720 dunk!
If we worry about injuries around every corner then the NBA will never regain its toughness and its dominance over the other professional sports. Do you think hockey players are worrying about injuring themselves during their allstar weekend? The answer is clearly no. Toughen up, NBA.