All-Star Weekend ’08: Why We Won’t Watch
All-Star Weekend is technically two days away.
Yeah, I forgot, too.
The past couple of weeks have been spent discussing which stars got traded where and what teams were idiots for acquiring certain players. All of these things are newsworthy, as is the possibility of so many big names finding new homes as the trade deadline approaches. It’s easy to overlook the NBA’s mid-season festivities with so much other stuff going on, even without taking into account that All-Star Saturday, once the highlight of the weekend, is pretty lame now.
While some steps have been taken towards the improvement of what used to be an excitement-filled evening (the crucifixion of 2Ball, the possible resurrection of H-O-R-S-E), the NBA is mostly standing idly by as viewers lose interest in what should be a breath of fresh air in the middle of the regular season’s 82-game schedule.
The Skills Challenge is something that probably belongs on a high school court. The Shooting Stars competition is something that is seemingly done only so that the NBA can include its inferior redheaded stepchild women’s league. The Three-Point Shootout has little room for variation, as it’s just people shooting a ball. The one place where the League could spice things up is the Slam Dunk Competition. But when presented with the opportunity to do so, they don’t.
The NBA has denied Dwight Howard’s request to have the rims temporarily raised to 12 feet for some of his dunks. This despite Gerald Green and Rudy Gay, two of the contest’s other participants, saying publicly that they would also like to have a crack at taking on a non-regulation rim.
Why? Because the League wants to make sure that as many rules from its regular games apply to its other weekend contests.
Because you see cones and obstacles on the court in real games like you do in the Skills Challenge. Because real games feature the lack of defense exhibited in the Rookie/Sophomore Game. Because teams regularly hoist halfcourt shots until they make one, just like in Shooting Stars.
No? Well, maybe it’s just applying to the Dunk Contest.
Actually, come to think of it, I’ve never seen the infamous Wheel, blindfolds, retired legends, tables, or players jumping over people sitting in chairs in a real game. I do regularly see them taking what seems like eight steps before lifting off for a jam, though.
Hey, NBA, the idea behind any of this stuff is that it’s not what you regularly see. It’s what makes it fun. If someone wants to raise the rim to twelve feet, let them. If they want to include a camel in one of their tries, it should be allowed. Heck, I’m thinking that the Dromedary Dunk might be kinda hot.
Instead, we’ll likely be subjected to the same things that we usually are. We’ll yawn, possibly change the channel and start thinking about other things. Like the feasibility of a four-team trade involving Vince Carter, Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest and Ben Wallace.