NBA All-Star Weekend: Back to Basics

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NBA All- Star Weekend is a three day span that I, as a basketball fan, having always looked
forward to. The bright lights, the flashy dunks, the high scoring and the cool sneakers that
players decide to wear during the game. In recent years, All-Star Weekend has taken its bumps
and bruises, trying to make changes that they “thought” would make it better and more exciting,
but these changes failed and the lure of the weekend has been somewhat lost. This year, was
sought out to be the redemption year for All-Star Weekend as they made changes to both the
three point shootout and the dunk contest, the two biggest draws of All-Star Saturday Night. This
was the disappointing part of the weekend for me. In recent years, the NBA got it all wrong. It
wasn’t the format that was killing the event, it was the mere fact that no actual “All-Stars” would
even participate in these events, most notably the dunk contest. The dunk contest was the
marquee event that everybody tuned in to witness and honestly, we have to go all the way back
to 2008 or even back to 2000 when the contest was really exciting and fun to watch. Back then,
stars like Vince Carter, Dwight Howard and to take it back even further legends like Michael
Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Doctor J graced the dunk contest spotlight. Now, in recent years,
we have had seemingly unknown players come on as participants. Although these players can definitely elevate to high levels on the court and dunk the ball, the contest was just lacking the
real star power that it always hung its hat on. This year, it seemed that the contest was finally
going to be back and better than ever as it featured profile players like All-Stars Paul George,
John Wall and Damien Lillard, who not only have an unlimited amount of bounce, but they are
also ALL-STARS who fans know and love to watch play and show off their athleticism. The star
power finally seemed to be back, but the NBA had to mess it up again by now changing the
format of the contest, making it into a team contest rather than the individual, mono-y-mono
showdown that we all loved and grew up on. Now, instead of having each individual player
perform their own, creative dunks to advance to the next rounds and eventually culminating in a
winner-take-all showdown between two high flyers, each player in essence only attempted two
dunks on the night, the first one having to incorporate all of you teammates from your respective
conference and the next dunk your own individual creation that was ultimately decided by the
fans to see who won. If the NBA had kept the same format as before, combined with the star
power that this contest had in store, then the dunk contest would’ve truly been back because
despite the flawed format, we still saw some amazing dunks, culminating with John Wall and the
Eastern Conference winning the contest by catching an alley-oop, jumping over the Wizards’
mascot while reversing in the air and double clutching to complete the fantastic dunk. If the dunk
contest would’ve gone back to the basics, then the contest would’ve been a smash hit again and
All-Star Weekend would’ve been back and better than ever.
As for the All-Star Game itself, I loved the new jersey idea with the short sleeves and the
New Orleans symbol on the front, along with the vibrant colors that allowed players to get fully
geared up and “fly” on the basketball court. I think it spoke to the ever growing fashion aspect of
the game and it draws people in because now not only concerned with how the game is being played, but also what the players are wearing as well which makes the NBA stand out more. The
game provided its usual offensive showcase with no defense being played at all until the final
quarter where everyone seems to turn it up a notch to get the win and the bigger paycheck.

Overall, All-Star Weekend 2014 was decent. It had the potential to be a redemption of past
all-star weekends of old but the format for me, especially in the dunk contest, fell short of
expectation. Hopefully the league gets back to basics next year. If they do, All-Star Weekend
will be fun to watch once again.

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