The 2019 NBA All-Star game is finally here. The Trade Deadline has come and passed, Anthony Davis is still on the Pelicans, the fans have voiced their opinions on who is (and should’ve been) in this year’s competition, and now its time to have some fun. It’s time for fans of every team to put aside the stress of the season to watch the greatest players that the sport has to offer. It’s quite fitting that the two All-Star teams are captained by the best player to play over the last 15 years, (Lebron James,) and the most talented star of the next generation of the NBA (Giannis Antetokounmpo). The rest of the talent rounding out the two teams is nothing short of spectacular. The lineups for Team Lebron and Team Giannis can be found here. These rosters are filled with NBA scoring champions, league MVPs, NBA Finals MVPs, multiple Rookie of the Year winners, and multiple players with double-digit All-Star appearances. If that’s not enticing to NBA fans, then I don’t know what is.
That’s not the only excitement that is occurring during the All-Star weekend in Charlotte. The skills competitions are something that fans have been more interested in during the recent past. Events like the Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Shootout, and the fan-favorite Slam Dunk Contest. These competitions feature the premier ball-handlers, shooters, and dunkers that the NBA has to offer. The lineup for the competitions can be found here. Is there anything you notice about this list compared to the list of players in the All-Star game? If you’re having trouble, I’ll help you. Most of the players in the competitions are not in the All-Star game. In fact, exactly half (11/22) of the players involved in one of the competitions are not All-Star selections. This is unlike the NHL and NFL where we only see All-Star selections compete in the skills challenges. This brings up the question, Should players who were not selected to the All-Star game be able to compete in the All-Star competitions?
I believe that they should. The skills competitions in the NBA are more specific than competitions in other sports. In the NHL, most of the All-Stars are premier passers or shooters. In the NFL, the All-Stars usually have the best passing, catching, or tackling ability. In the NBA, not all of the All-Stars are the best dunkers, shooters, or ball-handlers. These players that are brought in are among the best at these specific skills, and that is why I believe that these players should compete in the events. Fans want to see the best players in each competition, and that’s what they are getting with this format. Besides, if this was not the case, would we be able to witness great moments like this one?
In the 2004 3-Point Shootout Contest, an unknown rookie from the Philadelphia 76ers by the name of Kyle Korver caught fire and showed the world a preview of what was coming in the rest of Korver’s career. Korver is now 4th all-time on the NBA 3-Pointers made list. Nobody can forget the iconic reaction of Allen Iverson at the end of this round.
As I stated earlier, fans come to see the best, so why not give them the best? One thing is for sure, this format allows NBA fans in Charlotte and around the rest of the world to witness the very best that the NBA has to offer. And that’s what counts.