Updated: Feb 29
Long story short, the NBA did a pretty fantastic job this weekend in Chicago.
Honoring David Stern, Kobe, Gigi and the lives lost in the terrible helicopter crash was beautifully done by just about everyone who touched the floor this weekend. From the Dr Dre tribute to the All Star teams wearing 2 and 24 instead of donning their own numers on the back of the jerseys, Dwight Howard and his Superman 24 dunk tribute, Buddy Hield wearing Kobe sneakers as he won the 3 point contest and the MVP trophy being named in Kobe's honor were all a great nod to the man who did so much for All Star weekend.
There were obviously tons more tributes but in the interest of time, I digress.
NBA All Star weekend is truly the best around. MLB comes close, so does the NHL with similar skill challenges, celebrity games and a very offense heavy All Star Game.
A few adjustments I would like to see next year:
Less Inside the NBA
Who doesn't love Shaq and Charles bickering for 3 hours before the game starts? Me... I don't. After minute 30 it gets a bit obnoxious. I know the NBA wants to make this an all day affair but give me some footage of practice, prep for the dunk contest and maybe more 1 on 1 player interviews from the gym.
The Skills Challenge is fun but a little drawn out and needs a breath of fresh air. I know it has been floating around social media lately but a 1 on 1 tournament would be a ton of fun to see. Or even possibly a Past vs Present 1 on 1 where some of the recently retired guys come back and show they've still got some left in the tank (Dirk vs Porzingis, DWade vs Kemba, Shaq vs Dwight, Michael vs Lebron- far fetched, I know but a guy can dream).
If the NBA really wants to honor Kobe and his legacy we need to have more of the WNBA presence during the weekend. I don't mean holding a separate exhibition game and parading them around like a second act but find a way to incorporate their All Stars and big names dirng the weekend for more synergy. Remember when they used to have that team shootout with a former NBA player, Celebrity, WNBA player and a current NBA player competing against other teams of the like? Yea, bring that back. These women are incredibly gifted athletes and should be given a platform for their game to grow. Who better than the male counterparts of their organization?
Jesus Christ, just give out 2 trophies. There is no way that Aaron Gordon should have lost EITHER of the contests he participated in. There have been co-MVP's, Rookies of the Year, whats so special about only giving one Slam Dunk trophy?
New All Star Game format
I honestly do not have much to say about this new format. I think it was a great new addition and I hope to see it again next year.
My only recommendation is to REMOVE foul shots in the 4th quarter and replace them all with a side-out. That game should not have been won on a free throw.
Other than that... What a great game. We still got some great passes and dunks and excitement but we also got some great competition throughout the entire game which is definitely what the league has been needing.
Now we get to look forward to the second half and how the Knicks can maximize next years team!