I love sports. I always watch sports. I’ll watch almost anything with a ball in it, and many other things besides. But sometimes I have to draw the line. Some things in sports are so mind-numbingly pointless that they leave me scratching my head asking, “How is this a thing? Why are people playing money to see this?!” Which leads me to this past weekend’s big event. The NBA All-Star Weekend is the most pointless thing in sports. The only thing that comes close to rivalling it is the NFL Pro Bowl. At least in the MLB All-Star game we have the home advantage during playoffs on the line. In this event though? Nothing. It’s a sham.
Outside of the United States, “All-Star” games are not really a thing. And for good reason! Who would want to watch/play in a game that has absolutely no meaning? In soccer, “team of the year” awards, the basic equivalent of being named an All-Star, are commonplace. Individually honouring the best players in a league from that past season is a nice touch, no doubt. But they’re not forced to play with each other! That would be ridiculous. Wouldn’t it?
Well, apparently not. The NBA loves this. I would love this if it were actually a competitive game between the world’s best basketball players. Sunday night’s showpiece event was a glorified dunk contest “” and we’ll get to that later “” with zero competitive edge. I felt like I wasted three hours of my life watching it. My teammate correctly pointed out that the Team USA basketball scrimmages were basically like the All-Star game, yet they were actually competing. So why couldn’t we have that last sunday night?! Yes, Anthony Davis breaking the All-Star game points record was nice, but it was in no way challenging. Nobody defended him. He played point guard for the first five minutes of the game! It infuriated me.
The only thing that made me more angry was that my housemates insisted on changing the channel to the CrossFit games on ESPN2 at every ad break “¦ Why anyone would put themselves through the personal torture of competitive crossfit is beyond me, and I feel physically uncomfortable watching them do so on TV! But anyway, the game was a joke. The biggest story seemed to be whether Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant would coexist for the West. They did. “˜Nuff said.
And the game is not the only part of NBA All-Star weekend. The Skills Contest was actually quite a fun relay-race style event, but even the usually exciting Dunk Contest was a bit of a bore this year. An actual Dunk Contest between the league’s most athletic dunkers would be amazing. Like it used to be! But now all the big names remove themselves from it and as such it’s just not as exciting as it could be. The best part of the whole weekend was the league’s $500,000 donation to Craig Sager’s SagerStrong Foundation. But you don’t need a weekend in New Orleans to do that.
For me, if you’re desperate to have an All-Star game or weekend with lots of festivities, make it worthwhile. Make it mean something. Put the playoff homecourt advantage on the line. Get the league’s actual best players to compete in the dunk contest. Otherwise, it’s just a showcase of nothing. There’s no passion, drive or competitive edge in it. I’ll always watch sports, but it has to mean something. There needs to be something emotional to invest in. It needs to be something that matters. And the current NBA All-Star weekend does not.