Let’s call it what it was.
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game was nothing short of an absolute farce.
The league’s premier exhibition game had been trending in that direction for year. After all, there’s little to play for in the middle of the season. And we’ve seen similar issues with the NFL Pro Bowl and the NHL All-Star Game.
But this was next level.
“It’s an honor to be here, and it’s an honor to be a part of great weekend with great players, but it’s the worst basketball game ever played,” Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone said after the game.
Malone was also one of the two all-star game coaches.
“I don’t know if you can fix it. I give Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving [credit], those two guys were competing. They tried to get some defense in,” he added. “No one got hurt, they put on a show for the fans, but that’s a tough game to sit through, I’m not gonna lie.”
Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown also took issue with the game, calling it a glorified “layup line.”
While nobody expects to the all-star game to have playoff level intensity, it still needs some sort of competitive aspect.
Which is why the NBA is reportedly considering a major change for 2024.
Shams Charania and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic report that the league is discussing returning to an East vs. West format starting in 2024.
NBA and NBPA agreed in recent months to have talks about increased competitiveness in the All-Star Game as part of new collective bargaining agreement, sources said. Changes could come for the 2023-24 season. https://t.co/gQHni8oBLb
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) May 19, 2023
Since 2018, the all-star rosters have been determined via a pick-up style draft from a predetermined player pool.
Whether or not this is enough to completely revive the game is certainly up for debate. But you can’t fault the league for trying and it seems clear that everybody involved wants to return some semblance of glory to the game.
And honestly, it can’t possibly get worse.