The NBA All-Star Game has officially lost the plot.
Sure, the All-Star game has always (or at least) been a bit of a farce when it comes to real competition. And that’s reasonable. After all, there’s nothing on the line and the game is in the middle of a long, difficult season.
But Sunday night’s matchup between Team LeBron and Team Giannis may have set an entirely new bar for what it means to not care about the All-Star game.
Team Giannis defeated Team LeBron, 184-175, in a game where nary a second a defense of was played. But that’s not new. Defense and the All-Star game don’t exactly go hand-in-hand and that’s mostly fine. This, however, was next level.
Whereas players normally play the All-Star game at around 25 percent intensity, Sunday night’s game was somewhere closer to 10 percent.
It was so bad that even the players and coaches themselves criticized the showing afterward. Team LeBron coach Mike Malone was particularly critical.
Malone called it “the worst basketball game he’s ever seen.” @AltitudeTV pic.twitter.com/LgULYM2prz
— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) February 20, 2023
“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,” Malone said.
“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. 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,” Malone added.
Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown was also unhappy.
“That’s not basketball,” Jaylen Brown said. Called the game a glorified “layup line” and said he hoped there was a way to make the game more competitive. Obviously no real defense played tonight
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) February 20, 2023
Brown said that the game wasn’t basketball, and that it more accurately represented a glorified “layup line.”
Reporters didn’t hold back either.
Even by All Star Game standards, that sucked lol
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) February 20, 2023
And many fans called it the worst All-Star game they’d ever seen.
Definitely the worst All-Star game of all time
— GoldenKnight (@GoldenKnightGFX) February 20, 2023
That was the worst all-star game I've ever watched. Defense is at a premium when it comes to the all-star game, but tonight's effort was just pathetic and a bad look for the NBA.
You could've gotten the same level of enjoyment by watching an NBA team do their pre-game warmups. pic.twitter.com/RQfoZyK116
— Jacob Moreno (@Jacobmorenonba) February 20, 2023
Worst All-Star game of all time, mfs wasn’t even showing any effort that’s the only reason why Tatum broke the ASG scoring record smh. Mfs wasn’t even playing defense in the 4th either, waste of my time
— ²³𝙻𝚎𝙱𝚛𝚘𝚗𝚌𝚑𝚒𝚝𝚒𝚜🏀☄️🌎💞 (@BronGotGame) February 20, 2023
Best & Worst of the Weekend
Tiger played well in his 1st tournament since July. It was awesome seeing him take in the moments at @thegenesisinv & hit great shots.
The NBA All-Star Game
It’s turned into a messy pick up game. No real effort. Weird format
— Rip Wheeler (@Gambling400) February 20, 2023
It’s hard to see how the NBA can fix the game. But for the league’s sake, it better figure it out.