By M. Goncalves
What happens during the all-star game?
Every year the best NBA players are voted by fans, players, coaches, and the media. These players are then separated into two teams to play the all-star game: a game with no shortage of deep ranged shooting, unorthodox dunks, and fancy dribbles. Due to the pandemic, the game was likely to be cancelled this year, nonetheless, the NBA found a way to entertain fans with the game once again. In past years, the skills challenge, three-point contest, and dunk contest were held on the night before the game, however the format has been altered this year and all contests will be held on the same day as the game. On March 7th, the all-star selected players will gather in Atlanta to play the game at 10:00 pm. Prior to the game, the skills challenge and three-point contest will be held. During the game’s halftime, the stage will be set for players to show off their insane athleticism during the dunk contest.
The highest voted player in each position of each conference is a starter and are the first to be picked during the selection. In the eastern conference the highest voted players were Kyrie Irving from the Brooklyn Nets, Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Milwaukee Bucks, Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers and the highest voted player was Kevin Durant from the Brooklyn Nets. Despite having by far the best season of his career so far and carrying an injury plagued Boston Celtics on his back, Jaylen Brown was not selected as a starter, which led to many fans and analysts being irate over this decision. In the west, the starters were Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Luka Doncic from the Dallas Mavericks, Kawhi Leonard from the Los Angeles Clippers, Nikola Jokic from the Denver Nuggets and arguably the greatest player of all time, LeBron James from the Los Angeles Lakers.
Even though some great players aren’t selected as all-star starters, they can still be selected as reserves. This year the reserves for the Eastern conference were Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the Boston Celtics, Ben Simmons from the Philadelphia 76ers, Zach Lavine from the Chicago Bulls, Julius Randle from the New York Knicks, and Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic. The exclusion of Trae Young, Khris Middleton, Domantas Sabonis and Tobias Harris had thousands, if not millions of fans questioning whether fan voting should be considered. For example, Alex Caruso, a role player for the Los Angeles Lakers that only averages 5.4 points and 2.4 assists, received more votes than De’Aaron Fox who averages 22.5 points and 7.1 assists. Caruso received so many votes because he is a fan favourite on social media for being a meme. The reserves for the West are, Devin Booker (Booker is filling in for Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers who is out with an Achilles tendon injury) and Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns, Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers, Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, a player who many fans were displeased with being excluded from the starting line-up.
As if watching the game and speculating beforehand who the all-stars will be is enough entertainment, before the game is played LeBron James and Kevin Durant will pick their teams and bet hundreds of thousands of dollars. The team that wins the game donates the money to the charity of their choice. Since this betting factor has been added, the game has become way more competitive and harder fought, than in years before.
In the past year or so a lot has changed in the world and will likely never be the same, however the all-star game will surely be as entertaining as it’s always been and won’t fail in attracting millions of fans to tune in and enjoy the game.