A Look At What Made This Year’s NBA All-Star Game So Great

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The NBA All-Star game has not been this exciting in some 25 years or so.  The next day, any and every sports analyst was raving about the competitiveness and showmanship produced by the players participating the previous night. 

For those who are not aware, the NBA All-Star Game, similar to All-Star games in other sports, has been struggling with giving the fans what they want. Every year the same comments such as, “where’s the defense” and “they’re not even trying”, stick out as very common remarks made about such sporting events. 

The lack of effort makes sense seeing that players who make it to an All-Star game are worth an absurd amount to their franchise and fear the possibility of getting hurt in a game that basically means nothing. Some argue this fear is unwarranted because the odds of getting hurt when you are not trying or just messing around are actually higher than if you were going 100 percent. 

Thoughts such as those have not resonated with players and the quality of entertainment given forth to the people has suffered greatly. These types of games, back in the day as they say, used to be exciting and the players did not hold back as much as they do now.

So what was it that caused the players to play like they did. Many said the boost in competitiveness was due to the new format introduced this year while some others credited the players performances to the spirit of Kobe Bryant and his mamba mentality.  

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The new Elam format when first announced was called gimmicky along with other criticisms.  The games first three quarters would be treated as three separate games starting from zero and ending after 12 minutes.  The winner of each of these “games” would win 100,000 dollars to give to their teams selected charity.

Those involved with the charities got to meet with the players before the games and were in attendance at the game itself creating an interesting dynamic between player and fan.  Players had someone, something to play for.

The scores from the first three quarters were added together and 24, Kobe Bryant’s number, was added to the leading teams score. This number is the target score and the first team to reach it would win another 200,000 dollars to give to their charity along with the game itself. 

The MVP award given out at the end of all All-Star games was to be renamed the Kobe Bryant MVP award honoring the greatest Laker of all time.

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The first three quarters of the game were played like any other All-Star game, high flying dunks, fancy assists, threes from the parking lot.  It was not until the third quarter that the game had begun to become quite competitive compared to recent All-Star games with players taking charges, diving for loose balls, and coaches calling strategic timeouts.  The third quarter ended up being a tie which meant the final quarter was now worth 300,000 dollars upping the stakes another notch.

The fourth quarter’s intensity was later compared to the likes of NBA Finals games.  The players continued to challenge each other as the game got closer and both teams were approaching the target score. Team captains Lebron and Giannis traded defensive stops as the best lineups in the world faced off in a soon to be classic performance that was eventually won on an Anthony Davis free throw giving Team Lebron the win. 

The game was over and the Kobe Bryant MVP award was given to Kawhi Leonard of Team Lebron, a long time friend of Kobe Bryant. The balance between the first three quarters modern All-Star game feel with an ultra competitive fun to watch fourth quarter.

The media storm ensued as analysts, athletes, and fans alike voiced their overwhelming happiness with how the game was played and the world was reminded of how great an All-Star Game could be.   

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