NBA All-Star Game: Should Sports Abolish All-Star Games?

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIFebruary 27, 2012

ORLANDO, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Western Conference drives for a shot attempt during the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center on February 26, 2012 in Orlando, Florida.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
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The contest between the East and West NBA All-Stars went down to the wire Sunday night as the West squeaked by with a 152-149 victory in a hard-fought battle. Despite East coach Tom Thibodeau's suffocating defense, the West stars came out on top.

Of course, if anybody watched the game, they know I'm kidding, because nobody plays any defense in an All-Star game. It's a silly exhibition where "defenders" let their opponents blow by them and try to outdo each other with playground shots.

The dunks in the game were better than those of the Dunk Contest Saturday night between four nobodies. Why not have a dunk-off between LeBron James and Blake Griffin like Michael Jordan and Dominque Wilkins had in 1988? The whole weekend screamed 'look at us,' but why should we?

If I want to see an exhibition, I'll watch the Harlem Globetrotters. At least I know that's their game.

The Dunk Contest's expiration date is long past. The Rising Stars game is the same premise as the main game Sunday night, just with lesser names not putting out any effort.

If I want to see the ole' defense, I'll watch my Chicago Bulls and see Carlos Boozer make a cursory wave at an opponent as he drives by. 

Is it necessary to even bother with All-Star games anymore—not just in basketball, but in all sports?

Earlier in the day, I listened to a sports radio show in Chicago where the host said he would rather watch a game of horse than the NBA All-Star Game.



He even mentioned lingerie football as a better alternative, and how could I not be on board with that? Not only are they better to look at; they play harder too.Can you believe there is actually a betting line on a game where nobody tries? The East were 2.5 point favorites, and that's the gist of why they they do this: money.

Let's make it a weekend spectacle and turn the shills upside down and shake them until their pockets are empty.

In a different era, the players actually gave an effort and didn't part like the Red Sea every time someone drove the lane.

How can anyone watch more than five minutes of this drivel without getting nauseous?

The same for baseball and their Home Run Derby. Isn't it exciting watching lollipops float up to the plate as juiced-up sluggers belt them 500 feet or more? (I forgot, baseball cleared up the steroid problem).

How long can you sit there going ooh and aah before thinking watching paint dry sounds like a good alternative?

The game counts now in baseball, because of the debacle when the game ended in a tie in 2002.

But if it counts, why do you let the fans select the players? Why have a representative from every team?Nobody's trying to win the game. Otherwise, you would pick only the best players and play it like a real game, because the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.



Instead, the idea is to get every player into the game so the fans can see their hometown hero.

I had the opportunity several years ago to ask baseball commissioner Bud Selig why baseball would put something as important as home-field advantage for the World Series up as the reward for a meaningless exhibition game.

He was at Wrigley Field the day I spoke to him. He said to me that he had just been talking to Ron Santo, and Santo mentioned to him how much each league wanted to win when he played, so he liked the idea.

The difference is Santo played before free agency, when players had league pride and the game did matter. Most of the players played in one league their whole career. Now, like Jerry Seinfeld once said in his comedy act, "You're rooting for the uniforms."

There's no league pride anymore. The players are all buddy-buddy and often share the same agent. It gives them a chance to get together and shoot the bull.

It's more like a company softball game than an actual baseball game. Most people think baseball has the best All-Star game. How bad is that?Hockey keeps changing their format every few years to try to keep the fans interested. Now they're choosing pick-up teams.

Imagine how embarrassing it is for the last few players standing waiting to be picked. You take world-class athletes and diminish them like they're runts on the schoolyard in a choose-up game.


Should I even bother mentioning football and the Pro Bowl? Most players treat the "honor" like they're getting selected from a jury pool to try a case. "Please don't pick me."


They normally come up with some fake injury not to show up. That keeps happening until they find players who think they would enjoy a week in Hawaii.

Football commissioner Roger Goodell was so upset with the 'effort' by the players this year that he's considering getting rid of the game.

Isn't that what should happen to all of them?

The leagues can honor the players after the season by selecting their respective All-Star teams.

Wouldn't that be better than the sham they're perpetrating on their fans now?