Well it worked well for all the other leagues, right?
Following similar, ultimately unsuccessful experiments in the National Hockey League and National Football League, the National Basketball Association has decided to give it a go and use the player captain format for their annual All-Star Game.
Dropping the East vs. West format which had been in place since the first NBA All-Star Game in 1951, the teams will now be chosen fantasy draft style with the top two fan vote getters acting as the two team captains.
The change in format presumably has to do with the frankly, boring NBA All-Star Games we’ve been seeing since forever. Two teams facing off which don’t care whether they win or lose… the idea of giving the players some ownership in their rosters and throwing in that there will be a donation to charity on the line might liven things up.
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” NBPA President and Houston Rocket Chris Paul said in the press release. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
Six of the last seven NBA All-Star Games have been won by the Western Conference, the last two games both saw the West nearly score 200 points.
Makes us wonder, what happens to the uniforms? Won’t be East and West, and likely won’t have the captain’s names on the front. We could see either a switch back to players wearing their usual team uniforms (please), or generic “NBA All-Star” uniforms as we have seen many times in the past.
This format should work better than it did in the other leagues, the smaller rosters and higher impact a single player has in basketball changes things a bit.
The NFL dropped their conference format for the 2013 Pro Bowl in favour of player captains, they played three games under that format before reverting to the familiar AFC vs NFC for this past Pro Bowl in 2016.
In the NHL, the format has been tinkered with much more but they also dabbled with player captains starting in 2011 and again in 2012. No NHL All-Star Games were held in 2013 or 2014, the league again used the player captain format for 2015 before switching to the division tournament they have in place now in 2016.
The 2018 NBA All-Star Game will be played in Los Angeles at the Staples Center on February 18th.