Every year, when the NBA All-Star game starters are announced, people are disappointed since fans choose who starts the game. People go to the NBA All-Star game in mid-February annually to see a show. When the league’s best players are all assembled, there are bound to be fireworks. But to maintain that balance, the league’s truly most dynamic and most talented players from each season must be selected, no matter their track record. There should be no favorites that sneak their way into the All-Star Classic, because the players who have been working hard all year and possibly even their entire careers for this opportunity are being snubbed for someone who has been deserving in the past but not in the present. Players such as Dwayne Wade and Kobe Bryant, who have been significantly affected by injuries to the point where they can no longer compete at a high level during the All-Star game, should sit out and give more deserving players the opportunity to stand in the spotlight and create some fireworks.
So when Kobe Bryant told basketball fans in an interview that they should vote for younger, more deserving players, he was not brushing aside the importance of the All-Star game because he has already had 15 All-Star selections in a long and successful career over the past seasons that he has played. Instead, he was elevating the importance of the game by acknowledging that since he has only played six games in an injury-ravaged season, there are others more deserving of the honor of being in the All-Star game this season. Being chosen for the All-Star game despite only playing in six games this season is a testament to how Kobe’s effort during the All-Star game has pleased fans, and more players should realize the amount of respect given by fans for effort and try to emulate the same amount of effort every year.
In a recent All-Star game, Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat’s “Big 3” elbowed Kobe Bryant in the face for being too aggressive in the All-Star game because many players feel that the game should not be taken too seriously. I prefer Kobe’s take on the matter. If you’re going to play a game with the best players in the league, you want to try your hardest so you can see if you are one of the best players from the group. The fans love it when All-Star games get close and the players begin to treat it like it is a real game. And why shouldn’t they if they are paying lucrative amounts to see this one game?
I understand that players don’t want to risk being injured, but there should be some pride in their selection as one of the best players in the game. I would hate to see All-Star weekend, which is filled with exciting events like the dunk contest, go the way that the NFL’s Pro Bowl has. For example, baseball has produced very exciting and competitive games since they have instituted this new rule, and why shouldn’t it work for the NBA, where home court can sometimes decide a hotly-contested series?
The NBA is fortunate to have such a successful exhibition as the All-Star game, because the NFL has found itself constantly reformatting the process of how its best players are selected and how the game is played due to lack of interest from the general public and lack of effort from players participating. The National Basketball Association, however, is not the NFL because football is a more physical sport and results in more serious injuries to the players overall during a full season, which contributes to the lack of effort from players who really do not want to try hard enough to hurt themselves or others in a game that does not matter.
The problem posed by this dynamic in the NFL is understandable, and the NFL is struggling to simply keep its own Pro-Bowl going. But as the US’ third favorite sport, behind the MLB, the NBA All-Star Game is highly successful. This success is due to the effort given forth by players who are exciting to watch and deserving of their selections, but a more successful All-Star game can potentially elevate the status of the NBA as a whole. By putting more on the line during this exhibition game, players will put forth more effort to help achieve this goal.