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NBA All-Star game fails to live up to the hype

The+New+York+Knicks%E2%80%99+Kristaps+Porzingis%2C+left%2C+defends+the+Sacramento+Kings%E2%80%99+Kosta+Koufos+%2841%29+at+Golden+1+Center+in+Sacramento%2C+Calif.%2C+on+Dec.+9.+Porzingis%E2%80%99+efforts+during+this+year%E2%80%99s+NBA+All-Star+skills+challenge+was+one+of+the+few+highlights+from+the+league%E2%80%99s+all-star+showcase.
The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, left, defends the Sacramento Kings’ Kosta Koufos (41) at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 9. Porzingis’ efforts during this year’s NBA All-Star skills challenge was one of the few highlights from the league’s all-star showcase.

The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, left, defends the Sacramento Kings’ Kosta Koufos (41) at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 9. Porzingis’ efforts during this year’s NBA All-Star skills challenge was one of the few highlights from the league’s all-star showcase.

Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS

Hector Amezcua/Sacramento Bee/TNS

The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis, left, defends the Sacramento Kings’ Kosta Koufos (41) at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Dec. 9. Porzingis’ efforts during this year’s NBA All-Star skills challenge was one of the few highlights from the league’s all-star showcase.

Alfred C Johnson, Staff Writer

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When you hear about an “All-Star” game in sports, you get excited thinking about the sport’s top stars being put into one exhibition game to showcase their talents against each other.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, the NBA All-Star game has turned into a lazy fest of alley-ops and three pointers. But what separates the NBA All-Star game from the other professional sports’ All-Star games is their All-Star weekend competitions. These include the skills competition, the 3-point competition, and the infamous Slam Dunk competition.

If you are an NBA fan, you get excited for the NBA All-Star competitions, which were held on Feb. 18 this year. You get to see NBA players showcase their talents for the fans. Some of the greatest moments in NBA history have come from the competitions that happen before the Sunday All-Star game. The first competition is the skills challenge, in which NBA players perform all of the key aspects of basketball such as dribbling, shooting, and passing as fast as they can.

The skills challenge is usually forgettable, but the NBA added an interesting twist in recent years. Since the NBA has seen 7-foot centers evolve into point guards, the centers have been added to the challenge to take on the smaller guards, who normally do everything better It came down to Kristaps Porzingis, a center, from the New York Knicks taking on Gordon Hayward, a point guard, from the Utah Jazz. Porzingis won, making this the second straight year a big man has beaten a guard in the skills challenge.

Boy, how times are changing in the NBA.

Next, was the three-point contest. This event is always a joy to watch. There is something about watching a player go on a tear and make consecutive three-pointers that can get anyone fired up. Last year’s champion, Klay Thompson from the Golden State Warriors, under-performed, not even making it to the final. The final two were Kyrie Irving from the Cleveland Cavilers and Eric Gordon from the Houston Rockets. They went at it in a spectacular display of shooting, needing an overtime period to decide the winner. Gordon won the contest, capping off what was clearly the most entertaining contest of the night.

Then, came the travesty of the night, the Slam Dunk Contest. It featured NBA players Glenn Robinson III, Aaron Gordon, Deandre Jordan, and Derrick Jones Jr. There was a lot of buzz about this year’s contest based off of last year, which is considered a classic. This year’s dunk contest was anything but a classic.

Every player continually missed their dunks effectively taking the crowd out of the contest. Aaron Gordon put on a classic performance last year, but thanks to a foot injury, couldn’t replicate the magic he generated a year ago. Robinson won the contest, but because the contest was exceedingly boring no one will remember.  

As for the All-star game on Feb. 19, there was a lot of intrigue because former teammates Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant were on the same team. These two did not have friendly feelings towards each other, so a brawl was expected to break out between the former friends. There was a confrontation between the two, but it wasn’t a fight. Durant ended up throwing an alley-op to Westbrook, seemingly squashing the beef the two had.

The rest of the game was a slugfest of three-pointers and a lack of defense. Two players broke the record for most points scored in an All-Star game. But, it was the least contested record-breaking feat, so no doubt it will be forgotten.

The NBA All-Star game needs to change in order to keep fans interested. The same goes for other professional sports, who need to provide a much-needed change to their “All-Star” games, or risk losing them due to low viewership.

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NBA All-Star game fails to live up to the hype