The NBA-All Star Game is this weekend in New Orleans, and it is sure to be a festive event to say the least. Fans will get a chance to see some of the best players in the game today let their hair down and have fun all weekend long.
Events include the annual Celebrity All-Star Game, Three-Point Contest, Rookie vs. Sophomore game, and of course the Dunk Contest.
Even though the NBA does a great job of allowing fans to witness star players in a variety of unique contests throughout the weekend, the events have become a little stale and there is a need to add something new to All-Star Weekend. It never fails that fans begin to complain about the dunk contest as soon as the first dunk is attempted and the three point contest has lost some of its luster over the years too.
With those two hallmark competitions of the weekend failing to attract the interest that they used to back when Larry Bird was doing this and Vince Carter was doing this, Commissioner Adam Silver needs to come up with some new contests to get the fans more excited about All-Star Weekend.
If Silver manages to create some events that make the NBA-All Star Game easily the best of its kind it would aid him in creating a legacy different from all other commissioners before him. However, creating new contests and getting the players and (more importantly) fans excited about them is easier said than done.
But do not fret Commish below is a list of events the NBA should add to All-Star Weekend…
Also affectionately called “Knock Out”, “Gotcha” is a game that most people who have ever attended a basketball camp have played (if you have never played Gotcha click here for the rules). It is a faced paced exciting game when mere mortals play, imagine the excitement NBA All-Stars will bring to the game. Here is how it would work, ten players from different NBA teams would be selected to compete in this contest with the winner getting a new car, plane, or whatever it is NBA players get for winning All-Star Weekend contests. There would be three rounds, one for practice, one to determine the order, and one for the championship. Since the first round is just to get the players loose, the last two rounds become the most important. At the end of the second round the order for the “Gotcha” Championship will be determined this way, the first person out stands on the three point line, the next person out walks up and decides whether he would like to be in front of or behind that person, the following contestant determines where he would like to be in line and so on until the order is determined. This adds an element of gamesmanship to the contest. If I am Klay Thompson and the order goes something like Rudy Gay, Bradley Beale, Dwight Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki I am probably going to want to be in front of Howard because he is a less dangerous three point threat than the other players in the line so far. However, be wary of that thought because the winner of “Gotcha” is never the best three point shooter. The winner is the guy that gets a couple of lucky bounces and has a quick release. The last two competitors need to be in good shape because all that running back and forth is sure to put the most in shape All-Star too the test.
2. Mascot Synchronized Dunking
This would be an interesting variation to a Dunk Contest that seems to have lost some of its mystique over the years. Instead of it being one contestant dunking it would be that player and his team’s mascot in the contest. For example, John Wall and G-Man would be participating together in this year’s Dunk Contest. The two dunkmates will be scored on doing the same creative dunk, at the same time on goals at opposite ends of the court. Think synchronized diving, but instead of falling down the players and mascots will be going up. Mascots will of course be allowed to use their trampolines which should give some perspective to how high players jump and how much hang time NBA All-Stars have.
3. Dribble Knockout
Another basketball camp favorite, “Dribble Knockout” is a game that challenges your handles more than the current Skills Challenge. The rules are simple, everyone is given a ball and a boundary that you cannot cross, with the point of the game being to make the opposing players lose their dribble while maintaining yours. Players cannot let their balls hit the ground more than once without touching their hands, pick their dribble up, or commit any dribble violations (carry, travel, etc) while the other contestants are trying to disrupt their dribble. The NBA can get 15 contestants and start the game in the half court. To prevent players from being spaced out too far, and to make them attempt to knock their opponents’ balls away the boundaries will change periodically. When the first five contestants get eliminated the buzzer sounds and everyone has to be inside the three point arch within five seconds or they are out and inside the three point line becomes the new boundary. When you get down to five players the buzzer sounds again and the players have five seconds to be inside the paint or they will be eliminated from the contest. Finally the last two players will face off inside the half court circle to determine the winner. It would be pretty exciting to see a Mike Conley vs. Isaiah Thomas finale for the king of “Dribble Knockout”.
4. Dribble Relay Race
A fun way to show off players speed and make them look silly in the process. This will be an East vs. West contest with each Conference selecting a ten man team. It will be a best of three rounds series with each round adding a different quirk to it. Each team has one ball and they will line up on one baseline and race to the opposite end of the court and back doing different basketball drills. So the first round can be a regular straight line dribble as fast as you can down and back, but instead of simply handing the ball off to the person in the front of the line, the player has to go all the way to the end of the line and roll it thru all of his teammates’ legs. If the person in the front of the line lets the ball roll pass the line he has to retrieve it, sprint back behind the line, and then he can go. The second round players will partner up and do a partner passing all the way down the court and back, the third round players will have to spin around in circles five times once they get to the far baseline before they are allowed to dribble back down the court.
5. Team Shooting Competition
Ten players from each conference will be selected for this event just like the dribble relay race. Each team will be given one ball and a hoop. There will be five one minute rounds with each round taking place from a different part around the three point line (first round right corner, second round right wing, third round top of the key, fourth round left wing, fifth round left corner). Each conference will attempt to make as many shots as possible within the allotted time, and the scores from each round will be added to the teams’ total. The team with the most points at the end of all five rounds wins the team shooting competition. You have to get your own rebound, and since there is only one ball the team that gets the ball and passes it to their teammates the fastest is the team that will most likely win.
CJ Hurt covers a variety of topics for MemphiSport. Follow him @Conradicalness for live tweets about life, love, and sports.
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