Community Shootaround: What Changes Are Needed For All-Star Weekend?

This year’s All-Star Weekend featured an underwhelming Slam Dunk Contest, a confusing Skills Challenge, and a revamped Rising Stars competition. Although the events provide a showcase for current stars and a few NBA legends, there’s a sense that the entertainment value has slipped from past years.

The biggest offender was the dunk contest, where Cole Anthony, Jalen Green, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Obi Toppin missed more dunks than they made, and no one provided a memorable highlight to excite the crowd. Toppin was the winner with a combined score of 92 in the finals, but his dunks were relatively safe as Toscano-Anderson misfired on his final three attempts.

Dwyane Wade, who was part of the TNT broadcast of the event, said afterward that the dunk contest rated a “solid 6,” which is the score competitors get when they miss all their dunks, per Cydney Henderson of USA Today. Broadcast partner Kenny Smith added, “We always have an off year. Even LeBron James has off games.”

The hometown Cavaliers captured the Skills Challenge when Evan Mobley sank a half-court shot on his first attempt. It was the most crowd-pleasing moment of an All-Star Weekend that is usually filled with high points.

The Antetokounmpo brothers admitted to not fully understanding the rules in the three-point shootout part of the competition that determined whether they or the Cavs would advance to the finals, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. They believed all three members of the team would get a shot, so they had Thanasis go first. He missed, and when Darius Garland sank his attempt, the Antetokounmpos were eliminated. They said Alex would have shot first if they had been aware of the rules.

Reviews were much more positive for Friday night’s Rising Stars event, which featured a single-elimination tournament involving four teams of first- and second-year players. The Elam ending was employed in all three games, and in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary, the semifinals were both played until someone reached 50 points and the finals were played to 25.

“I like this,” LaMelo Ball told Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “I feel like this was dope. Having something new, with the 75 and the 50 and the 25, I feel like it was creative.”

There have been suggestions that changing the order of events might help in the future, with the dunk competition moved up and the Three-Point Contest saved until last. There have also been proposals to freshen up the weekend with new events, such as a one-on-one tournament or a H-O-R-S-E competition.

We want to get your opinion. What needs to be done to improve All-Star Weekend? Please leave your responses in the space below.

View Comments (49)