An Athlete’s Take: All-Star Dilemma
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 17:04
It’s supposed to be a showcase for the fans, a mid or end of season showcase, where the best and most talented performers entertain the fans. However in both the NBA and the NFL, All-Star weekend and the Pro Bowl respectively have lost the luster of previous years and at time seem like a sham of their former selves.
With the recent news that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has decided to suspend the NFL Pro Bowl for next season (this quite frankly seems like a death sentence for the event) it seems the future of the event is up in the air. Last season’s game was perhaps the breaking point as the highly touted battle of the conferences instead was more akin to a pop warner or even touch football game. Quite frankly the players don’t care and in a game as physical as football can you really blame them?
Further compounding the issues surrounding the Pro Bowl, in recent years it has been played the week before the super bowl which has further diluted the experience.
As a result all of the players from the two best teams sit the game out, this averages to about 20 or so pro bowlers who can’t make it, they are instead replaced by lesser players. This spoils the whole meaning of being a pro bowler. Being selected as a pro bowler for a particular season means that during that time period you were one of the best players in the league in your position. When you start awarding the 5th, 6th and 7th best players the same distinction, simply because the top players had to drop out, it makes the whole award a sham.
What the NFL needs to do is bring back and inevitably expand the skills competition which used to coincide with the pro bowl. These were reminiscent of a combine of sorts but here the players would actually try. Perhaps a 40 yard dash, or a longest throw competition would actually bring out some effort out of the players as opposed to playing in an absolutely meaningless game.
However the problems of the all star showcase are not only limited to the NFL. The NBA has also come under heavy fire for its less than spectacular mid season showing in the recent years, the All Star Weekend.
Before we delve into what can be improved it must first be noted that the actual NBA All Star game isn’t too much of a problem. Sure there is an alarming lack of defense and lackluster play for the most part, but the stars of the NBA always come out and by the fourth quarter the game actually becomes really intense and usually culminates in some nail-biting finishes. But the once praised Slam Dunk Contest has become more of a talent show.
For years the Slam Dunk Contest was the highlight of All Star weekend. The highflying players of the NBA would take the stage under the lights and showcase their talent. From Michael Jordan to Vince Carter the contest has seen some truly special moments. Even Dwight Howard kept the tradition alive and well a couple of years ago, however in recent years the competition has left much to be desired.
Unlike the Pro-Bowl problem, which may require some real ingenuity on the part of the NFL to fix, the NBA slam dunk contest is quite simple, get the stars to come out. Many fans have complained that the slam dunk contest lacks originality but that’s not true.
In the past couple years we have all seen dunks which have never been done before, case and point Jeremy Evans’ two handed dunk this year or Paul George’s Tron-inspired glow in the dark, reverse windmill. What the competition needs is stars. Had Lebron James or Kevin Durant done those exact same dunks, the response would have been phenomenal, instead we are left watching Jeremy Evans, who can barely get on the court for the Utah Jazz bask in the glory of his title. It’s supposed to be the All Star game, so get the stars please.