By Cameron Buford, Whatsgoodinsports.com
Just past the midpoint of each NBA season, the NBA gathers the most athletic players in the world to highlight and showcase their talents. Each year, in various cities, the NBA hosts multiple events that are meant to showcase and highlight some of the best talents in their league to the world. Widely recognized as having the most athletic players in the world the game the competitiveness of the game appeared to be lacking in recent years. The league announced some modifications to the way their All-Star game would be played this year to wrap up the NBA All-Star weekend in Chicago.
The weekends begin with highlighting the league’s best young talent. Proving that their game in the most global of all professional sports, the NBA has changed their Rising Stars game from Rookies vs Sophomores to the USA vs the World. Though the league’s young talent remains the headliners, this is a great chance for fans to enjoy the best up incoming talent in the league. Team USA won this game convincingly 151-131 over the Team World, with Charlotte Hornet forward winning the game’s MVP Award.
Although Sunday nights actual All-Star game is the pinnacle of the weekend, Saturday Night events once were the night that many partial, and impartial fans, would tune in for this evening festivities. These few events highlight the various talents of multiple players in their Skills Contest, Three-Point Shooting Contest and then the evenings highly visible Dunk Contest.
Dribble and handling a basketball require impressive hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, then to do it on an NBA level is tremendously remarkable. The NBA’s Skills contest encompasses many of these skills in their competition. In impressive fashion Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo beat out fellow big man, and Indianapolis Pacer, Domantas Sabonis for the 2020 Taco Bell Skills Challenge to kick off the Saturday Nights Events.
The league’s best sharpshooters compete in the contest of those players with the best range in the game. The standard of this event has been set by the top shooters in league’s history, by such shooters as Craig Hodges, Mark Price, and Larry Bird to name a few. On Saturday evening this year’s Three-Point competition came down to the final rack as Sacramento Kings Buddy Hield needed to knock down his final shot to outdueled Phoenix Suns Devin Booker and Washington Wizards Davis Bertans who put up impressive shootings themselves.
The highlight of the evening was and has been, appointment viewing for most NBA fans. Though it ended controversially this year’s contest ended up being one of the best Dunk Contest in the history of the All-Star Weekend. Additionally, it could be argued that this was the second biggest robbery in the history of the Dunk Contest. Oddly enough the other robbery occurred in Chicago back in 1988, when hometown product Michael Jordan was awarded the Slam Dunk Champion over the more deserving Dominique Wilkins.
After a series of creatively mind-blowing dunks, the epic AT&T Slam Dunk Championship was awarded to Miami Heat guard Derrick Jones Jr. who was very impressive throughout the contest. His 360-degree dunk, where he put the ball between his legs and dunked the ball was likely his best dunk of the night. The controversy was that runner up Arron Gordon received six straight perfect scores before being shortchanged on one his most impressive dunks of the evening when he leaped over 7’ 5” Boston Celtic Tacko Fall and dunked the ball with two hands.
Having already changed the team’s selection process a few years ago to where the leading All-Star vote-getters Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo would select their teams for the available all-star pool. They added a new format of the NBA All-Star game itself on Sunday which turned out to be an awesome modification. By playing each quarter as a singular game and the winners from quarter winning money for selected Chicago charities. They then added up the scores to begin the fourth quarter. By adding 24 points to accumulated score, in tribute to the late Kobe Bryant, this set the targeted game-winning score.
Whether it was having Team Lebron compete with Team Antetokounmpo to decide a winner for each quarter or having the kids from the selected charities courtside or having the team playing towards that targeted score this exhibition game appeared to be the most competitive game we’ve seen in years. Once the game was tied in the third quarter the 4th quarter was likely the most contentious of any All Start game before these changes.
All that being said, the game should’ve never ended on a free throw! As this made for an anti-climactic ending to the game. One solution to this would be to take away team fouls in the last 2 mins of this game. This would just make the offensive team inbound the ball rather than shoot free throws to win the game. By eliminating the free throws to end the game, they would’ve had a near-perfect outcome.
Did you watch the 2020 NBA All-Star events on Saturday night or the game Sunday afternoon? Share your thoughts on the good and bad of the NBA’s annual showcase with us by simply commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or by following me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport for immediate engagement. Additionally, subscribe to our weekly “Voice of the Fans Podcast” which is available for you on most podcasting platforms, Apple and Google Podcasts including Spotify, TuneIn, and iHeart Radio. As always, we certainly appreciate you for making our voice your choice!