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Fixing All-Star Weekend: Slamball, Cash by Quarter, and Hunger Games competitions

There are so many ways to increase viewership on All-Star Weekend. I’ve got some ideas.

NBA: All-Star Saturday Night Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

All-Star Weekend is a drag. Every time I try to watch these festivities, I come away disappointed. That Rising Stars game was trash, as were all the Saturday events. I’m tired of watching non-All Stars compete — even if it means no Devin Booker — in those Saturday competitions.

So, I’ve got some ideas.

They’re terrible, I know. But I also know that I’d tune in to watch this stuff, and that’s the name of the game.

Use Slamball in Celebrity Game

Remember Slamball, with the trampolines and heavy hitting? The league should revitalize the Slamball game, and make it a pro-am with celebrities on All-Star Saturday night.

Watch and ahhh.

God I loved watching Slamball! Bright it back!

Who would coach the Slamball teams? Why, the coaches of the league’s worst teams, of course. So once-coveted-to-coach-the-Suns Igor Kokoskov would face off against once-coveted-to-coach-the-Suns David Fizdale in “winner keeps his job” duel on All-Star Friday night.

How could you NOT tune in to that?

Tie Rising Stars game to Rookie of Year and All-Rookie Teams

Make them Hunger Games each other for the annual Rookie Awards, right in front of our eyes. Since most contracts have bonuses in them for making the ROY or the All-Rookie teams, the guys will have extra incentive to play super-well in the Rising Stars game.

To avoid ugly ball-hogging, the players would not be rewarded for points any more than for assists, rebounds, steals, or any other counting stats.

Heck, why not have the voters be stat-nerds who develop an algorithm for the most impactful player in a game?

Yes, I am suggesting Kevin Pelton from ESPN be the chairman of the judging committee, along with guys from Cleaning the Glass and Synergy. Have them develop a one-game algorithm to decide the very best players from that ONE ga — hold on here. How about ALL the rookies play, and make it a tournament. All day Saturday, like their old AAU days.

You can figure this out, Kevin! I trust you.

Have the fan-voted All-Stars dominate All-Star Saturday

The very best way to get ratings is to give the fans what they want. Have all the highest fan-voted players compete on All-Star Saturday in the fun competitions. And make each player compete in all three challenges.

You’d get a lot of true All-Stars, plus some of the guys the fans love the most.

Replace Skills Challenge with H.O.R.S.E.

Since you’ve got the fan-voted All-Stars together for All-Star Saturday, I think it would be more fun to have them challenge each other in games of H.O.R.S.E. Can you imagine the kinds of shots these guys would challenge each other with?

Replace the Three-Point Challenge with timed shooting game

Takes way too long to watch these guys shoot 30 threes at a time. We’ve got the fan-voted All-Stars here, and their favorite thing to do is shoot the ball.

Have them all race to make a free throw, three-pointer, half-court-heave and then layup/dunk in the fewest seconds possible. Sure, that’s kinda like the Skills Challenge but without the dumb dribbling and passing parts. And it’s with the actual players fans came to see.

Imagine Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook out there racing to make the shots. You could even do it competitively, with all the All-Stars shooting at the same time, bumping each other out of the way as needed.

Maybe we’ll even see some rim protection among teammates! They help each other in cycling competitions, for example. Why not in this? Let’s say Russell Westbrook is trying to make his half-court heave, while Steven Adams decides he’s not gonna let ANYONE make their layup/dunk to close it out.

Have the coach/media voted All-Stars play the Sunday game

Since the fan-voted players got Saturday, you can leave Sunday to the players the coaches and media believe are actually All-Stars. Sure, there will be lots of overlap, but some fringe players would change.

For example, the fans really wanted Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose in the All-Star game this year. They could be Saturday stars, but not actually be in the Sunday game that matters unless the coaches and media picked them.

Score the Sunday game like Summer League

In Summer League, teams are credited by quarter. You get a point for each quarter you win. On Sunday, players could be credited — and receive bonuses on — winning each quarter. That way, they’ll start caring before there’s three minutes left in the game.


How about you, Bright Side readers? Any ideas?