The NBA All-Star has always been the hallmark of NBA tradition, a huge part of culture, a monumental event for NBA players all over the world to be a part.
This coming 2023, the NBA will hold its 72nd event of All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. Typically, the NBA All-Star is an exhibition game against Top (24) players in the league divided into two teams: East and West. However, the format changes in 2018 with two top players in the overall voting being the captains of each team and will select their players to fill the roster within the remaining all-star players – like Team Giannis and Team Lebron in the 2018 All-Star Game. There are also other competitions like 3-points shooting contest, Slam Dunk Contest, and Skills Challenge which can be participated by both all-star and non all-star players.
The 2023 NBA All-Star hosted by Salty Lake City will be the 72nd edition of this monumental event which will feature new faces, bright futures, and iconic moments that will soon be in the history book of basketball.
Recap: The First NBA All-Star Game
During the 50s, basketball hit the rock-bottom in terms of popularity due to the issue of college basketball point-shaving. So the solution that the officials of professional basketball league at that time was to hold a basketball exhibition comprises popular players and best players from the two leagues: ABA and NBA. This idea of the All-Star game was reached in a meeting between the late – NBA President Maurice Podoloff, the NBA Publicity Director Haskell Cohen, and the Boston Celtics Owner Walter A. Brown in order to regain the trust and the attention of the public back to the league and to the sport.
The first NBA All-Star game held on March 2, 1951 played in the Boston Garden, Massachusetts. The Eastern All-Star team defeated the Western All-Star team with the score of 111-94. Ed Macauley of the Boston Celtics named the first-ever Most Valuable Player in the NBA All-Star Game. It became a hit and a success as it drew an attendance of 10,094. Macauley finished the first All-Star game with 20 points to capture the first MVP honor as he carried the East with an easy victory against the West 111-94. Bob Cousy almost made the first triple-double in an All-Star game as he finished with eight points, eight assists, and nine rebounds.
2003 NBA All-Star: The Passing of the Torch
The 2003 NBA All-Star Game is famously known as Jordan’s final All-Star game but what everyone didn’t know is that this also staged the iconic moment between the young Kobe Bryant and the 40 year-old Michael Jordan – the passing of the torch as the new face of the league. Team West won the exhibition game against Team East with the score of 155-145. Kobe Bryant scored 22 points to go along with six assists and seven rebounds against Michael Jordan who scored in his final game with 20 points.
This is also the night when the Lakers legend tells his story to his idol, Michael Jordan, about how he first met the Bulls superstar and undisputed GOAT when he was at the age of 13.
2018 All-Star Game: The New Era of Basketball
The 2018 NBA All-Star Game introduced the new format of All-Star Game. It became more interesting, market-friendly, and attracted more attention. The NBA eradicates the old format (East vs. West) instead creating a new one where the top player in the NBA Voting will serve as a captain and have the privilege to create their team out of all-star players. This new format did not only improve the viewership of the All-Star game, it also broadened the popularity by using the names of superstar players like Giannis and Lebron – it earned a total 4.3 rating and 7.7 million viewership which is best compared to 2017 and 2016.
This 2018 All-Star game is also kind of symbolic to the basketball world – it opens a new generation of talents, a new discussion of greatness, a passing of the torch Lebron to Giannis, welcoming the new faces and future of the league and the sport itself.
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