Whenever the NBA stages its annual All-Star Game there are always disgruntled fans who will automatically label the game as a waste of time. Most of the people who believe this tend to be angered the fact that the defense is not as tight as during the regular season, dunking is plentiful, the passing can be a bit outrageous and players are not afraid to generally show off their skills. And while each of these claims has some truth to them, the fact that the players show off their tremendous skills during the game should be celebrated, not derided.
On most occasions the thought of Kyrie Irving throwing up an alley-oop for LeBron James is only a pipe dream, but in the NBA All-Star Game it was a regular occurrence. Additionally, everyone knows that Stephen Curry has ball handling skills that shouldn’t even be legal in a video game, but only once a year do you get to see him routinely dribble between the legs at full speed and put spin on passes that reminisce a bowler. Finally, for those that love to see a shooting spectacle, every player is your favorite during the 2014 NBA All-Star Game, as the two teams combined for an astounding 100 three-point attempts.
This expression of talent that seems suited for Rucker Park surely turns off people who want to see the fundamentals utilized at all times, but why? The NBA All-Star Game is a compilation of the best talents in the world, and they should be able to utilize this in a fashion that makes fans, commentators and fellow players drop their jaws in unison. The fact that the game turns into a de facto skills competition should be viewed as a positive, not a negative. After all, even if the NBA couldn’t get LeBron James and Blake Griffin to square off in the Slam Dunk Contest, they surely convinced them to battle for the title during the actual All-Star Game.
And best of all for those who love to see defense and fundamental laden basketball, there is always the fourth quarter, when the two teams ratchet up their play in an effort to win. During the 2014 NBA All-Star Game fans got to see Kevin Durant guard James, Paul George on Griffin and Kevin Love on Carmelo Anthony, which is a trio of dream scenarios. The fact that these guys all know the time to step up their games and begin to play for the win is a testament to each, and to the fact that they are genuinely interested in entertaining fans.
All in all, the 2014 NBA All-Star Game was truly a win-win for everyone involved, as the players got to face off against the best of their peers, basketball fans were given a level of skill to watch that left jaws on the ground, and even detractors of the event were given a tight knit and hard fought fourth quarter. The fact that the game ended as a 163-155 win for the Eastern Conference should not be the main point, but the fact that every player involved put on a show.