Do All-Star Games Matter Anymore?
When was the last time you remember watching an all-star game that actually meant something? That made you say this was worth the hours of my life I'll never get back? I for one can't remember the last time I tuned in to any all-star game of the "Big 4" sports, and was glad for doing so.
Last night' NBA All-Star game was almost like a joke you have heard countless times before. You knew what the punchline was, but for some reason you relived the entire joke as if it this time it would somehow be different. It wasn't.
The NBA All-Star game was quite the laugher though. The West defeated the East 148-143 in a game that saw zero defense, limitless dunks and showboating galore. At times the NBA All-Star game borders on a glorified And1 mix tape. Just throw the ball up, and someone will come down with it for an instant addition for the never ending highlight reel.
The more amusing blunder from last night's NBA All-Star game was who was actually named MVP. Hometown hero Kobe Bryant was named the MVP of last night's game with some quite impressive number. Bryant finished with a game high 37 points and pulled in 14 rebounds. The numbers don't lie, that is a MVP caliber performance. I believe, though, that anytime someone logs a triple double then they should be the game's most valuable player. Miami's LeBron James finished with 29 points, 12 rebound and 10 assists; impressive on any level. The reason LeBron didn't win the award was because his team didn't.
The NBA All-Star game isn't the only showcase of sports best that should be under fire for being terrible. Let's also put the MLB, NFL, and NHL on the copping block.
The NFL Pro Bowl game seems to be the least cared about All-Star game when it comes to their actual players. The game, which is now played before the Super Bowl, is often skipped over by the truly great athletes of the NFL. Players either don't care they were selected, choose not to attend, can't play because their in the Super Bowl or phone it in when they actually do attend the big game.
This year's Pro Bowl saw the NFC leading 42-0 at one point. How could anyone at home suffer through that kind of punishment? The score did finish much closer by the end, but the game itself was 11 athletes on both sides of the ball not trying.
Obviously you can't hold the Pro Bowl during the season like you can with the NBA, MLB and NHL, but something has to change to make that game watchable this year. Sure the NFL needs to focus their attention to their labor talks, but eventually they will have to sit down and right the wrong that is their all-star showcase.
The MLB All-Star game is the only one that actually makes it seem like they care about their showcase of stars. They are also the only ones that gave their all-star game actual meaning when they decided that they would give home field advantage for the World Series to the league that won the game. This has made for more interesting games, and has helped many teams win the World Series because of it.
They do mess up though when it comes to the fact that every team must be represented by a player. Why should we let a player on each team be on the all-star team. This does two things. It takes away a roster spot from a player that actually is good enough to be considered an all-star, and it rewards mediocrity. I can't remember the last time the Pittsburgh Pirates had a player that was good enough to be considered an all-star, yet each year a Pirate is on the team. Why give consolation to owners and gm's who choose to put a product out that is doing just enough to get by. It's a sad state of the MLB to be perfectly honest with you.
Lastly there is the NHL. I for one am a fan of the NHL and their hard hitting action. Their all-star game, not so much. I never seem to really grasp the idea of their all-star games. This year's all-star game was changed to make it seem like it was a fantasy draft of the best. The all-star game this year was Team Lindstrom vs. Team Staal. The captains for each team selected players from a combined pool of both fan balloting and the NHL Hockey Operations Department.
This has been the third change to an all-star game format in the NHL in the past ten years. Over the past ten years there have also been three all-star games that were not played because of either the Winter Olympics or due to a lockout. The NHL needs to just stick with one format to their all-star game so fans can continue to not watch it.
I'm not saying that I will never again tune into an all-star game. I'm not saying that the games will ever be meaningful again either. I'm only saying that something has to change. I need to know if I should continue to not care, or if, somewhere along the line, hope is on it's way. For now, i'll continue about my normal ways.