As you surely know by now, LeBron James isn’t doing the dunk contest, and he really shouldn’t anyway. Despite his graceful passes, he’s a power/in-game dunker and doesn’t have the grace for the competition.
None of this matters anyway, as it’s time to scrap All-Star Saturday night and overhaul the whole thing. No more Dunk Contest tweaks, no more Skills Challenges, and no more anything-that-involves-the-WNBA. They need to trim this down to one event: The $1,000,000 NBA All-Star One-on-One Challenge. (Click that link to see the bracket. Ours is called the YAYsports! NBA One-on-One Challenge and it’s sponsored by Han Solo, but you get the idea.)
That’s all that happens Saturday night – 4 rounds, games to 7. Last two rounds are to 11. Throw in some musical entertainment that isn’t country music, and you’ve got a true basketball EVENT.
For our purposes, we’ve seeded the top 16 scorers in the league, although if the NBA did it, they should probably use the All-Stars themselves. Reasons this is genius:
1) Ratings. If you’re a basketball fan and you’re not watching this, then you’re insane. If we add in a few wildcard spots, you could maybe get Shaq vs. Kobe somehow. While this isn’t what it would’ve been a year ago, is there any way you’re not tuning in?
Is there any possibility you’re not watching LeBron and Kobe play one-on-one? Vince and T-Mac? Wade and LeBron in Round 2? Nowitski/Duncan/Garnett? Iverson/Shaq? There are endless possibilities, and they’re all awesome in their own way.
2) Fan interest and discussion. See above. Plus, everyone loves brackets.
3) It’s exciting every year. It’s different every year. It’ll rebuild personal rivalries. You could have absolutely classic battles that the players and fans will want to revisit each season, and it will add little storylines when their teams play.
Now…there are a couple problems here, the initial one being “will they participate?” First of all, the next CBA should require them to. Until then, we don’t even think it’ll be an issue. Some points:
1) Make it a million dollar purse. If that seems excessive, then have it go to charity. Then they’ll be shamed into participating.
2) This would be a major, major pride point for the players if it’s presented and marketed correctly.
3) There is no excuse to not do it outside of injury. Who can’t play 4 games of one-on-one? And that’s only for the two finalists.
We’re going to be running this tournament via your votes every day leading up to All-Star Weekend, starting tomorrow. We’re sure we’re not the first to think of this, but now that we have a voice, we want to push it HARD. In fact, we’re sure someone in the NBA offices has thought of it in years past. But MAYBE – just maybe – if we all make enough noise, we can force them to look at it seriously.
For the record, we’d rather see this happen than have a threesome with Stacy Keibler and a 1999-model Britney Spears. We’ve done that a bunch of times and it’s super fun, so you know we’re serious. Round 1 starts tomorrow.