The NBA is considering playing an All-Star Game in Atlanta in March.
At that point, why not also hold the best events of All-Star Weekend – the dunk and 3-point contests?
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
Talks are ongoing for the full scope of what a revised All-Star 2021 would entail, but momentum was clearly building last week for an All-Star Game to take place in Atlanta — home to the TV rightsholder Turner Sports — that would require participants to be there March 6-7
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) February 1, 2021
I’m not sure whether the NBA should hold an All-Star game.
It would be a glitzy event to put on television (i.e., produce revenue). It’s only one more game, and the NBA has successfully played a large majority of its games as scheduled this season.
But a coronavirus outbreak at All-Star would devastate the league. Even if unlikely, the downside – multiple top players getting coronavirus – is enormous.
On the other hand, NBA players have seemingly contracted coronavirus at higher rates when away from their teams. Putting stars into the structure of the All-Star game might actually keep them safer.
It’s a legitimately difficult decision.
By comparison, dunk and 3-point contests are easy calls.
The dunk and 3-point contests can even be done while physically distancing. Not faux distancing. Actual distancing. Competitors needn’t ever get within six – or even 60 – feet of each other. That’s not true of a 5-on-5 basketball game.
Plus, the dunk and 3-point contests are consistently more entertaining than the All-Star game. Those contests require only short bursts of focus and energy – perfect for All-Star. A full game requires too much effort, and players too often drift through the exhibition.
This discussion is backward. The league should schedule dunk and 3-point contests then decide whether to add an All-Star game to the festivities.