NBA All-Star weekend is a staple of February. It fills the sports void the NFL leaves behind. After all the confetti has been cleaned up and we get our Sundays back, the NBA begins to take over.
Over the past few years, the NBA has tried to mix up its All-Star game festivities. We've experienced H-O-R-S-E, obstacle courses, shooting games involving the WNBA and former NBA players, celebrity games and rising star games.
But, I think it's time for some new ideas. Adam Silver is a forward-thinking guy, so why not mix up the weekend to make it more fun? Here are some ideas that should seriously be considered:
No More Conferences
The balance of power in the NBA is heavily weighted on the Western Conference. It's so bad right now that Adam Silver is thinking about having the top 16 teams make the playoffs -- conferences be damned.
The same should be said about the All-Star selections. The game has zero repercussions, and there's no home court advantage. It's just a showcase.
If it's just a showcase, then maybe the league should showcase the greatest talent the NBA has, no matter from which conference that talent comes.
Here's how it should go down: A fan vote decides the first 16 players in the All-Star game, then the coaches and players select another eight players, which gives us 24 players that show up on All-Star weekend.
The two players who have been selected to the most All-Star games become the two captains, and they pick the teams with some help from the coaches.
This is how the entire skills night should start. Once a player is picked, he is given a jersey and competes in some of the skills contests.
This would generate some animosity in the league and maybe some fun little rivalries over the second half of the year.
I'm sure Damian Lillard would find a way to put another chip on his shoulder if he wasn't the top pick, too. It's always fun when he gets pissed and finds creative ways to demonstrate he's upset.
Once the teams are selected, they need to quickly decide who should be competing in each contest. (Yes, All-Stars only in the competitions. I'm looking at you, LeBron.)
Gambling in the Three-Point Shootout
Adam Silver has spoken about gambling in the NBA and the federal regulations that hinder it from happening.
Well, let's bring it to All-Star weekend! The three-point shootout is the perfect place to start. It would go exactly as it has always gone: Players would make as many threes as possible, and the top two would go to the finals.
However, the finals would be a little different. In my version, each player would get to make a wager against his opponent, and his opponent could raise him or challenge him.
Stephen Curry: "I bet you can't earn 20 points."
Klay Thompson: "I bet you can't make 19 points, Steph."
SC: "I bet you can't make it to 18 points."
Klay: "I accept your challenge."
Then, Klay Thompson would shoot his five racks of balls trying to reach 18 points.
If he doesn't reach 18, Curry gets two extra seconds per point Klay Thompson was under 18 (in other words, if Thompson made it to 15 points, Curry would get an extra six seconds to shoot his five racks — a big advantage).
If Klay Thompson goes over 18 points, Curry would lose two seconds per point he went over. This would be a fun twist on the “grab and shoot” aspect of the contest.
In the final round, each player gets to move one of his opponent's racks to somewhere else along the arc.
I would love to see Wesley Matthews pull up Kyle Korver's shot chart on NBA.com and see the look of horror on his face when he realizes the guy doesn't miss from anywhere in the Land of Three.
The classic playground game should make an appearance at The Barclays Center this weekend. It's a no-brainer.
The NBA could extend the game to the three-point line if it wanted to make it more interesting.
Use GoPro Cameras as Much as Possible
A few weeks back, an NHL video was being circulated, which featured some of the best players in the sport with Go-Pro cameras on. It is beautifully shot and a lot of fun to watch.
This is something the NBA should use, too. Wouldn't it be cool to be along for the ride as Steph Curry travels around the arc in the three-point shootout, or while Zach LaVine soars through the air, or when Damian Lillard runs through the skills challenge?
This feels like something that would extend the weekend into the following week. The NBA could release pieces of All-Star weekend from the perspective of its All-Stars.
We could even put one on Kevin Hart during the celebrity game just so we can truly understand how small he really is.
Dunks of Yesteryear
A lot of people talk about how bad the dunk contest is, comparing it to the glory days when superstars, like Vince Carter, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan, participated.
Why can't we relive those days with a little bit of creativity?
What if each round required each player to complete two dunks? One dunk would be something the player dreamed up; however, the second dunk must be something from the past.
The player would pick the dunk out of a hat, watch the dunk on the Jumbotron, and then, he'd have one minute to imitate the dunk to the best of his ability.
You could make it a little easier on the player by having a few different hats with different themed dunks. One hat would be “windmills;” another would be “distance;” another could be “one hand” or “two hand.” You could also do hats by decade.
The possibilities are endless.
What would you like to see changed during All-Star weekend?