The electrifying pace and sheer excitement of the game of basketball never fail to captivate fans worldwide. Among the few events that truly leave spectators on the edge of their seats, the NBA All-Star weekend stands out as a pinnacle, showcasing the crème de la crème of the league's talent.
Reflecting on the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's remarkable record of 19 NBA All-Star Game appearances, and with LeBron James poised to surpass that milestone as the first player to start and play in the All-Star game 20 consecutive times, the memories of Kyle Korver's inclusion in 2015, where he shot a jaw-dropping 75 percent from beyond the arc, evoke a sense of awe and wonder surrounding the NBA All-Star event.
Since its inception in 1951, the NBA All-Star Game has consistently delivered an extraordinary spectacle, drawing adoration from basketball aficionados. However, there is an incessant call that lingers, a demand to expand the NBA All-Star game roster. This clamor holds merit when we examine the game's origins—a time when each roster comprised only 10 players. Considering that there were 11 teams in the league at that point, and teams were required to reduce their roster size to 10 before the All-Star Game, a mere 20 out of 110 players had the honor of participating in the inaugural All-Star Game. In other words, a meager 18% of the league's players were deemed worthy of gracing this illustrious event.
As basketball evolved over the years, the number of players selected for the All-Star Game dwindled relative to the league's expanding size. Presently, from a mathematical standpoint, it is nearly four times as challenging to secure a spot in the All-Star Game as it was during the game's inception. Consequently, newly drafted players face significantly fewer opportunities to partake in this prestigious affair.
The overarching purpose of the All-Star Game has always been to celebrate the league's finest talent. With the NBA expanding at an exponential rate, team rosters are now brimming with exceptional players. However, the All-Star game has failed to adjust and accommodate this surge in talent. In stark contrast, the NFL's equivalent of the NBA All-Star Game, the Pro Bowl, has undergone numerous adjustments and modifications to align with contemporary NFL standards.
Perhaps it is time to rectify this "injustice" and expand the All-Star rosters from 12 players to 15 players—a shrewd move indeed. Another idea gaining traction is transforming the All-Star event into a four-team affair, with 15 players on each roster. This format would provide a fair chance for players who have unjustly missed out on previous selections. While some argue that the smaller number of selections amplifies the honor, it is worth considering the financial benefits that the NBA could reap from an expanded All-Star game. A four-team knockout All-Star fixture is an idea that would undoubtedly thrill the entire NBA universe.
It must be acknowledged that the NBA currently boasts a talent pool broader than ever before. In 1951, all 20 All-Stars were born in the United States, with 75% hailing from just six states: New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Kentucky, and Illinois. In contrast, the landscape in 2023 has changed, with players born outside of the United States also making their mark. Furthermore, players today develop at an accelerated pace, extending their careers beyond projected retirement years. The youngest All-Stars in 1951, Dolph Schayes, Paul Arizin, Ed Macauley, and Bob Cousy, were 22 years old. In 2021, Zion Williamson (20) and Luka Don.
Fast forward to 2023, and it appears names like James Harden (who is averaging 21 points and 11 assists in the 76ers- currently the 3rd best team in the Eastern Conference), Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors), Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, and Anthony Edwards of Minnesota Timberwolves are the biggest snubs of this year’s edition.
Fans bases across the globe are upset about their favorite players missing out and many are of the opinion that if the game is truly for the fans, as is often said, then allowing more of their favorite players to participate would probably be a smart way of engaging them. That way star performing players can get the recognition they deserve and give fans more ways to enjoy the game when they can bet on their favourites.
The all-star roster may not be expanded yet but you can still bet on the best 20 all-stars.