What can be done to make NBA All-Star game better?

Four Corners

February 11, 2010

Raise financial reward
Josh Robbins

Orlando Sentinel

Give the players a bigger financial incentive to win.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the players states that participants from the winning conference will receive $35,000 apiece, while players from the losing team will receive $15,000 apiece. Think multimillionaires really care about the $20,000 difference? No way.

Instead, give the winning team's players $150,000 each and award an additional $150,000 to each player's favorite charity. Make it a win-win for the league by publicizing those six-figure charitable donations andask your network partners to do brief segments on why the players have picked certain non-profits.

But whatever happens, don't base home-court advantage in the NBA Finals on the outcome of the game. The Finals team with the better regular-season record deserves that reward.

josh.robbins@tribune.com

Monday makes sense
Ira Winderman

Sun Sentinel

Move the game to Monday night and make it part of an entire week off for the league.

If you haven't noticed, the league is exhausted, players are banged up, teams literally limping into the break. What the league needs is enough time to refresh teams for the balance of the season.

Also, by stopping from say Friday through the following Thursday, it would mean players would not have to play through the final hours before the trading deadline. Instead, teams could return intact, with deals already consummated.

As for when the game is played, the biggest sports story on Sunday will not be the NBA All-Star game, even with its massive attendance. It will be the Daytona 500. On Monday night, the league would have the canvas to itself.

iwinderman@tribune.com

Let legends play
Ben Bolch

Los Angeles Times

Dr. J and Larry Bird go one-on-one, anyone? In 2010?

Imagine if the East and West All-Star teams each added one NBA legend to their rosters and carved out a five-minute portion of the game to put in the likes of Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. Patrick Ewing could take on Hakeem Olajuwon one more time. Robert Parish might even have devised a way to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's famed sky hook by now.

Of course, there would have to be some restrictions. Bill Sharman's jump shot isn't what it was 50 years ago. So institute an age limit of, say, 50. And only let the legends make a cameo appearance, maybe during the last five minutes of the second quarter to give the crowd a charge during an otherwise dull part of thegame.

It's still Kobe and LeBron's show, after all.

bbolch@tribune.com

Leave well enough alone
K.C. Johnson

Chicago Tribune

What can be done to make the NBA All-Star game more interesting?

Absolutely nothing.

Putting home-court advantage for the NBA Finals at stake diminishes the importance of those gut-check road victories in the dog days of January.

Ticket prices are high enough, so taking the starters' voting away from fans is wrong. Who cares if it's sloppy?

The game is a dunk-filled, behind-the-back-pass-packed exhibition - and should remain so.

kcjohnson@tribune.com


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