NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that the league was considering changes that would bring back the East/West format for the league’s annual All-Star Game. Instead of a game between the conferences, the event has been contested with star team captains since 2018, one of several efforts to make the game more interesting to viewers.

“We’re looking at some potential changes in format in Indianapolis this year,” Silver said about the 2024 All-Star Game on ESPN’s First Take Wednesday. “Maybe a return to something more traditional in terms of how the teams are presented. We went to sort of this captain and draft notion, but clearly, historically it was East vs. West. So that’s maybe something we are looking at.”

The return to tradition Silver referred to first began in 1951, when the first All-Star Game officially took place between the best players from the East and West Conference. The format remained largely unchanged until 2017. In the new captain format, LeBron James has perennially served as one of the team leaders and played against one of either Steph Curry, Kevin Durant or Giannis Antetokounmpo. Ratings reached an all-time low in 2023.

“The All-Star Weekend is quite a spectacle,” Silver said. “I’m always sort of laughing because before the game even starts on Sunday afternoon, people are saying, ‘This is the best ever!’ And I’m like, ‘We’ll, we’ve got this game.’ I’ll take some fault for that because when you’re there this year in Indianapolis, beginning essentially Thursday night and then through Sunday, I think it’s an opportunity for this whole global basketball community to come together. Great legends of the game. Not just the All-Stars, but lots of players. I don’t know how it works in other sports, but we have dozens and dozens of players in the league who choose to come to All-Star Weekend for the activities for various events who aren’t even All-Stars. So I think we’ve lost sight a bit that it’s about the game at the end of the day.”

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The NBA is not the only league that has struggled to entice viewers for its All-Star Game in recent years. The NFL’s Pro Bowl has suffered to such an extent that officials are considering overhauling the entire event, while the NHL has implemented more skills contests to improve the quality of the event.

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