The NBA wrapped up its 2023-24 All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis with the 73rd edition of the All-Star game. Though it was the highest-scoring contest in history, with the East beating the West 211-186, it was marked again by minimal effort by players and a now-famous lack of defense. Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard won the All-Star Game MVP award after finishing with 39 points on 11 made three-pointers for the East.

“And to the Eastern Conference All-Stars, you scored the most points,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said after the game. “Well … congratulations.”

Silver had high expectations that the game would differ from those in the past and offer fans something they hadn’t seen in recent years. Despite his hopes, his sarcastic comments after the game seem to mirror fans’ and players’ thoughts.

“I think it’s something we need to figure out,” Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said. “Obviously from a player’s perspective, it’s fun to get up and down. But at the end of the day, our competitive nature don’t like to have free-flowing scoring like that.”

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The All-Star Game and weekend as a whole have been an issue for the NBA for many years, but the league has done little compared to others to change that. The NFL, NHL and MLB have all restructured their All-Star events to cater to fans and to minimize the lack of effort seen in Indianapolis over the weekend. Silver and the NBA have made groundbreaking changes with the introduction of the Play-In Tournament which is unseen in any other major American sports, but are still looking to fix their All-Star Weekend.

“For me, it’s an All-Star Game, so I will never look at it as being super competitive,” Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards said. “It’s always fun. I don’t know what they can do to make it more competitive. I don’t know. I think everyone looks at it … it’s a break, so I don’t think everyone wants to come here and compete.”

Despite the fact that the events are intended to showcase the league’s best talent, the NBA All-Star Game and its lack of competition continue to be an issue.

Along with the fact that the game doesn’t hold any true meaning, players also don’t want to risk an injury, and would rather play safer and less competitive than normal. Fans also experience the downsides of the All-Star weekend as despite paying hundreds of dollars for a ticket to see the best players in the world, they end up just watching a glorified shoot-around. The game over the weekend was also the first since 2020 without an Elam Ending, a final target score that the team’s need to reach, which provided exciting endings in recent years.

“Hopefully, as years go on, [the All-Star Game] gets back to being what the fans wanna see … I guess guys are trying to figure out how to play hard and be safe at the same time,” Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown said after the game.

The 2024 All-Star Game was the first NBA game to see a team reach 200 points, but regardless of the record it seems as though changes to create a more competitive game need to be made. The NBA has yet to announce if any changes will be made to their next All-Star Weekend, which will take place at the Chase Center in San Fransisco in 2025.

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