All-Star Weekend is getting kinda boring, to be totally honest. Sure, the new format for the Rising Stars Challenge makes it moderately more interesting to watch, but it's still an exhibition game with no real stakes. All-Star Saturday Night is filled with events that no one really cares about and then the generally disappointing Dunk Contest. Outside of the actual All-Star Game itself, things are getting a little stale, and even that's not really all that exciting.
We can do better. We, the Fear the Sword community, can come up with better events than the Skills Challenge, Shooting Stars, and that awful "Celebrity" Game. We can make All-Star Weekend better. We can also do so in a manner that stacks the decks in the favor of our favorite Cleveland Cavaliers so we can watch a few more of them during the weekend's festitivities.
The NEW All-Star Friday Night
The NBA probably loves the Celebrity Game because they think it's an opportunity to get new audiences watching the league. Problem is, the Celebrity Game sucks and will forever suck. I know it's well-worn territory by this point, but seriously, who the hell are 2/3 of the people in this event this year? I didn't even know that Grey's Anatomy was still on the air and yet, one of our "celebrities" this year is a dude from Grey's Anatomy. The Celebrity Game clearly needs to go, but what should replace it?
NBA Pokemon Battles. Bear with me for a second here, but this could work. Instead of trotting out a bunch of has-beens and reality TV stars, the NBA could just buy a Nintendo 64 and Pokemon Stadium and recruit some of the league's nerdiest players to duke it out in virtual battles. Everyone loves Pokemon, that's a fact. No one loves Nick Cannon, which is another fact. This is clearly a win-win for the league. Better yet, I'm sure it'll help the Cavs. I'm willing to bet you $20 that Tyler Zeller has caught 'em all. Don't you want to see Tyler Zeller riding out into battle on the wings of his Charizard to battle it out against his brother Cody and his Gyrados? Don't you want to see CJ Miles and Russell Westbrook locked in mortal Pokemon combat? Hell yeah you do. This is a no-brainer.
That brings us to the topic of the Rising Stars Challenge. The game itself isn't all that bad, but it could use a little spicing up. That's why I'm suggesting a few mini challenges that can occur during breaks in the game.
First of all, there needs to be a dance contest. Get CJ Miles in there to cut a rug and everyone will be happy for obvious reasons. Do this in between the first and second quarters to get things rolling.
Secondly, I've always loved that old bit on Inside the NBA where they made Chuck guess who's on the roster of terrible teams that he obviously doesn't care about. We can bring that game back and take it a step further by taking everyone from this year's draft class that didn't make the Rising Stars Challenge and have Chuck guess who they are. Sure, he'd probably recognize Anthony Bennett, but think he could recognize Carrick Felix or Sergey Karasev? Hell, I'm pretty sure I don't even know what those two look like. It'd be a good time. The Cavs would have that one in the bag.
Finally, let's get Delly out there in between the third and fourth quarters to do an animal show while dressed up like Steve Irwin. Why not?
The NEW All-Star Saturday Night
Say goodbye to Shooting Stars. Why that event continues to exist is beyond me, but it needs to go. In it's place, I suggest an event for the big men of the league. After having the center position dropped from the All-Star Game ballot, too few big men in the league are getting the recognition they deserve. To remedy that, I'm suggesting a Big Man Skill's Challenge to dove-tail with the already existing Skills Challenge that point guards participate in. Obviously, the skills here would be a little different:
- Big-Man Three Pointers. Every now and then we'll hear reports that someone like Tristan Thompson has been working on his three point range in practice, so let's see it. Hell, drag Andrew Bynum there from Indiana and let's watch him chuck up crappy shots from all over the place for old times sake. Maybe we can even get Mike Brown to flip out from the sideline while this is happening because why the hell not? I'd laugh.
- The Offensive Foul Gauntlet. You know how the current Skills Challenge has that thing where agile point guards dribble in between dummies? Yeah, this will be like that, only the exact opposite and way more fun. Instead of dribbling around or in between them, I want to see these guys barrel through them with reckless abandon. Set up like six defender dummies and let's see if Tyler Zeller can charge through them all. Dude will be riding high on the wake of his Pokemon victory the previous night, so he'll be running on adrenaline. He could do it.
- Under the Rim Dunk. You know how the current Skills Challenge ends with the point guards laying the ball up? That's boring. This would end with the big guys way too far under the rim and having to finish anyway. Tristan Thompson's got a lot of experience doing that, doesn't he? *rimshot*
With Shooting Stars gone, I think the Skills Challenge can remain as is, only I want to see Jarrett Jack inserted into the lineup, because that may be the only way we can actually discover if he's physically capable of passing the ball or not. There's also a really obvious joke here about a Blown-Dunk Contest and Anthony Bennett, but I'll refrain from making it for all of our sakes.
So what have I missed? Are there any other tweaks you'd make to All-Star Weekend? How can we make this better/get more of our favorite Cavaliers involved?