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How to improve the NBA All-Star Game: An open letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

Published: March 05, 2017

Commissioner Silver:

The NBA All-Star game is in need of an update, as you are already aware. Some of the suggestions making their rounds on the internet include gimmicks that might add interest for a year or two, but in the long run, gimmicks will not motivate players to play harder.

According to Draymond Green, the only way to motivate the best players in the league to play harder is more money, and I agree, but not in the way you might think.

During the All-Star festivities in New Orleans, various NBA players (past and present) and celebrities teamed up to raise $500,000 for the Craig Sager Foundation. Each person on the court during that short segment tried as hard as they could to hit threes, half court shots and an eventual dunk.

You saw that brief glimpse of extreme effort for an important foundation. Imagine how much harder players would try during the All-Star game if they were playing for organizations about which they were passionate. If they knew real people were counting on them to play well.

The Solution

For the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center, I propose the following changes be made to improve the quality of play during the NBA All-Star game.

Invite each player to play for their charity of choice

Each player will be invited to represent a charity about which they are passionate. During the game, each player will have a special patch on their jersey (preferably over their hearts) to highlight their charity of choice.

Offer a monetary reward that will be split between each member of the winning team and donated to each winning player’s charity of choice

In addition to visibly highlighting a charity that is important to each player, each player will be playing for a bigger purpose. In addition to improving the quality of the game, this will prove the NBA truly Cares.

Give each quarter of the game an incentive and raise the stakes as the game progresses

For the first three-and-a-half quarters of the All-Star game, no one plays defense; however, the players tend to get more competitive in the final minutes because they want to win.

To recreate this throughout the entire game, it is imperative to add an incentive to each quarter of the game.
With the proposed format, there would be a fixed monetary amount that players could win to donate to their charities; however, this amount would be broken down into five parts. The first four would be allotted in increasing amounts to the team that scored the most points during each quarter. The final portion would be allotted to the eventual winner of the game.

As an example based on this year’s All-Star game box score, we will say there is a total of $4,000,000 available to donate to charity.

Quarter 1: East 53 West 48

The East would win $125,000 to split between teammates to donate to their charities

Quarter 2: East 39 West 49

The West would win $250,000 to split between teammates to donate to their charities

Quarter 3: East 47 West 47

The team that won the quarter would win $625,000 to split between teammates to donate to their charities.

In this scenario, there are two things that could happen. The amount could be split between both teams, or the amount could be added to the final score total.

Quarter 4: East 43 West 48

The West would win $1,000,000 to split between teammates to donate to their charities

Final: East 182 West 192

The West would win an additional $2,000,000 to split between teammates to donate to their charities

Why award the donations by points per quarter instead of total score?

The reason behind the decision to award donations by point per quarter is to ensure the whole game is competitive. If one team were to get a big lead, the opposing team might have little hope of a comeback and the quality of play might decrease.

By alloting donations in this manner, we can ensure that both teams have a fresh start each quarter and are still given an opportunity to raise money for their charities.

It is important to note that the points scored during each quarter will still be totaled, and the team with the most points at the end will win an additional donation.

My proposal to improve the NBA All-Star Game

I might not be an expert, but I am an NBA fan, and I would love to see a more competitive NBA All-Star game.

By making the changes in this proposal, I believe we can improve the quality of the game by giving the best basketball players in the world an opportunity to play for something bigger than basketball.

I know you have the best interest of the league in mind, and I hope that my proposal might help you to create the best plan for future NBA All-Star events.

Best regards,

Alexander Rupp