ASG: What’s The Point of All The Points?
February 16th, 2015 by Justin Thomas
In last night’s 2015 NBA All-Star Game from Madison Square Garden, the Western Conference All-Stars defeated the Eastern Conference All-Stars in a respectably low-scoring 163-158 contest. This was the highest scoring ASG in NBA history.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook received the ASG MVP award for his 41-point effort for the West, just one point shy of tying the all-time ASG record set by Wilt Chamberlin of 42 points.
This game featured everything from 3-pointers to dunks to more dunks to a rare appearance on the court from Carmelo Anthony (a tease for Knicks fans everywhere). The game has absolutely no meaning and purpose other than good fun through an offensive showcase. Nobody really cares to see any sort of defense or meaning in a game, right?
Well, here’s the thing: it’s all fun and games until people get bored by the fun and games. As cool as it is to see some of the game’s brightest stars put on a scoring clinic, the game is still lacking that something that keeps the fans glued to their screens.
The 2015 NBA ASG was outdone by another major television event happening right down the street. Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary Special nearly tripled the ASG’s household viewership rating, drawing in a 14.2 household rating as opposed to the ASG’s 5.5. The 14.2 rating translates to about 23.1 million live viewers.
As a lifelong fan of SNL, I understand the appeal, as I was drawn to that as well, merely flipping back to the ASG during commercial breaks. This begs the question, what is the point of all those points? If the highest scoring ASG in NBA history can’t bring in 10 million live viewers, then the NBA has a problem within their ASG formula.
I’m not sure I know what the full solution is, but I know it needs to start with adding some sort of incentive to the game. For the MLB ASG, the winning team between the American League and National League assures home-field advantage for the World Series for their League’s representative.
I don’t know that I would go that far with it, but some sort of incentive needs to be added. Right now, the general population’s opinion of the NBA ASG is that it’s just one giant highlight reel with no defense, and if they want to see that, they’ll just watch the best clips the next day on SportsCenter.