Commissioner Adam Silver knows there's frustration with the lack of effort in NBA All-Star Games. He also knows there's not much that can be done to fix it. Photo Credit: ESPN on ABC Commissioner Adam Silver discusses the NBA All-Star Game prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals. Photo Credit: ESPN on ABC

Prior to Game 3 of the NBA Finals, Commissioner Adam Silver joined ESPN’s NBA Countdown crew to talk about several things going on in the sport of basketball. One of the topics included the NBA All-Star Game.

Michael Wilbon asked Silver, “What can you do to fix the All-Star Game?” It’s a question Silver had been asked before, including, as he acknowledged, by Wilbon.

“I don’t want to overpromise,” Silver said. “Because I remember you asked me this last year and I said, ‘I got this.'”

The game has tried different formats over the years, most recently from 2018-2023, when captains chose the teams. But in 2024, it returned to its conventional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format. But regardless of format, the game is not particularly competitive. Little defense is played and the players rarely do much more than jog up and down the court.

Silver acknowledged that the motivation just isn’t there for the players, something that wouldn’t change even if another (discussed) format change occurs.

“Honestly, my concern about US vs. International is that we may be just past the point where guys and teams are incentivized to play a competitive All-Star Game in the middle of the season,” He said. “It’s just, you (Paul George) can speak to that, it’s the nature of the league…And I don’t think any of them set out thinking, ‘We’re just not gonna play hard.’ It’s just this sort of group dynamic that takes over.”

Silver also touted the three-point shootout between Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu on All-Star Saturday night in 2024, calling it “The highlight of All-Star Weekend.”

“So, my reaction is that maybe, we need to play basketball, we have to do something that’s a little bit different, frankly. That recognizes, this is about entertainment. That people want to see the players put their best foot forward. But it has to be something more than just a game, even if it were US vs. International. There’s just some governor on them from playing all out, just given how long the season is and the risk, potentially, of injury.”

[Photo Credit: ESPN on ABC]

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