Dan Le Batard Show NBA All-Star The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz

The fallout from the 2024 NBA All-Star Game has largely consisted of a chorus of media members complaining about the state of the event.

But on Tuesday, Dan Le Batard took the brave stance of defending the annual exhibition — kind of.

“I would like to point out to the audience that the All-Star Game — whichever All-Star Game you prefer — only exists because during the time of three channels in America, where your sports teams could only be seen nationally on the occasional Saturday, before cable television, it was a big deal to have all the stars gathered in one place for a game,” Le Batard said on Tuesday’s episode of The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. “But now we see them all the time everywhere, all over your social media. Every night in the league, our attention span has changed. It’s no longer the time of Bird and Magic. You need 10 things — the All-Star Game can be one of them.

“It’s not a special thing anymore. They don’t have to get rid of it because the guys don’t care. They shouldn’t care about it anymore. It’s an artifact from a bygone age. It’s not needed anymore. It’s just getting in the way of the rest they’d like in the middle of the season.”

To Le Batard’s point, the first NBA All-Star Game was played in 1951, at a time in which the league’s media exposure and relationship with its fanbase were vastly different than what they are now. In the time since, the increased prominence of cable television and products such as NBA League Pass — let alone the internet and social media — have resulted in fans have drastically more access to the league and its top players than ever before, thus lessening the uniqueness of an event like the All-Star Game.

Does that mean the All-Star Game — be it the NBA’s or otherwise — can’t be improved? Of course not. And a competitive contest is always preferable to one that’s lacking in effort.

But the idea that the NBA’s star players not going all out in what amounts to an exhibition game for promotional purposes is some sort of affront to the history of the league? That seems to miss the point of what the All-Star Game is actually all about in the first place.

[The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.