The change — thought of during an episode of Boardroom’s The ETCs in January 2022 — is the NBA’s newest idea to help draw eyes to NBA All-Star Weekend.
The league ditched the East vs. West rosters back in 2018, highlighted by captain-chosen rosters instead of the traditional format. Since then, captains for each respective team drafted players during a pregame special televised on TNT.
On Thursday, the NBA and NBPA announced that team captains in 2023 — presumably LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and/or Giannis Antetokounmpo — will draft their rosters shortly before the game begins in Salt Lake City on Feb. 19.
Speaking of KD — he and Eddie “Bansky” Gonzalez discussed the potential of this idea on The ETCs back in January 2022.
“It would be fire if we picked like right before the game. In the locker room, ‘alright let me get him and him,'” Durant said. “Have the jerseys ready, have everything ready,” Eddie mentioned how the NBA is missing opportunities with the NBA being able to capitalize on selling jerseys for each side and so forth.
“That would be so fire, man. You got two jerseys, we’ll throw all of them in the market, got two pairs of shoes for both and y’all just pick the teams before. … We giving the NBA ideas for free on The ETCs.”
Either KD and Eddie are clairvoyant or the Association actually listened. Maybe both.
The fact is, the NBA has been no stranger to changing things up in the past during All-Star Weekend and this is its latest plug-in. Over the course of the years, the league has tried a HORSE challenge and switched the ASG to an Elam Ending — just to name a couple. On Jan. 13, Shams Charania reported that Mac McClung of the Delaware Blue Coats will become the first G League player to participate in an NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Not for nothing, but All-Star Weekend needed to add some flair to the product. The 2022 Dunk Contest was an atrocity, and viewership numbers (6.28M) were the second-lowest over the past 22 years. Despite small upticks here and there, ratings have dropped dramatically from the ’90s and early 2000s.
This specific instance isn’t anything overly dramatic, but it’s something to generate excitement around the event. Captains and starters will be named before Knicks-Celtics tips off at 7:30 p.m. ET, and reserves will be unveiled on TNT’s pregame telecast on Feb. 2.
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