In the weeks leading up to the 2020 All-Star Game, the NBA decided to make some significant changes to the format. These changes were done to honor former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant shortly after his tragic passing last month. The alterations to the event had an immediate on the competition to the contest that led to it being one of the most entertaining games in recent memory. Here’s what the new format brought to the table for the 2020 All-Star Game.
2020 All-Star Game format
In the weeks that have passed since Bryant‘s passing, the NBA has taken many different actions to honor the future first-ballot Hall of Famer.
One of those was an alteration to the All-Star Game format. Beyond the special tributes to both Bryant and his daughter Gianna by each team wearing their respective numbers, the NBA changed up the entire setup.
That saw each of the first three quarters feature $100,000 on the line for a selected charity for both sides. The score will accumulate throughout the first three periods, but it will reset to zero for each one. The fourth quarter had no time as the team with the higher score plus 24 points were the benchmark of the point total that needs to be reached to win the game.
On top of that, the winning team will receive $200,000 towards their desired charity. All of these changes put some significant added incentives to play for on each side.
New format, more intensity
One of the overlying issues that any All-Star Game has any sport is the lack of real competition on the court. It’s typically viewed as being a light-hearted game where players show off their tremendous skills on the floor.
Over the years, the NBA’s All-Star Game had trended more significantly in that direction, with defense becoming even more optional between both sides to avoid injuries and open the door to more exciting plays on the floor.
However, the decision to go the route of essentially making it a showdown in each quarter ramped up the intensity. It also helped that each team was vying for $100,000 to the charity that they have selected for the competition. That saw teams take methodical approaches to each of the first three quarters.
It even saw the use of timeouts in the final moments of the third quarter that wound up being a tie. Meanwhile, the decision to give a target final point total and no time limit helped ramp up the intensity of the game as both sides buckled down in the fourth quarter. It also helped that in department that the MVP award was named after Bryant, which made it an even more prestigious honor.
All of that made for a thrilling finish between both squads that drew much praise from fans and players alike on various social media platforms.
Will the new All-Star Game format stay?
The NBA’s decision to change the All-Star Game format was questioned in the days ahead of the event. But it more than delivered with a level of competition that hadn’t been there for years.
It may have been another high-scoring event, but the intensity between both sides was quite entertaining to watch throughout the contest. That is the entire purpose of the game to see the world’s best basketball players go head-to-head in a highly competitive manner, and that’s what the changes brought forth.
At this point, there is no clarity if the NBA will permanently stay with the new format, but the league may have found something that could change the All-Star Game forever. Especially in the way that Bryant would have wanted with competition at the core of it all.