LOS ANGELES – For the first time in the 71-year history of the National Basketball Association, the NBA All-Star game will not be between the Eastern and Western Conference players.
The NBA and NBA Players Association announced a radical departure from the normal routine, so it is appropriate to host the game’s marquee event in the land of fantasy that is the City of Angels, ESPN stated.
With the revamped format, the NBA hopes to infuse excitement and intrigue into a game that had not been very high on competition in recent years. Gone are the days of Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas, the legendary Hall of Fame point guards who pushed the competition to its limits and created an awe-inspiring atmosphere that kept fans and TV viewers on the edge of their seats.
According to the NBA and NBAPA, the game will go down like this, as reported in NBA.com:
The game will take on a playground format, where two captains will draft the 2018 All-Star teams from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, making selections without regard for conference affiliation.
The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.
In another new feature, the 2018 All-Star teams will play for charity. Each team will select a Los Angeles-area charity or national organization where donations will be used to support local efforts.
The 67th All-Star Game will be played at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 18 (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). TNT will be televising the mid-season classic for the 16th consecutive year.
The process for selecting the 24 All-Stars will remain the same, with 12 players from each conference earning spots. The 10 starters – two guards and three frontcourt players per conference – will continue to be chosen by a combination of fans (50 percent of the vote), current players (25 percent) and basketball media (25 percent). The NBA’s head coaches will still select the 14 reserves, voting for two guards, three frontcourt players and two players at any position in their respective conferences. Specific details about the draft will be announced at a later date.
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” said NBPA President Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, according to NBA.com. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” added NBA President, League Operations Byron Spruell.
TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters and captains on Thursday, Jan. 18 and unveil the reserves on Tuesday, Jan. 23.
NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off on Monday, Dec. 25 before five Christmas Day games across ESPN, ABC and TNT.
The process for determining the 2018 All-Star Game head coaches is unchanged. The head coaches whose teams clinch the best record in their respective conferences two weeks before the All-Star Game will earn the nod, though the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr and the Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens are ineligible for the honor because they coached in the 2017 All-Star Game. Each All-Star Game coach will lead the team that includes the captain from the same conference.