Am I just old or is All-Star Weekend unwatchable?

2024 NBA All-Star - State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
2024 NBA All-Star - State Farm All-Star Saturday Night / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

NBA All-Star Weekend is rolling along and for the first time in a while, I haven’t watched any of it. 

As a fan of the Detroit Pistons, it’s been nice to get away from hoops for a few days. The players aren’t the only ones who need to re-energize for the homestretch of what has been a tough season. 

Maybe I’m just old, but the All-Star Weekend has lost all appeal, a devolution that has been happening over the last decade or more, as the events went from things we had to watch to things that are barely worth a 10-second highlight reel. 

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Maybe events like the Skills Challenge and the Slam Dunk Contest are aimed at a younger demographic, and if this is just me being grumpy, I am perfectly willing to accept that it’s me. If you enjoy All-Star Weekend, that’s great, I’m trying to yuck anyone's yum as they say, but for me (and I would guess many like me), it’s already been ruined. 

The 3-Point Contest 

For me, this has always been the best event and it probably still is. Having Stephen Curry go head-to-head with Sabrina Ionescu was a cool wrinkle this year that added some excitment. But that wasn’t good enough, as the NBA had to add some kind of neon floor (I saw the highlights) because just about everything the NBA has done of late has pandered to people who care more about that stuff than the actual basketball. 

From kneeling to gamblers, to adding some sort of dystopian AI function to games, the NBA has done little to appease fans who actually like to watch basketball. You know, the ones who pay for League Pass, the ones who go to games, the ones who pay the bills. Instead we’ve been hit with a barrage to the senses. Going to an NBA game these days is to be assaulted by noise and flashing lights, signs that demand you GET LOUD regardless of the context and more branding than a NASCAR jumpsuit. While the NBA is working out horrific new courts to unveil and how to incorporate AI into the viewing experience, fans are left wondering if they can just watch their home team without a blackout.

What was I talking about again? Ah yes, the 3-point contest. At least some of the big names still participate in this, which is why it remains the only watchable event in what is otherwise a snooze-fest. Can’t wait until next year when the NBA allows fans to put an AI version of Damian Lillard as The Penguin on the floor or has the players shoot from glow in the dark hoverboards or something. 

On a side note: Kenny Smith is a moron. 

The Slam Dunk Contest 

Speaking of things that make an old man want to nap: Your 2024 Slam Dunk Contest, folks! What was once the signature event of the weekend has turned into an unwatchable mess. 

Some of it is just that we’ve seen every dunk at this point, so players have to resort to cheesy props that just keep getting worse.

Some of it is that I’ve never heard of half of the players who are in it. We went from Jordan vs. Dominique to G-League players, rookies and YouTube hoopers who usually miss 3-4 dunks before completing one, taking all element of suspense and surprise out of the event.

It’s simply horrible and I am not sure what they can do to save it other than convince some players that casual fans have actually heard of to take part. Good on Jaylen Brown for doing it this year, but did I really see him jump over some dude sitting in a chair? Bring back Spud Webb already. 

As great as the athletes are now, you’d think putting together a dunk contest would be easy. You'd be wrong. 

The rest of the events hold about as much appeal as an old episode of American Gladiators, which would actually be better. I’d rather see Victor Wembanyama try to dodge a tennis ball cannon than whatever the Skills Challenge is. 

As for the game itself, there’s little difference between that and a regular-season game between the Kings and Bucks, as players just run up and down the floor without playing any defense. There’s little intensity until the last five minutes, and the constantly changing format hasn’t done them any favors. Just make it East vs West forever and leave it. 

Maybe I’m just jaded because my team hasn’t had a meaningful part in All-Star Weekend since The Blake Griffin Season, or maybe I just didn’t want to spend a rare weekend off feeling like I am in an episode of Black Mirror where the ads and product placement flash in the periphery of everything I am seeing.

Or maybe I’m just old. 

What was I saying? I’m going to go yell at clouds now.