USA vs. The World in the NBA All-Star Game? Not quite yet but "very, very possible"
This season's All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis will revert to a traditional East vs. West format, but the league has not ruled out further changes
Among the zillions of news items to circulate during the opening week of the NBA season, it was easy to miss the league’s announcement that the East vs. West format for the All-Star Game is coming back this February when Indianapolis hosts All-Star Weekend 2024.
The player draft? Gone.
Use of the Elam Ending to try to give the fourth quarter a jolt of competitiveness with a target score? Also gone.
It’s clear that some of the All-Star participants were not comfortable with the draft process, which last year in Salt Lake City featured Giannis Antetokounmpo’s unwittingly revealing selection of future Milwaukee Bucks teammate Damian Lillard with his first pick … and a chagrined Nikola Jokić assigning himself to LeBron James’ team to stick hometown favorite Lauri Markkanen with dreaded Last Player Drafted status.
I suspect many regular readers, knowing how closely I’ve covered the international game for decades, would expect me to advocate for a United States vs. The World format as the next experiment for the NBA to undertake. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum acknowledged earlier this month that “it is a concept that we’ve talked about” and something that is “very, very possible” down the road.