Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ranking the pro sports all-star games

For too many years and with too little reason, All-Star games have been a part of the professional sports landscape. They really don't mean anything, though baseball has now attached home-field advantage in the World Series to the outcome of its summer showcase. Otherwise, All-Star games tend to meaningless exercises in selling commercial time on television.

With the NBA's All-Star weekend approaching, here's one view of how the extravaganzas rank with the caveat that almost every sport would be better off without one.

5. The NFL Pro Bowl. It's almost as bad as the uniforms the players are forced to wear. It comes after the season has ended, managing to further dilute a meaningless game. The best that can be said for it is that it's been played in Hawaii so the players get that treat. Now, even that's about to change.

4. The NHL All-Star Game. I've heard there's such a thing but have found no evidence it exists.

3. The NBA All-Star Game. It was a sweet moment when Magic Johnson came back and played after his AIDS admission years ago. Otherwise, it's less filling than cotton candy. And the dunk contest, please….

2. The Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Maybe baseball just lends itself better to an All-Star game, even if Bud Selig calls them a draw when it gets late. It's worth watching, at least the early innings when the starters are playing. And if they want to give the winning league home-field advantage in the World Series, well, at least they're playing for something.

1. The Nextel All-Star Race. It's the best race on the circuit, even if it doesn't count in the points race. Something unusual always seems to happen and, except for the pre-race introductions, it doesn’t take all night to complete. It's relatively short, to the point and usually fun. Even when Mark Martin wins.

-- Ron Green Jr.


Caniac Jack said...

Why do Observer reporters take great sport in throwing jabs at the NHL? The NHL owns the NBA in terms of excitement, passionate fans, effort by players night in night out, and this year in attendance figures. I would rather go to a Hurricanes game than the Bobcats, Panthers, or NASCAR. It's more fun than all three put together. Get a clue.

Anonymous said...

jack seriously it's hockey...not the nfl. Move to canada if you want to hear people praise the lame game of hockey. It's pretty much on the same level as Major League Soccer. Garbage. Get a clue man

Anonymous said...

The NBA is definitly the worst all-star weekend ever there skills challenge is a joke. I rather watch the NHL over the NBA any day.

Anonymous said...

The MLB all-star game is almost as bad at the Pro Bowl! The fact that the winning league gets homefield advantage in the World Series is the biggest joke in sports. Also, it's not even watchable after the starters are taken out after 4 or 5 innings.

The NBA all-star game on the other hand is an entire weekend of festivities. Sure, some of them are goofy and lame, like the celebrity game and the skills challenge, but the 3-point contest is always good to watch and the dunk contest has started to regain it's excitement over the past year or 2 b/c the players have began to have more fun with it and be a little more creative. The game itself is more of a pickup game and highlight reel, but it's still a lot more fun to watch than the MLB or NFL's so-called all-star games.

Anonymous said...

Hockey? What's hockey? Ok, I know what's hockey but wow I really couldn't care a less about it. I can't even see the puck. And if you are going to argue that hockey is ahead of basketball in attendance figures (last I heard they were tied) you should also add that the NBA kills the NHL when it comes to tv ratings. Compare the NBA Finals with the hockey finals or the NBA ASG with the hockey ASG and it's not even remotely close. And same goes with the regular season. Not to mention that last year the NBA Finals beat the World Series in tv ratings. When your beloved hockey will do the same then we can talk.

As far as hockey fans being more passionate than bball fans that's ridiculous. Every sport has its fair share of passionate fans. And, in fact, I'm a passionate basketball fan. Same goes with most of my friends.So I really don't know what you are talking about. Sounds like sour grapes to me

As far the all-star game, I'd take the NBA All-Star Weekend any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Every time I see jaw-dropping performances, especially during the dunk contest. I appreciate players trying to be creative and showing enthusiasm. And players actually care to be on the all-star team (see the youtube campaigns where they try to convince fans to vote for them etc.). So I'll take the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Anonymous said...

Baseball!? Please! It's the most boring sport except for the postseason. The allstar game is no exception. The NBA allstar weekend is far more entertaining and, in some years, the game on Sunday can become intense. The athleticism displayed is far more fun to watch than eight guys standing around while one guy throws a very fast pitch to a hitter who swings only once in a while.