Originally Published on February 19, 2019
By Annalece Anhalt-Slaughter
Over the last few years, there have been some big changes made to the NBA All-Star Game: getting rid of the East vs. West set-up, the televised draft, and diversifying the weight of the voting base to select All-Star Game starters. We might be a little biased here, but we think the addition of the televised draft this year is what made the game so exciting. The playful trash talk between LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo lent itself to helping the teams create their own personalities (wonder where we heard that before 😏).
Team LeBron drafted Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, and James Harden – three very outspoken individuals both on and off the court – as well as Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson, two likely future Lakers free agent targets. It was clear that these guys were going to be the showboats, their version of one of our own teams. Meanwhile, Team Giannis brought in Steph Curry, Kemba Walker, and Dirk Nowitzki among others, some of the more wholesome and humble players of the league. These guys played more like they were part of a brotherhood, working together without being too focused on their individual performances.
Not that you didn’t know already, but Team LeBron rallied to its second straight win with a 178-164 victory over Team Giannis. We even saw a glimpse of the LeBron we’ve all come to love (or hate, depending on which city you’re from) when he threw down an alley-oop from Kyrie Irving. If you aren’t a Lakers fan, just put yourself in their shoes for one minute. Imagine being stoked to land King James on your team, only for him to proceed to have a terrible season (sorry LeBron, but you’ve done better) and then perform like this in the NBA All-Star Game. Would you be A) confused B) hopeful or C) mad as hell. Because we know our fans are passionate, we’re going to go out on a limb here and say they’d be upset to say the least. When your team makes an investment in a $154M player, you expect some return on that investment when it really matters, not just at a glorified publicity event for the league.