The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place in Chicago this weekend. For the second consecutive year, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo won the popular vote and were named team captains. Notable picks for Lebron James included Lakers teammate Anthony Davis, reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and young superstar Luka Doncic. Team Giannis includes the likes of Joel Embiid and Trae Young.
However, the biggest storylines surrounding this year’s All-Star Game are not about the players or contests, but about the format and structure of the game.
The league altered the format of the game, factoring in donations to charities and homages to Kobe Bryant, and making changes to the scoring system and running clock.
Here is the full list of NBA All-Star Game new rules.
2020 NBA All-Star Game's New Rules and Format
Fan Reactions to the NBA All-Star Game Format Changes
The new NBA All-Star format has been met with both applause and criticism. The focus on charity was received well and added more importance to the All-Star Game. It’s believed this will encourage the players to take the game more seriously, as in recent years the game has resembled a mix of a glorified scrimmage and highlight reel.
The new NBA All-Star Game scoring system, however, has so far been an unpopular change, with many confused by the system and seeing no real need for it. The NBA has not confirmed if these changes will continue to be upheld in future All-Star weekends.
Kobe Bryant Tributes at the NBA All-Star Game
While fans seem to be generally confused around the scoring change, nearly all have rallied around the weekend’s tribute to Kobe Bryant. In addition to honoring the late basketball hero and superstar in the All-Star Game scoring change, each player on Team Giannis will wear number 24 while each player on Team LeBron will wear number 2, in honor of Kobe’s daughter Gianna.
Ultimately, the league commissioners recognized the 2020 NBA All-Star Game format needed changes if it were to remain popular. In changing the format, the league is catering to its fans and attempting to deliver the best on-court production possible. The added stakes, tributes to Kobe, and a promising dunk contest will certainly give the weekend more excitement and a smashing success.