2020 NBA All-Star Game Preview: New Rules and Format

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NBA All-Star Game Changes

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

  • Each of the first three quarters will begin 0-0. Each quarter will last 12 minutes.
  • After the third quarter, the scores from each quarter will be combined, much as they are in a normal game.
  • The fourth quarter has no running game clock. The quarter will end when the first team reaches the Final Target Score, set at the beginning of the quarter.
  • The Final Target Score will be set by adding 24 points to the team with the lead cumulative score after the third quarter.
  • For example, if the cumulative score of the first three quarters was 110 to 100, the target point will be 134 (The leading score plus 24). In order to win, the team with 110 points at the beginning of the fourth quarter would need to score 24 points before the other team scored 34 points, or the team with 100 points at the beginning of the quarter would need to score 34 points before the other team scored 24 points.
  • This target point is of course a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who wore 24 in the latter half of his career.
  • The winners of the first, second, and third quarters receive $100,000 per quarter. This money will be donated to a Chicago community charity of the captain’s choosing.
  • If the first or second quarter ends in a tie, the $100,000 charity award for that quarter will be added to the next quarter’s award. If the third quarter ends in a tie, the $100,000 award for that quarter will be added to the award of the overall 2020 All-Star Game winning team.
  • If one team wins each of the first three quarters and the NBA All-Star game, $500,000 will be donated to the winning team’s charity and $100,000 will be donated to the losing team’s charity.
  • The 3-Point Contest will include 2 shots from 6 feet beyond the 3 point line, since many shooters are making those shots in games today. The NBA said this change was made “to keep up with the times and new playing styles”.

Fan Reactions to the NBA All-Star Game Format Changes

2020 NBA All-Star Game
New rules and format changes to the 2020 NBA All-Star game leave fans with mixed reviews. (Image by Business Insider)

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.

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