The NBA All-Star Game is one of the most expected events in basketball, and it’s been that way since its inception in 1951. Every year, fans gather around their TV sets and watch some of the biggest stars in basketball go head-to-head in an epic showdown. But how did this all come to be?
Have you ever wondered how the All-Star Game got its start? Then you’re in the right place. We’ll be taking a look at the history of this incredible event dating all the way back to 1951 and explore what has made it one of the most anticipated games on basketball’s calendar every year.
This year, Team Giannis managed to end Team LeBron’s stranglehold on the All-Star Trophy when they picked up a 184-175 victory in Salt Lake City back in February. In the end, it was no surprise that the Greek Freaks team managed to seal the victory. His franchise, the Milwaukee Bucks, is currently the favorite to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy with online betting site Bovada as they currently sit at the summit of the NBA standings. But as Team LeBron had picked up the victory in each of the last five years, many thought they may well seal the deal once again.
In the end, it wasn’t to be for King James and co. But how did the All-Star game come to be? Let’s take a short trip down memory lane and find out.
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72 Years of History
It all started in 1951 when then-NBA President Maurice Podoloff decided to host an exhibition game featuring the league’s top players. The game was meant to serve as a way for fans to get up close and personal with their favorite players. It was also a way for the league to showcase its best talent, which was something that had never been done before.
The first NBA All-Star game was held on March 2nd, 1951 at Boston Garden and featured 10 players from each team. The East won by a score of 111–94, with Celtics center Ed Macauley taking home MVP honors after scoring 20 points and grabbing eleven rebounds. The event was such a success that it quickly became an annual tradition and has been held every year since then, with the exception of 2020 due to global events.
Over the years, the format of the game has changed significantly. For example, every year since the exhibition’s inception, an East vs West format was used, leading to more competitive games as it allowed players from different conferences to play against each other for bragging rights.
In 1969, fan voting began for starters so that people could have a say in who they wanted to see play in each year’s game. This has become one of the most popular aspects of the All-Star weekend over time as fans are able to connect with their favorite players on another level by voting them into starting lineups.
The NBA All-Star Game has come a long way since its foundation over seven decades ago. What started out as an exhibition game has grown into one of the sports’ most anticipated events every year, drawing millions of viewers across the world who tune in to watch some of basketball’s best talent compete against each other for bragging rights and glory. Since 2018, the East vs West format has been scrapped with more emphasis being placed on basketball’s biggest stars, but that hasn’t taken anything away from the spectacle.
West Coast Dominance
Since the turn of the millennium, the NBA All-Star Game has been dominated by the West Coast, putting up thrilling performances and taking home victory after victory. It’s been an adrenaline-fueled ride for everyone involved, as we eagerly watched our favorite players and amazing talent on the court year after year.
Every time the All-Star Game rolls around, the West Coast gathers up the energy of the whole NBA and asserts its dominance. Since Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Los Angeles Lakers rose to prominence – winning five NBA Championships in the decade spanning 2000 and 2010 – they brought the entire West Coast with them.
Since the teams were rebranded in 2018, that dominance has been claimed by LeBron James. Team LeBron – named after the highest points scorer in the history of the NBA – had won five consecutive All-Star games up until this year, when Giannis Antetokounmpo rallied his troops to victory.
To be fair, Team Giannis was simply the rebranded for the East Coast team, but the league – as it always seems to do – wanted to cash in on its biggest stars. The Greek Freak’s team consisted of the Eastern Conference’s finest and had a starting lineup of Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell, Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and team captain, Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was the aforementioned Tatum that picked up MVP honors however, and he will be hoping he can carry that momentum into the rest of the Boston Celtics’ season.