The NBA announced some big changes to its All-Star Game, including a new draft format that will see players pick their own teams out of a list of players voted in by fans.
The switch is a big one, and some are clearly worried about bristling NBA players that may get snubbed or end up on the same team as a rival player. This is a large enough concern that there’s some talk about not making the draft results public and just presenting the full teams with no explanation given as to the order.
This is, of course, completely ridiculous. The NHL has actually had this format for a while, and it has not torn the league asunder. In fact, they’ve had some fun with being Mr. Irrelevant in an All-Star draft by giving the last pick a car. It’s silly and fun, no one complains about getting burned by a teammate or a rival player. The All-Star Game is supposed to be a break from the grind of the schedule and a chance to relax a bit.
Count LeBron James among those who are not worried about any possible fallout from the game, as he said he’s not worried about public draft results tearing the Cleveland Cavaliers locker room apart. James spoke to the media on Saturday and basically said players need to grow up and not worry about slights in a draft format, whether intentional or otherwise.
“We’re all grown men,” James said. “It doesn’t stop your paycheck from coming. It won’t stop you from playing time when the season starts. Trying to win. Listen, just trying to win in the All-Star Game. You want to get the best player, the best caliber of player. You’re going to have some type of faithfulness, obviously, to your teammates. But also you want to compete. That’s when our game is watched the most, in All-Star weekend.”
LeBron was asked specifically about keeping the results secret, and he rightly dismissed it, saying that the All-Star Game is supposed to be fun, not about weird egos.