The NBA All-Star Game Will No Longer Be East Vs. West And Will Feature Team Captains

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The NBA announced big changes to its annual All-Star Game on Tuesday, meaning the winter showcase in Los Angeles just got an awful lot more interesting.

The league announced that it’s abandoning its traditional format of the East taking on the West in favor of a captains system, where two players draft teams out of a list of 22 available All-Stars to form teams.

“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.

The captains will be selected by fan vote, with each captain getting the most votes as a starter from the East and Western Conference. Those 10 starters will be picked the same way as before, with 50 percent of the vote coming from fans, 25 from current players and the other quarter coming from NBA media. NBA head coaches then pick the other 14 reserve players, and the new captains will be taken from the initial 10 starters and pick their teams from there.

From there, though, all bets are off. Any player can be taken by a captain, schoolyard pick ’em style. The team selection certainly opens up some fun options for teammates and eschews traditional positions, which means we could see some really interesting basketball on LA this winter.

“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” NBPA president Chris Paul said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in LA.”

It’s the first major change in the All-Star format in the game’s history. The East vs. West showdown has remained the same since its inception in 1951, though other sports leagues have made similar moves in recent years. The possibilities here really are endless. And it also makes the inevitable team selection show must-watch TV in the lead-up to the game itself.