NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us and the action gets underway in full on Friday evening with the Celebrity Game and the Rising Stars Challenge. Before things really begin, though, commissioner Adam Silver joined ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on The Jump for a candid interview. As part of that conversation, Silver spoke about the now-infamous All-Star Draft and the decision not to show it on TV.
2018 marks the first year in which the two All-Star teams will not represent the Eastern Conference and Western Conference specifically. Even before the draft occurred, there was plenty of fun to be had in projecting the players that would be chosen by captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry. Of course, the league made the decision not to televise the proceedings and, aside from leaked information, we don’t specifically know the full draft order.
To that end, Silver shed a bit of light on why that decision was made, and his answer is something we essentially knew already: the players really weren’t in favor of showing it. And Curry was among those who didn’t want it on TV, while reports indicated that other players were worried they would be snubbed publicly.
“I’ve always been a proponent of protecting the players,” Curry told SFGate.com in January. “I know that’s the unpopular position in this day and age. We’re all grown men, and we can handle it. We’re All-Stars and what not. But we want to see how the whole format goes the first time, so it’s presented in the right light.”
The Players Association also released a statement in opposition to televising the draft, at least this year. And it seems Silver agreed with the players in this case, specifically citing Curry’s stance on the draft.
“I agree with Steph. He was the one who said, ‘Give us a break. We changed the format for the first time. Let’s see how it goes, and we can talk about televising it.’”
What’s interesting here is how different Curry’s reaction to the Draft was compared to the initial thought about it being on TV. James famously indicated after the fact that the event “definitely should’ve been televised” and Curry agreed on Twitter afterward. Perhaps seeing the process play out made him a believer in the fun that could be had.
There is no great harm in the NBA taking one year and a wait-and-see approach with regard to the All-Star selection process and the change might inspire increased competitiveness when the two sides hit the floor on Sunday evening. If the decision not to show the draft on TV changes for 2019 and beyond, this year’s draft will simply be a missed opportunity.