Opinion: Should Professional Sports Continue to Host an All-Star Game?


Courtesy of Erik Drost of the Creative Commons

2022 NBA All-Stars enjoying their time in a less stressful basketball game.

The All-Star Game is a very popular event that professional sports leagues host around the halfway point of their respective seasons. They host smaller events such as a 3-point contest and a dunk contest for the NBA, a home run derby for the MLB, a skills challenge for the NHL, and a catching competition for the NFL, as well as a game consisting of All Stars from around the leagues.

I certainly feel like the All-Star weekends are a good break for the players, staff members, and fans, and that they should continue, though they could use some major changes.

Every year all athletes try to play at the best of their abilities, with one of their side goals being to make the All-Star game. There are strict rules when it comes to forming the All-Star rosters, where fans begin voting for the All-Star starters a few weeks prior to the event. Once the starters are determined, the players and coaches for their respective leagues vote to form the All-Star reserves. Many fans enjoy all of the All-Star weekend events because they see it as a break in the season where the players get to have fun and show off their talents in a less stressful and pressured environment. The entire weekends are very fun environments for the fans to be around, with a large number of superstars on the court or field and hall of farmers in attendance.

Although the voting system seems to be under control, there are growing opinions that fan voting seems to be making the votes unbalanced. Every year there seems to be a few players who are voted in the All-Star game, whether they deserve the spot or not, strictly because they are fan favorites. For example, in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, Andrew Wiggins, forward for the Golden State Warriors, was selected to be a Western Conference Starting Forward. Although there were some fans who agreed with the selection, the majority seemed to disagree. There was a huge boost in All-Star votes on Twitter that was arguably the reason for Wiggins being voted as a starter. Wiggins, who fans felt was certainly worthy of a spot on the Western Conference All-Star roster, was felt to have been selected as a starter because of the fan voting that boosted his value from his fans.

The NBA has recently made a change to the All-Star fan voting system, making fans only able to vote on the NBA app or NBA’s website, as well as limiting fans to only one vote per day. Many believe that this change will really benefit the voting system, though there are still a lot of complaints that are sure to continue for a while. Many NBA fans feel that if there is an adjustment, or even an end to fan voting, it would make for a more balanced and fair All-Star roster selections.

Another very big issue that fans have with the All-Star weekend events, specifically for the NBA, is that they choose players for the events that aren’t necessarily who the fans want and are not as talented as some of the All-Stars that fans would prefer to participate in the events. It has been made clear that the top players have chosen not to participate in some of the events because they don’t want to risk any injuries in an event that arguably means nothing. The events and All-Star weekends as a whole would most certainly get more attention and hype if the league was able to get top players to participate in them.

One of the biggest complaints from fans throughout the All-Star Games is that the players don’t seem to take it seriously at all. “It is what it is. We all know why we’re playing it. There’s money on the line. Just putting money over health, doesn’t surprise me,” Los Angeles Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard stated on Twitter when asked about whether the NBA should host the All-Star Game. The players are out there to have fun and not take the game all too seriously, and it certainly shows in their effort in the game. They have a reasonable argument though, as they don’t want to get injured in a meaningless game. However, this greatly decreases the fans’ enjoyment of the games. For example, the 2022 NFL Pro Bowl was essentially a two hand touch game of football that was very difficult for NFL fans to watch and enjoy.

Fans understand that players aren’t going to be going 100% during the All-Star and Pro Bowl games, but seeing the players essentially playing two hand touch was not to their liking. The games themselves are just honors for the players, and they get paid just to be selected not based off of their performances in the game. Being awarded an All-Star is a side accomplishment for the players. Every player has the main goal of winning the championship, so it’s not a surprise that they don’t take the All-Star Games too seriously.

The NFL has already parted ways with the Pro Bowl game itself, though they are still hosting some of the other events like AFC versus NFC flag football and dodgeball games, best catch challenge and quarterback accuracy competitions. It’s up for debate whether or not other sports should follow, and not host an actual All-Star game. I hope in the future that if professional sports decide to continue to host All-Star and Pro Bowl Games that they make all the necessary changes that they need to in order to bring back the love from the fans, such as fixing the fan voting and choosing higher level players for All-Star weekend events.