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NBA All-Star Game Goes to New Orleans

Chris DiGeronimo, Staff Writer

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The 2017 NBA All-Star Game was supposed to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, but because of political trouble regarding the North Carolina “Bathroom Bill,” which discriminates against the transgender , the NBA decided to pull it from the Hornets and give it to the Pelicans. This is the third time the city of New Orleans has hosted the game in the last nine years.
The 2017 NBA All-Star game will be the first without Kobe Bryant since 1997, due to retirement, and the first without either Dwayne Wade or Carmelo Anthony since 2005 due to receding talent.
The 2017 NBA All-Star Game will boast a lot of young stars that haven’t really gotten a chance to show off their talent until now. There are four combined players for both the East and West rosters that are making their first All-Star appearance. On the East, we have young Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the UConn local Kemba Walker getting their first All-Star nod. On the West, we have Los Angeles Clippers star DeAndre Jordan and Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward also making their first appearances. The East starters will consist of Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Jimmy Butler and Antetokounmpo.
The West starters will consist of Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis. Both the East and West All-Stars will be trotting out in the most generic uniforms in recent history. The NBA All-Star game has been a place where both Adidas and the NBA like to experiment with sleeves and different styles of jerseys, but this year isn’t one of them. The Kia logo will also make an appearance for the second year in a row.
Other than the “Bathroom Bill” controversy there has also been controversy surrounding voting for players.
The NBA implemented a new system in the offseason where now the media and players get a combined 50% of the vote, taking away 50% from the fan vote. In the past, the fan vote was the only vote that counted now it has changed and the system has left some players in the dust. One particular player that got snubbed as a starter was Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Westbrook has accumulated 26 triple doubles so far this season, and has carried basically all of Oklahoma City on his back. Westbrook was third behind Curry and Harden in the fan voting for guards, but he came out first in the player and media vote. Other players that got snubbed because of the new system were Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76er’s and Zaza Pachulia of the Golden State Warriors.
All three of these players got a lot of fan votes, but fell short in the media and player votes. This new process can filter out some of the frivolous votes that fans like to do for fun, but it also can eliminate some players that actually deserve to be voted in. Allowing the media and players to vote can also bring politics into the system. For example, the NBA always seems to accommodate LeBron James so that might have played a part in choosing Kyrie Irving as the starting point guard over someone like Isaiah Thomas who is the second leading scorer in the NBA. Another factor that could affect the voting could be market size. For example, Houston is a much bigger market than Oklahoma City so that could have played a role in the decision for Harden over Westbrook. As the years go by we will see how this new process works out, but for now it seems like a flawed process.
All- Star weekend will be kicked off on Friday, February 17th with the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge. State Farm All-Star Saturday Night will feature the Taco Bell Skills Competition, the JBL Three-Point Competition, and the Verizon Slam Dunk contest. These events will surely be exciting and filled with the best talent the NBA has to offer (excluding the slam dunk contest).
Finally, the featured event of the weekend will be the 66th NBA All-Star Game which will be played on Sunday February 19th at 8pm, live from the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. The West has a two game winning streak going for them so we shall see if the East can take back the crown this year.

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NBA All-Star Game Goes to New Orleans