Remember when the NBA All-Star game was a really big deal? I do, I think. To be honest, the last few years have been a disorienting blur both within the NBA and in general, but that’s all the more reason we NEED the All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game is not just the hero we deserve — more importantly, it’s all we have. If you don’t trust me, that’s fair. In recent years, festivities have been marred by over-the-top corporate sponsorship, lack of interest from big-name stars, and just so, SO much DJ Khaled. But I am here to make the case that All-Star is good, actually. I hope you will listen. 

Let’s start with NBA All-Star Game itself!

The NBA is making its best move in what feels like decades by letting the team captains pick their squads right before the game, schoolyard style.

Folks, this rules! These men make millions of dollars a year playing basketball, and yet the simple act of being picked last is going to send one of them into the revenge game of a lifetime. What a blast! A big complaint about the All-Star game is the general lack of effort (re: lack of defense) given by participants. Call me a foolish optimist, but I have a good feeling that this truly disrespectful draft situation might help remedy this issue. 

Side note: Anthony Edwards was recently named an injury reserve All-Star, and I think he might try to score 50 points. He should have been an All-Star in the first place, but whatever! I hope he plays more defense than has been attempted in the last 5 years combined. I hope he steals the ball from LeBron and does a windmill dunk. I hope he talks shit from the bench. I don’t think he will let us down. 

Moving on to the smaller events

I believe we as viewers need to adjust our attitudes towards these little challenges. Sure, they can’t pull big names for the dunk contest anymore, but that’s ok! Think of it this way: this is a chance for some dudes we barely know to show up and do a bunch of cool dunks and potentially win the hearts of America, and that is sweet!

Some of my greatest enjoyment of the NBA comes from projecting my love of basketball onto players, imagining they are all friends who just want to hoop and have fun, and I think that is normal and fine! You should try it. It makes watching the skills contest a lot more bearable. It’s just guys being dudes! Sure, we already watch them dribble and pass every game, but this time it’s special! Just because we want it to be! (Essentially, you must delude yourself. Sorry, but it works.) Sometimes things are fun because you make them fun. That’s general life advice.

Finally, let's pay tribute to the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

If you don’t find a group of truly random famous people playing basketball together hilarious, then you are simply lacking an appropriate appreciation of whimsy in your life. The Property Brothers have been in the Celebrity Game! That is pure comedy, plain and simple. This year, Jannelle Monáe is playing, and according to Google, she stands at exactly 5’0. Awesome. Albert Pujols will be playing against 21 Savage, and honestly, what more could you ask for? Disconnect the critical part of your brain, sit back, and enjoy! We cannot take this game seriously enough to glean anything but pure entertainment from it. 

Hannah Montana once said “Life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock” and this weekend I will be applying that sage advice to the NBA All-Star Game. So, reader, I implore you to lower your expectations, raise your blood-THC levels, and enjoy watching the triumphant return of 2022 Celebrity Game MVP, Alex Toussaint (Peloton instructor).

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