The NBA's All-Star Weekend is the perfect time for players to rest. Likewise, NBA fans also take a breather from the action, as there's no reason to tune in and watch that 'game' whatsoever. It's not competitive; it's not even fun anymore.
Players don't take All-Star Weekend seriously; that's just a fact. Of course, it's understandable that they want and need to rest for the most crucial stretch of the season, but it's always been like that.
That's why ESPN's Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James started this trend, and he went as far as to hold him personally responsible for ruining the All-Star's Slam Dunk Contest for never participating.
LeBron James Ruined The Dunk Contest, Says Stephen A. Smith
“I think McClung was great. I think he deserves all the credit in the world. But he's not going to divert our attention away from the big problem," Smith said. "There is one blemish that should be on LeBron James' career; he has ruined the Slam Dunk Contest. He is personally responsible."
"LeBron ignored that obligation; he said, 'No, I'm not doing it.’ Since he made that decision, we've seen year after year after year the dissipation of stars participating in the Slam Dunk Contest," continued Smith. "It's because of him that others felt it was ok to follow, and that's why the Slam Dunk Contest is not what it used to be."
James himself admitted that he would only participate if he was sure he was going to win, calling it a waste of time otherwise. Now, we only get a handful of rookies and borderline-unknown players trying to salvage the event.
Smith Criticized The All-Star Game
Stephen A. didn't stop there, and he went all out against the All-Star Game as a whole, as this was perhaps the worst edition of all time in terms of the non-existent defense or desire to play at all:
"It just reeks of a level of arrogance and taking fans for granted that we continue to lament," Smith said. "So again, you know what, I just look at it from that perspective and I applaud Coach [Michael] Malone for highlighting the flagrant lack of effort."
The league will need to find a way to make this all that more interesting. Whether it is making just young players play or offering major financial incentives. But this is just a blatant disrespect to the fans.