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Sports Authority

Mulvena: Ranking All-Star Games

| Thursday, February 20, 2020

This past week’s NBA All-Star Game got some friends and I in a discussion that is all too familiar to sports fans. Naturally, we began to talk about the all-star games of the four major sports in the United States and which ones offer the most entertainment. In the spirit of the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, I thought it appropriate to rank the four major sports in terms of all-star games,because rankings are just a delight, aren’t they?


1. NBA All-Star Game

I think it should be clear that the NBA has the best all-star game, right? Even though the implications of the All-Star Game on the actual playoffs is essentially zero, it’s easily the most entertaining All-Star Game to watch. Acrobatic dunks, slick passes and a barrage of threes? What’s not to like? Even with this year’s strange format, which was no doubt confusing to anyone who hadn’t read about it prior to the game, the actual play was easily the most satisfying amongst the four major sports. I think the biggest complaint about the NBA All-Star Game is probably that there is not enough defense being played. I mean, this is a common complaint about the NBA, but let me be clear. If you spend your time complaining about there being not enough defense in the NBA, you are the worst. First off, the defense is a billion times more impressive than it was even 15 years ago. Second of all, do you not like offense? Do you really want to watch an 85-80 NBA game? If so, tune into Virginia vs. Syracuse and stop complaining. But as far as the NBA All-Star Game itself — sure, the defense leaves much to be desired. But that’s to be expected. No one wants to get hurt in a game that really has no bearing on the season. But I ask again, do you not like wild dunks, awesome passes and deep 3-pointers? The NBA All-Star Game offers some of the best athletes in the world the ability to truly showcase how insanely good they are at their craft. I can’t imagine complaining about that.


2. MLB All-Star Game

If the MLB All-Star Game still determined home field advantage in the World Series, I would have put it number one. But since it doesn’t, it’ll have to settle for number two since baseball is naturally more boring than basketball, but that’s a different discussion for a different day. The cool thing about the MLB All-Star Game is that, even though it has little bearing on the regular season, a lot of the players still give it their all. Pitchers show off their arms, and a lot of the big hitters who appear in the game swing for the fences. Again, offense is fun no matter the sport. As a kid, I used to look forward to the MLB All-Star Game months in advance, and all of the fanfare that surrounds it, especially the Home Run Derby. I think the fact that baseball is a largely regional sport — that is to say many baseball fans primarily watch their own team and not many other games — adds to the allure of the All-Star Game. You get to see the guys on your team who have had a fantastic year go up against some of the league’s best players who you might not have seen in action.


3. NHL All-Star Game

I will say, I think the skills competition is incredible for the NHL All-Star Game. The shootout competition and all the drills are fantastic. But there just isn’t that much going for the NHL All-Star Game. The captain system isn’t as conducive to hockey as it is to basketball because the NBA has far more individual stars, and although the players really get a chance to show off some incredible stick handling skills in a game situation, there isn’t too much that is unique about the game itself. Again, it’s a fun thing to watch, and I’ll always watch, but I just can’t put it above baseball or basketball.


4. Pro Bowl

I don’t think anyone can disagree with me on this. The Pro Bowl just brings nothing to the table. I guess the skills competition is cool? Maybe I’m just a bitter Jets fan who has had no reason to watch the regular season for, well, my entire life. But still, the Pro Bowl is just a bunch of guys who need a rest from a grueling season and are traveling to a warm weather city to have some fun. I’d rather watch “Two Broke Girls” than the Pro Bowl.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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