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Bob Cousy was a legend in his own time during the 50's and early 60's. He was selected to 13 All Star games and was the MVP twice in 1954 and 1957 - (Sport Magazine Archives photo)




Hakeem Olajuwon was the premier International player during the 80's and early 90's - (Maxi Basket photo)



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James Loving/National Radio Text Service



The NBA's trying to being so creative and entertaining with their adaptations to the All Star game has resulted in a nightmare. It's no longer a game but an exhibition of athleticism. There is NO INCENTIVE to compete it's simply and means for players to show off their SHOWTIME talents NOT PLAY A COMPETITIVE GAME. The exhibition is a mess BUT THERE IS A SOLUTION to bring back the competitiveness the game once had


Tuesday, March 27, 2018


Move over George Washington but I cannot tell a lie, I can't stand the now farce of the NBA All Star game. Somewhere along the line the NBA lost the plot. What once was a legitimate competition is now a schoolyard run and gun affair.

Currently the game is not worthy of watching players running up and down the court making acrobatic moves that they wouldn't attempt in a regular season game.

The matador style type of game first came to my attention in 1992 in Orlando, Florida when the league permitted Mr. Showtime, Magic Johnson to play when he was out of the league due to having HIV. At that time players feared playing against him with their anxiety that they would catch the disease. Karl Malone was most vocal about his concerns.

The players fear may have been the reason why Johnson was given the go through matador treatment when he waddled around the floor and drove to the basket. Then end result was Johnson scored 25 points on 9 for 12 shooting 4-4 free throws and 9 assists resulting in him being named the MVP of the game.

It was a nice gesture seemingly on a payback to an individual who had given so much to the game in leading the Showtime Lakers of the 80's to five NBA titles and along with Larry Byrd brought the league out of a dry, lacking popularity, period.

Let's be real it's no fun watching a bunch of superstar players running up and down the court showing off their athleticism as if they were in the slam dunk contest but failing to be competitive and play a BASKETBALL GAME. Finally the league seemed to make a desperate attempt to change that lack of competitiveness.

On October 3, 2017, the NBA and NBPA announced the changes to the NBA All-Star Game format starting with the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. The vote leaders for each conference was assigned as team captains and would select players from the rest of the starters and the reserves, regardless of the conference they play in, to form their own teams. This marked the first time; the conferences did not play against each other since the inaugural All-Star game in 1951.

By changing the system it became a schoolyard style of play. Top vote getters LeBron James and Stephen Curry made the selections and captained the sides to a more competitive contest BUT… IT MEANT ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. There is a solution.

Having covered International players from the beginning of my sports radio producing and reporting and text journalism career in 1989-90, I searched out stories about International players.

Loyola (California) University's Per Stumer was the first of my International players stories for our client College Sports USA an NCAA radio program.

The Stumer story was followed up with another NCAA radio production about a Florida International University player whose name escapes me but I think it is (Dadenko?) Dobrish.

There were a number of players featured in my first text story on the International Player subject that was published in the French language featuring Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon. In that piece I asked a number of players most notably NBA Hall of Fame player BOB COUSY who was one of the leagues best and most popular players during the 50's and early 60's.

Cousy was a member of six NBA title winning teams with the Boston Celtics including 1957 and a five year successive NBA title winning streak with the Celtics from 1959 through 1963. He was selected to 13 All Star games and was the MVP twice in 1954 and 1957.

Cousy's response about his thoughts on the skills of the then International players overall up to 1991 was they were weak in defensive skills. It was that opinion which is the basis of what I feel would be a better and MORE COMPETITIVE AND SERIOUS NBA ALL STAR GAME.

The NEW game would feature much improved and experienced International players verses American born players. The selection process would remain the same with the fans voting the starting five and the coaches selecting the remainder of the teams.

This competition would mean something with International fundamental style of game verses the schoolyard run and gun, slam dunk show time American approach to the game that discredits the sport today.

It's a game of fundamentals verses showing off. Americans have a tendency to try to embarrass their opponent. The two contrasting styles and attitudes would make for a more competitive contest.

In addition their would be a pride incentive factor to win for their culture and to show that their game has improved since Cousy voiced his opinion in 1990-91.

Currently International and American rookie and 2nd year (sophomore) players play in a game that in reality has no meaning whatsoever, its simply a time filler for All Star Weekend. This game should be replaced by returning to the former Old Timers (Legends) game. This game would be the old format of East verses West.

The Legends game could return with a more appropriate moniker of Retired Players and utilize the favorite flavor slang of the day by using initials of individuals or entity by using RT-1 for the first game equating to Retired Players 1 ect.).

On February 22, 1994 The Rookie Game, showcasing first-year NBA players, was introduced in Minneapolis, replacing the Legends Game. As I recall the Legends game was partially canceled due to many of the Legends players being out of shape and received injuries.

Times have changed with more sophisticated exercise equipment and more former players committed to staying in shape. One requirement to deter injures could be a limit that only retired players WITHIN FIVE YEARS OF RETIREMENT could participate.

The saving grace is the advent of the 3 on 3 league with the president currently being NBA Hall of Fame star Clyde Drexler. Although that league plays half court basketball there are a number of players that are in good shape and conditioned enough to run a full court two 20 minute halves, 40 minute game. With a 3 on 3 league of retired players the selection pool would be substantial.

One of the features of the former old timers game was that in the city the game was played focused on selecting players from team/s of the cities and teams of former NBA players.

For example since this seasons game was played in Los Angeles former players from the Lakers and Clippers would be on the squad. If the game was played in New York then the Knicks and Nets players would have three or four players on the squad. In a one team location perhaps only two players would be eligible.

This is a sensible and a win; win for the League and the fans. To see an in shape retired players contest would be a more interesting contest than a no defense rookie sophomore game. It's a NO BRAINER SOLUTION! E



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