For the first time in the history the match up since its inception in 1951, this year’s NBA All-Star game turned away from its traditional East-West rivalry format, choosing to elect Lebron James and Stephen Curry as team captains and allowing them to build their own rosters. For this reason, the usually typical All-Star game presented a unique opportunity for teammates to level up on the competition where conference played no role on the court, revamping the experience for the fans back home—a successful change that owes many thanks to president the National Basketball Players Association and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul.
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While some had their preconceptions what may have seemed to be a clear win in favor James’ roster, boasting names like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry’s squad, anchored down by the likes James Harden and Joel Embiid proved to be a formidable foe as the game came down to a matter seconds and three points with Team Lebron eventually squeezing out a win 148-145.
“I think myself and Stephen took it upon ourselves when we took on this format that we had to change the way this game was played. The last couple years, it wasn’t as competitive as we would like. …And it was great for both sides.” said James, who racked up 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and laid claim to his third NBA All-Star MVP honor, tying him with Oscar Robertson, Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Jordan for the second most all time. Bob Pettit is ahead, having won it four times.
“We wanted to kind change the narrative the All-Star Game being a joke,” Kevin Durant added on. “Today we wanted to make it a real basketball game.”