So it's coming up -- All-Star Weekend. Are you pumped up?
I'm guessing you're not.
In the league's attempts to prop up the game, I'm afraid the NBA has gone too far. And in regard to the entire weekend, it's tired and worn out. However, I have a solution to what to do with this week.
First, though, the game.
Interest in the All-Star Game itself has declined for years and there are a couple of reasons. The lack of defensive effort has been obvious and it cheapens the game. Uncontested jump shots and lob passes to dunks have become the norm and it's not been an appealing sight without any effort to defend.
And in recent seasons, the conventional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference was junked in favor of choosing sides in a draft.
The change was a result of the West winning three straight games and six of seven and an obvious talent imbalance tilted toward the West.
So the format became two captains picking from the pool of starters and then the reserves. It hasn't changed the character of the teams much, though, because the captains from each conference have tended to choose players from their own conference, anyway. This year's teams are particularly conference-oriented.
But that doesn't change the identity crisis for fans.
More than once, people have asked me, "Who do I root for?"
When I tell them that Damian Lillard -- Portland's only representative in the game -- is on Team LeBron, I usually get a groan, followed by "I don't want to root for LeBron's team, but I will because of Dame."
For me, it would have been smarter just to stay with the traditional West vs. East contest. There's more of an opportunity there for fans to attach themselves to one team or another and care about the outcome -- even if the players sometimes don't seem too invested in winning.
But the game is usually the most attractive part of the weekend. The Saturday events are a must-watch only if your favorite player or someone on your favorite team is involved.
The dunk contest used to be the showcase event of the weekend, back when some of the best dunkers in the league performed. But now, with so many "Who's he?" guys involved, it's cut the interest level way down.
The likes of Michael Jordan, Dr. J, Dominique Wilkins and Clyde Drexler used to be in that thing. An aging Dwight Howard, Aaron Gordon, Derrick Jones Jr. and Pat Connaughton (pulling for you, Pat) this year don't quite measure up to that group.
And really, how many different ways can a ball be dunked? We've pretty much seen them all in this contest.
The league's best dunks have always been in games, anyway, and a better contest would be to gather all the best ones on videotape and have the nation vote on the best ones.
The three-point shootout hasn't been the same since Larry Bird was in it, but Lillard's presence this year, combined with a special long shot six feet behind the line, should spice things up.
At any rate, I don't expect a lot of people to be watching. A better alternative for the NBA, I believe, would be to take a complete one-week vacation. No ball for a week. No All-Star Game. No interviews. No practices. Not even any social media.
Everybody just chill. It's a long-overdue trend for all leagues -- just take a week off during the season and calm everything down. Let the players rest and get away for a few days. Same for coaches and fans.
I know it's a controversial thought, but I believe it would benefit everybody. The fans would be starving for a game after a week off and the players would be rested for their push to the playoffs and beyond.
And the NBA could use a week to just relax and forget about trade deadlines, calls and non-calls by referees, contract buy-outs, injuries and tanking.
It could be All-Stare Weekend.
What does the NBA need more than All-Star Weekend? A week off! originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest