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Should the NBA All-Star game change to USA vs Rest of World format?

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Roar Guru
27th January, 2023

The NBA All-Star teams have just been announced, with LeBron James captaining the West and Giannis Antetokounmpo captaining the East. There is a decent international representation on the starting teams as Luka Doncic and Nicola Jokic will be joining the ‘Greek Freak’ in Salt Lake City this year.

There will be several international stars who feel unlucky to miss the cut as starters, including Joel Embiid, Domantas Sabonis and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander very unlucky to miss out, although they are expected to make the All-Star team as reserves.

Over the last few decades there has been a massive influx of international stars in the NBA as the levels of competitiveness in international basketball has increased. Some of the biggest stars in the league are now from outside the USA and this has been evident in MVP voting where international stars have won the last four MVP awards.

Over the last few years there has been a lack of overall effort and competitiveness in the All-Star game. The players play a poor standard of defence and prefer to focus on show-stopping dunks and alley-oops instead. The lack of effort and intensity is understandable, considering the length of the NBA season – as most playes prefer to save their energy, hopeful for an end-of-year playoff run.

However, with the massive amount of foreign players excelling in the NBA, I wonder if a United States versus International game would ignite a more exciting All-Star game for both players and viewers.

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Although the US team remain the dominant force, there is no doubt that the level of competitiveness in international basketball has improved in the last few decades. Australia, France, Spain and several of the Baltic countries are all very well respected on the international stage and provide a decent amount of players to the NBA. So, why not give these international players a chance to prove themselves in an All-Star game?


The American team has an amazing strength of depth and would still be a heavy favourite, but the starting five for an international team would be a daunting proposition. At the moment an International starting team would include Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. That is as unbelievably formidable team with some of the biggest names in the NBA today.

Although it may just be a pipe dream it is evident that the once lauded NBA All-Star Weekend has become stale over the past few years and this could be just the shot in the arm that it needs.

Basketball has truly become an international game and just in case anybody forgot, the newest NBA phenom on the horizon isn’t from Akron, Ohio or Wilmington, North Carolina. Victor Wembanyama is from Le Chesnay, France and he is the most talented international NBA prospect of all time.