The NBA All-Star game is this Sunday. I was lucky enough to go to one a few years ago when it was in Toronto, Canada. It was Kobe's last all-star game, and the whole weekend was a lot of fun. Toronto is definitely a Maple Leafs first city, followed by the Blue Jays. The Jays have been around much longer than the Raptors, and they did have that back-to-back World Series run back in the early 90's.
The Raptors were kind of the third wheel. But the past few years they have been relevant, and Toronto welcomed the all-star game with open arms. There was a buzz around the city the whole weekend. I'm sure other cities get excited to host all-star games, but you just got a feeling being there that the whole city really was proud of their city and their team. Back then, it was East vs. West. Like with all the other major sports, they try to drum up interest in the all-star game to make it more relevant. I don't think any all-star game is as bad as the NFL's Pro Bowl. MLB implemented that the winning league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
This was after a year in which the all-star game ended in a tie. Baseball games aren't supposed to ever end in ties, so something drastic was done. The NHL went from a traditional format to different divisions playing each other for one period and then the two winners of the first two periods play in the all-star championship for the third period. For the NBA, they went to a team-captain format. This is the second time that it will not be the typical East/West format. Charlotte, North Carolina will be the host city for the second time. They hosted it back in 1991. The whole process for how the teams are selected is a bit confusing.
Basically, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were the leading vote getters in the West and East, and thus were chosen as team captains. They each selected players, rotating one at a time, and the first 8 players selected became the starters. Team LeBron will square off against team Giannis Sunday at 5:00 pm PT from Charlotte, NC. But before that, there will be the USA vs. World game which features the NBA's top rookies and sophomores, as well as the ever fun to watch individual contests like the 3-point contest where Steph Curry is favored to win at +175, the skills contest, and my personal favorite, the slam dunk contest, where Dennis Smith Jr. is expected to take it at 175.