The NBA has revealed a new format for the annual All-Star Game, scrapping the regular East versus West format.
Instead, two captains – the leading fan vote-getter from the East and leading fan vote-getter from the West – will select players for their squad regardless of conference affiliation.
The captains will select from a pool of 22 other All-Stars. In total, there will still be 12 All-Stars from each conference.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced the new format on Tuesday, and the Los Angeles contest on Feb. 18 will be the first NBA All-Star Game that is not East vs. West.
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” NBPA president and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
The new format is an attempt to bring back some competitiveness to the NBA’s February showcase that has devolved into a dunk contest, layup drill and three-point shootout. The winning team scored 192 points in the 2017 game and 196 in the 2016 game.
Paul, a nine-time All-Star, watched last year’s game from home, and the day after the game, he reached out to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressing need for a change to the game.
Paul made sure NBPA executive director Michele Roberts got involved, and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, the president of the league’s labor relations committee, fostered further discussion.
“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” NBA president of league operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.
The process of selecting the All-Stars remains the same. Starters – two guards and three frontcourt players per conference – will be chosen by a combination of fans (50% of the vote), players (25%) and media (25%). Coaches will select the reserves – two guards, three frontcourt players and two players from any position.