We had a real basketball game! For years, the All-Star game was the most boring part of All-Star weekend. Last night, that changed. As we covered when they were announced, the All-Star game went through many changes, most importantly it switched to an Elam ending.
In the All-Star Game, they took the team’s score that was leading after three quarters (Team Giannis) and added 24 points (in honor of Kobe Bryant) to that score, which brought us to 157. The game clock is turned off, and the first team that got to 157 points, won. Last night, it was Team LeBron. This kind of play is called an Elam ending.
Nick Elam, a professor of educational leadership at Ball State University came up with the concept in 2004. Elam wanted to address a phenomenon that happens a lot in basketball. How many times did the last 5 minutes of the game last half an hour? Fouls and time-outs take the pace right out of a game. Elam came up with his concept to keep the drama, but get rid of all the time wasted. Judging by the reactions after the All-Star game, his concept works.
We have to point out that it was Chris Paul who came to the NBA a few months ago and pushed to switch to the Elam ending. The President of the Players Union lobbied to change things up, as he felt the captains drafting wasn't enough to get players to play an actual game. We saw dunks, rebounding and boxing out, serious defense being played. The ultimate proof we were watching a serious basketball game was Kyle Lowry taking charges in an All-Star game!!!
"Absolutely. For the seven I’ve been in, I think this was probably one of the better ones. We were actually out there competing and we were arguing with the refs. It felt like a real playoff game and that’s what makes it fun."
The game got universal love from fans and players. Of course, the Elam ending wasn't the only thing motivating the players to play their hearts out. This was the first year the All-Star MVP award was named after Kobe Bryant. Kobe won the All-Star MVP four times and Mamba Mentality was in the air as Kawhi Leonard won the first Kobe Bryant MVP award.
"You could definitely feel [Bryant's] presence. So he was definitely here."
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I can't wait for next year's All-Star game. Who would've thought?