The 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles is going to be different than prior years for a few reasons. For one, the exhibition will be the first in which the jerseys will be made by Jordan Brand using Nike technology to give the game a different look than years prior.
The game’s new format also saw leading vote-getters LeBron James and Stephen Curry select the two rosters as team captains. That was in lieu of having the Eastern Conference All-Stars play against those from the West.
Those aren’t the final format changes for the exhibition. According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, the winning team is also set to get more compensated than they have the last few years:
Each player on the winning team will now receive $100,000 and the losing team pockets $25,000, league sources said. The only modification is the winner’s compensation, a $50,000 boost from previous years.
There is now a $75,000 difference separating the winner from the loser, opposed to just $25,000. Some players have bonuses in their team contracts tied to All-Star appearances, but that is independent of the boost the league is rewarding the All-Star game winners.
The All-Star Game has never been a defensive showcase, but the last several exhibitions have seen everyone’s favorite players do their best impressions of a matador on the defensive end as the scoreboard scrolls like a slot machine, with games nearly hitting the 200s due to endless lob dunks with little effort to stop them.
This change could address that, and it’s the latest attempt from the NBA to shake things up in recent weeks. The league has also made its first moves toward getting a cut of revenue from legalized sports gambling.
Whether either change is for the better remains to be seen, but it’s clear the NBA isn’t resting on its laurels as it continues its quest to be the best and most innovative sports league on the planet.