The NBA has spent the past few years trying to figure out how to improve its All-Star festivities, and has seemingly found a pretty great formula for the All-Star Game itself. The player draft has brought some intrigue to the selection process, while the Elam Ending format has delivered far more competitive fourth quarters since its institution.
For the 2022 edition of All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, the NBA is looking into ways to spruce up its Friday night event, as the Rising Stars Game has not been the most exciting in recent years — particularly since going to the USA vs. World format. This year, though, the league is getting rid of those designations and will invite 28 players to participate, breaking them into four teams of seven that will play a bracket style format.
The teams will be drafted from a pool of 12 rookies, 12 sophomores, and 4 members of the G League Ignite (one for each team), and the semifinal games will be a race to 50, with the final game being a sprint to 25.
There will also be a “Clutch Challenge” between the second semifinal and the final in which teams of two will try to recreate legendary shots, which sounds a lot like a NBA 2K minigame being brought to real life.
The Rising Stars Game can produce some fun moments, but usually drags on for too long with a lopsided score. The new format will make for quicker, hopefully more entertaining games, and adding fresh faces from the Ignite might boost the competitive juices, as they’ll surely be looking to make a name for themselves and the current NBA players will be trying not to be on the wrong end of a viral clip from a 17- or 18-year-old.
We’ll find out how well the new format works on February 18 at 9:00 p.m. ET on TNT.