The NBL All-Star extravaganza was completed on Saturday in Adelaide with the South All-Stars defeating the North North All-Stars 134-114. The game was a great display of talent, athleticism and personality, again demonstrating to the sporting public that the NBL has what it takes to succeed.
The much-loved slam dunk competition was quick, only running for about 45 seconds at half time but the athleticism shown by Wollongong’s Lance Hurdle and Melbourne’s own Bennie Lewis was unquestioned. These two super-human dunkers completed two dunks each during the competition, which was enough to seemingly disqualify other participants Tom Abercrombie, Lucas Walker and Darnell Lazare. No footage of the disappointment was shown on Channel 10 but it’s believed Lewis won on countback from… well, other dunks that may or may not have been completed on the day.
While the people of Adelaide cheekily claim their hometown boy Stephen Weigh won the competition, it was sad to see the three-point shootout get cancelled. I personally had money on Peter Crawford at $5.00 odds and sportsbet.com.au haven’t refunded me, so I smell a conspiracy and will be writing an email.
Some of the creative ramblings out of Adelaide even suggested Clint Steindl’s shootout performance was sabotaged by a camera boom. A funny story but obviously he would have been allowed to start again if that happened, so the cancellation of the event seems more plausible.
On a serious note for a moment, the All-Star Game itself was great entertainment. The players put on a spectacular basketball show and from what could be seen on the telecast and social media, people truly loved it.
Both Bennie Lewis and Lance Hurdle showed some amazing athleticism and creativity in the dunk contest, raising the roof off the stadium I’m sure.
Unfortunately for fans outside of the stadium, the Slam Dunk and Three-point Shootout events were either hardly shown or not shown at all during the telecast. This is unacceptable and is extremely disrespectful to the guys that bypassed an early holiday to compete for the fans and league. These types of events give the league and Channel 10 a golden opportunity to capture new audience members.
Note: Look up on the Internet what really kicked off the popularity of the UFC. It was a two-bit reality show finale where two extremely talented (amateur) fighters beat the shit out of each other and rated through the roof. Way back then, people were calling and texting each other during the event saying “You gotta see this!“. A watershed moment for a struggling sport. Think about it.
The unfortunate fact still remains in that Channel 10 have little to no interest in developing the sport or giving a full account of themselves from a production standpoint. While I’m never usually one to say this, the NBL needs to enforce some standards when it comes to events like this and start to get ruthless on mediocrity. From the starting line-up graphics featuring cartoon shoes to the pittance of breathing room in the broadcast schedule (missing dunk contest etc) there are still just too many holes in that relationship and it hurts fans.
I see some people still want to #PromoteTheGood while ignoring the bad and I applaud their upbeat mentality, however there is a big difference between people sending “Dude, you gotta see this!” messages and “Dude, there was a dunk comp?” ones.
I’ll reiterate again for those who think I’m being super-negative, the game was very, very entertaining. The quality of those guys on the court was fantastic and even though the courtside DJ had his volume cranked up way too high, one could hear that the crowd was thoroughly entertained.
I give the televised event a C+ overall based on what was, and what could have been. The fact remains that there are games televised every week to the masses and they can tune in at any time. The All-Star “Weekend” is meant to bring more than just that to the table, encapsulating all the personality and interaction that the athletes have to offer.
I hope a lot has been learned through this event but more importantly I hope the NBL draws a line in the sand to not tolerate that kind of production again.