The San Antonio Spurs almost always have a representative in the NBA All-Star Game. For 2018, however, things will look different.
The San Antonio Spurs’ representation in the NBA All-Star Game has been consistent. Players like Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Kawhi Leonard became perennial All-Stars, while Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and LaMarcus Aldridge represented the Silver and Black during this annual game, as well. However, this exhibition will look different for the future Spurs that make it.
On Tuesday, the NBA made a big announcement about the format of the 2018 All-Star game. Traditionally the game is between the best players from the Western Conference and Eastern Conference as voted by fans, players, coaches and the media.
Instead of the two conferences facing off, the two players who receive the most votes in each conference will be selected as captains for the teams. Both will then select the players they want for their team, similar to an NBA fantasy draft. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, five players from the East and West will be chosen as the starters based on fans, players, and media voting. The bench players will still be selected by the league’s coaches.
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) October 3, 2017
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The NBA is not the first league to adopt this format. Before the 2013 NFL season, the league announced for the Pro Bowl that two alumni NFL captains would be selected and they would then select from a pool of the best players. The NFL used this format up until last season as they went back to the original AFC vs. NFC format.
With the format of the game now, fans could see LeBron James on the same team with Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook could be teammates with Kyrie Irving, and vice versa. The Eastern Conference leads the all-time series 37-29. However, since 2000, the West has won 12 matchups while the East has only won 6.
The Western Conference has been more talented than the Eastern Conference in recent years and this move will look to level the playing field. The game is set to be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 18th and will be nationally televised on TNT.