By Kevin Murphy ‘22

The exact middle of the NBA season is soon approaching with the fan-favorite NBA All-Star game to be played soon. What used to be a boring exhibition game has recently changed into a real, competitive game with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line.

The NBA recently changed the rules of the All-Star game by allowing each team to choose a charity of their choice and donating $100,000 to the team that wins each quarter, and $500,000 to the team that wins the entire game. With close to a million dollars on the line for charity, the players compete at a high level making for an extremely entertaining game between the best players in the game.

“This is one of the first times I have actually been excited about watching the All-Star game,” said senior Colin Ashley. “I usually would just watch the highlights on YouTube but now the game is actually competitive.”

The two captains this year, LeBron James and Kevin Durant, chose the teams backyard style in the All-Star selection draft. LeBron decided to go young, drafting players like Darius Garland and Luka Doncic while also balancing it with more established veterans like reigning MVP Nikola Jokic and three-time NBA Finals winner Steph Curry.

Kevin Durant, who fans are already saying picked the worst All-Star team of all time, drafted players like Andrew Wiggins and LaMelo Ball, who only made the roster because of injuries of the true all-stars. Although Team Durant has some great names like Ja Morant, who has a chance to win MVP this year in only his second season, they lack the depth and skill to compete with Team LeBron.

Not only do the fans think this, but also Las Vegas, who has set Team LeBron as the six point favorite. You know Vegas is always looking to make a quick dollar against the average Joes who thinks they know more about sports than hundreds of experts.

“Las Vegas is lucky that I am not 21 because I would be betting my future kids’ high school tuition on Team LeBron. There is no way that they lose that day,” said senior Jack McCall.

It would not be an NBA event without a little drama to go behind the scenes, this time involving James Harden. Harden’s recent blockbuster trade to leave his teammate Kevin Durant because of Harden’s lackluster play caused reporters to drill Kevin Durant with questions the entire draft. Durant deflected these questions well, but his actions proved louder than words when he passed on Harden in the last round and left him for Team LeBron.

“I think it’s really funny that they picked Harden last, especially because Durant had the option to choose him,” said Jack Lausch. “I hope Harden can get his revenge.”

The only thing fans can do now is wait until February 20 to see if Team Durant can pull off the upset or LeBron leads his team to an expected victory.