When the NBA announced they'd be making radical changes to their All-Star game format, reception was mixed. But last night's exhibition ended up being more entertaining than any All-Star game in recent memory as Team LeBron and Team Giannis both turned up the heat in the untimed, commercial-free fourth quarter.
It was fun to watch, and the ratings reflected that. Turner Sports released the numbers: their coverage averaged 7.3 million viewers, an eight percent increase from last season.
More people undoubtedly tuned in than normal to see the various Kobe Bryant tributes throughout the contest, but the new format definitely paid dividends for the league. Previous iterations of the All-Star Game were fine, but there was no competitiveness because there were no stakes.
With charity money and bragging rights on the line with a creative twist in the new quarter-by-quarter set-up, we got to see the 10 best players in the world lock down and focus in a pick-up game. It was great, and hopefully will start a new trend for the ASG.