It appears that the NBA has begun trying to make their All-Star Game a little more competitive.
According to a report from ESPN, players on the winning side of the All-Star Game in February will now receive $100,000 each, up from $50,000 in previous years. Losing players still get $25,000 so the compensation gap between the two sides is significant.
Each player on the winning team will receive $100,000, and the losing team players will pocket $25,000, league sources said. The only modification is the winner’s compensation, with a $50,000 boost from previous years.
All-Star players who spoke to ESPN overwhelmingly agreed that this financial incentive is a game-changer.
“Well, I would like to think so,” Boston Celtics forward Al Horford told ESPN. “I think guys will definitely take the game more seriously. In the last couple of years, the games haven’t been good, and we’re all aware of that. Regardless of that, I think guys are going to come out and compete. But that’s a big incentive, for sure. We’re going to be diving for loose balls out there.”
It’s hard to know whether or not this is real incentive for guys, or if they’re just trying to be good company men and go along with it because, hey, who doesn’t want an extra $100,000?
Guys like LeBron James make around $100,000 for every 12 minutes of gameplay in the regular season. It probably means more to Joel Embiid, who is still on his rookie contract and to which it is proportionally more significant to his salary.
We’ll just have to wait and see if the game is actually more competitive. There’s no doubt the league has to do something to juice up the game itself as it has quickly become the most skippable part of All-Star Weekend.