Kobe Bryant didn’t hesitate to claim he was a better one-on-one player than LeBron James. He believes that one-on-one is his style and LeBron is more of a team player. The worst part about him making this statement is we will never find out. Currently in the NBA there is no system or competition of sorts that allows us to watch our favorite players go head-to-head.
How often do you get in a debate over Kobe or LeBron? Dwayne Wade or Kobe? Durant or James? Chris Paul or Deron Williams? Carmelo or Wade?
The list goes on-and-on. Players are compared individually by fans and media members on a daily basis. Instead of factoring in who has the better talent around them, how many team games they’ve won and who makes their teammates better. Let’s find out on a man-to-man head-to-head basis who has more individual talent.
How can we find out whose the king of the hill? Simple: All-Star Weekend.
The All-Star weekend is already filled with plenty of events and is always a highlighted weekend on the NBA calendar. But, these events either suck or aren’t what they once were.
The skills challenge is the first major competition on the agenda. Featuring the NBA’s top point guards in a timed obstacle of shooting, dribbling and passing. This event started in 2003 and has gained little hype since the start. The biggest issue is it constantly seems as if the point guards don’t care and are putting forth a half-hearted effort.
Followed by the skills challenge is the shooting stars competition featuring a retired NBA player, a WNBA player and one current NBA player on four teams. Let's be honest, do we really care? This competition the majority of the time just comes down to who can hit a half court shot the quickest at the end. If I want to watch half court shots I’ll just tune in to LeBron James’ pregame where he attempts three to five of them underhanded.
The final two with a historic past: the slam dunk contest and three-point challenge. It seems as if these two events have been around forever. They have been the two biggest staples to the NBA’s special weekend. The only problem is they have both died down incredibly.
The three-point challenge is the most overhyped event. You sit there watching, waiting for something exciting to happen only to remember that this is just NBA players shooting the ball! Something you see every single game. Also, is this really a test of how great a shooter someone is? There is no one contesting their shot, no one passing the shooter the ball and nothing on the line!
Nevertheless, the three-point challenge is just a repetitive competition with different players each year. The slam dunk contest is supposed to be different. The slam dunk contest was once one of the most exciting part of the regular season with greats like Dr. J, Michael Jordan, and Dominique Wilkins participating.
Over the years it has dwindled down due to lack of star players and creativity. How creative can someone be? How many different ways can you dunk a ball? People are simply running out of ideas because almost everything has been done.
The NBA All-Star weekend has slowly turned from ‘must-see TV’ to something people just TiVo and catch it later in the week if they have time. That’s why we finally need a change. Something to spice it up, add intensity and get the fans excited about All-Star weekend once again.
Welcome, the one-on-one tournament to the NBA’s biggest stage. An eight-player single-elimination tournament. It doesn’t matter their position, lets just get the best in the game and throw them in a competitive tournament that is sure to get intense. With all the pride and bragging rights at stake, it would become the most entertaining weekend event.
Here would be the basic the rules:
-first to 11 points wins.
-all scores count for one point.
-one referee calling all violations.
-12 second shot clock.
-after every made bucket the ball is checked at the top of the key.
-you score, you keep the ball (winners').
With those rules we could finally establish the greatest debates in basketball, who is better one-on-one: LeBron or Kobe? Wade or Carmelo? Durant or LeBron? And any list you can come up with.
Then we come to the biggest issue of all. Would the Elite NBA Players such as Kobe, LeBron, Carmelo actually participate in this event? At first, maybe. But over time, I believe they would feel an urge to play.
With young guns such as Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Derrick Rose and others participating in these events, eventually the best will feel compelled to play when these younger stars take claim as the best NBA one-on-one player. The elite players in the NBA would be fueled by these cocky athletes talking loads-of-crap of how they're the ‘king of the hill.’
Let’s say it didn’t work and the older NBA studs didn’t want to participate. Is there any average NBA fan that wouldn’t watch NBA players competitively go at it one-on-one. How awesome would it be to see awkward mismatches like Joakim Noah vs. Rajon Rondo or entertaining guard battles like Stephen Curry vs. Tyreke Evans.
The NBA is back. It was clear this summer with all the free agency hype and speculation. The LeBron James announcement on ESPN’s ‘The Decision’ solidified basketball as the number two sport in America. The only issue is one of its biggest moments on the NBA calendar needs some tuning.
Maybe Kobe’s comments will lead to something other than just speculation. It’s time we start spicing up the All-Star weekend with something that could potentially dethrone the Slam Dunk Contest and reinvent the NBA All-Star Weekend.
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