Sunday, 7 August 2011


Over the last few months, I've watched every All-Star Game from 1984 to 2000. Every year, I try to predict (obviously with the benefit of hindsight) which new players will be given their All-Star berth and, simultaneously, try to determine which players we have seen the back of due to old age. It's like watching NBA history play out in front of me while sat on the sofa with a beer in hand.

Watching the 2000 All-Star Game earlier today, it became clear that a new era of basketball had started.

There was no All-Star Game in 1999 due to he NBA's lockout - a very real (and depressing) possibility for the 2012 extravaganza scheduled for Orlando. Therefore, two years had passed between the 1998 game and the 2000 game held in Oakland, California.

And boy, did a lot change in those two years.

An incredible nine players made their All-Star debut in 2000. To put that into perspective, just three players made their All-Star debut in 2011.

By 2000, gone were Michael Jordan (temporarily), Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Clyde Drexler and Patrick Ewing from the All-Star proceedings. Meanwhile, although David Robinson, Karl Malone and John Stockton appeared in the 2000 spectacle, all were reaching the end of their legendary careers.

In their place? Allen Iverson and Vince Carter were amongst those making their All-Star debuts. Other soon-to-be superstars made just their second or third appearances: Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and Jason Kidd.

Out with the old, in with the new.

This got me thinking... might we see a similar occurrence as a result of this year's lockout? The lockout certainly threatens the likelihood of the 2012 All-Star Game taking place which means NBA fans would have to wait until February 2013 for the next showcase of the League's elite players.

By then, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett will be 36 while Kobe Bryant will be 34; at 39 years of age, you would expect Steve Nash and Jason Kidd to be past caring; Shaq is already retired; Iverson is out of the league; TMac may as well be. Out of this group, only Kobe and, at a push, KG stand a realistic chance of playing in the 2013 game.

Obviously there will be some familiar faces. Players like LeBron James and Dwight Howard will be at the peak of their abilities in 2013, in the same way that Shaq bridged the gap during the lockout enforced delay-of-play between 1998 and 2000.

But, when you next watch an NBA All-Star Game, things could look very different.

All of which reminds me of an old Nike advert. It went a little (but not quite) like this...

The revolution will be led by Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kevin Love and Kevin Durant

The revolution will be about basketball, and basketball is the truth.

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