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All Star Weekend and those who watch

Is the NBA trying to broaden the appeal of All Star Weekend by upping the amount of pop culture?

This will be missing this year.
This will be missing this year.

Who is All Star Weekend really for?

I've been thinking about this question quite a bit over the last few weeks, ever since I found out I'd be credentialed.

In the past, I've only ever watched the dunk contest, and it's usually because someone tweeted a youtube video or something. All Star Weekend never really got me hyped, and I can't qualify that statement with any reasoning other than the fact that it's meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Also probably because Dirk Nowitzki is USUALLY the only Maverick involved, and he doesn't ever start so whatever.

I'm more excited about it now, obviously, because I'll be here and I'll be a part of it in my own little blogger way, despite the glaringly obvious lack of anyone from the team I cover. But I'm also curious about who really likes All Star Weekend as a whole, and why.

Based on the fact that Saturday night will have a celebrity host this year and that host happens to be the very culturally relevant but much maligned by the blogosphere Nick Cannon, I'd say the NBA is making an effort to reach all sorts of demographics with ASW. According to Andrew Sharp's article that I just linked, somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 people actually watch the Saturday night festivities. Television-ly speaking, that's nothing. So maybe the NBA is trying to broaden the appeal of a weekend on which it spends a gajillion dollars. And who can blame them?

Phillip Phillips is performing. Yes, the guy who won American Idol. Nick Cannon hosts America's Got Talent. I get the sense that the powers that be whose job it is to make money for the NBA are seeing a demographic that they don't normally reach.

Us diehard fans watch because we want to see our favorite player that we follow night in and night out get a chance to shine on a national stage. Some people actually care about the basketball itself, even though it's like fake basketball because who plays defense in the All Star game? That's silly. But I get the sense that there's a seismic shift occurring in the way the NBA markets this lavish weekend in an effort to get more eyeballs on the event.

And there's nothing wrong with that! Except that the diehards don't seem pleased. So what are your thoughts? Would you rather get some pop culture infused into the weekend to make it a bigger deal? Or should they stick with what they've done in the past so that those who have always loved it can continue to love it?

Or is there a way to have both?