NBA commissioner Adam Silver is considering extending the all-star break from four days to seven days, according to the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale. Which is not a bad idea.
The all-star schedule is crazy for some players. Some players have to play on Thursday night and be at some all-star functions by noon Friday. That’s madness, considering the game isn’t until Sunday night. And then games resume Tuesday night.
Lots of players get nearly a full week off — from Wednesday night to Tuesday night, some even Wednesday to Wednesday — but for the all-stars, it’s a grind. LeBron James, apparently, has been politicking for a longer break. And you can’t blame him. The NBA’s most important commodity is its superstars. Keeping the LeBrons and Kevin Durants and Chris Pauls fresh is good for business.
And besides, the NBA All-Star break is a little goofy anyway. Baseball’s all-star break starts after a round of Sunday games, and this year the action resumed on Friday. Which means baseball lost no weekend dates, which are the prime spots on the calendar.
The NBA takes a weekend off. Box offices are important in some NBA ports, less so in others, and the day of the week doesn’t matter in a lot of places that are automatic sellouts. But still, it’s better for franchises to play on weekends. Better for the local economy, better for the fans who can come earlier and stay later, better for the franchises that do have to push to get butts in the seats.
Expanding the NBA all-star break to a full week won’t add a weekend to the schedule. But it could mean more weekend games. The league has said each team is likely to play an extra back-to-back per season. Back-to-backs are games on consecutive nights, which the league tries to limit.
The nature of the NBA all-star game makes it destined to be played on the weekend. It’s not just television’s preference. The all-star game has become a virtual hip-hop convention, and the weekends are more conducive for the influx of visitors that want to take part in all-star festivities.
Extending the all-star break, say from Thursday to Thursday, could give most teams a full eight days off. A TNT doubleheader on a Thursday night, followed by the all-star stuff, then three full days off — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. A TNT doubleheader could restart things on Thursday, followed by a full slate of games on Friday.