For the first time ever the famous NBA All-Star Game, an exhibition game hosted annually by the NBA, which matches the Eastern Conference with their Western Conference counterparts, will be played in two different stadiums. When the All-Star Game comes to the East, to New York for the first time since 1998, the Games will not be played in just one stadium, but instead, they will be hosted at Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center. Mayor Bloomberg remarks that in New York, “We’re lucky enough to have two world-class arenas, and the only thing better than having All-Star weekend at Madison Square Garden or the Barclays Center is having it at both of them.” However, this change has created a stir among fans. Never before has there been two locations for the All-Star games. Even if the stadiums are only just over five miles apart and being connected by a handful of subway stops, some fans are not content with the change.
Going out to the crowd of basketball fans around the University, we wanted to know how they felt about this change. Luke Horn, a sophomore, was excited. “Dude, it’s going to be in New York. Who cares? Plus, more spread is more fan space,” he exclaimed. His friends were equally excited but some, like junior Nadir Soniq, were a bit confused as to why there had to be two different stadiums. Nadir questioned this idea, “Why are we wasting money for two stadiums? It just seems pointless and what is happening to the tradition. No one else has done this. We don’t need to be the ones to be annoying about it.” So, the displeasure comes from the lack of following traditions and the waste of money. This idealism seems to go along with what other fans are bothered with. There is tradition in their games. The NBA All-Star Weekend began back in the Boston Garden on Mar. 2, 1951, and in all of these years, the fans along with the rest of the NBA have built traditions. The question lies in whether or not this split of stadiums is breaking these traditions. Although Mayor Bloomberg argues and fully believes that this separation will bring in more tourism, with the wider spread of fans many are still not content with his decision.
Unfortunately for Mayor Bloomberg, customary habits for the fans are a big deal. From Sunday night football to the ceremonial first pitch in a baseball game, fans live in this fundamental traditionalism. While the idea of spread, a boost in the tourism and the new locations seems wonderful, the change has been a bit drastic for some. Still, the four previous times that New York has hosted the NBA All-Star Weekend, it has been hosted at Madison Square Garden and that is not changing. The first game will still be played in Manhattan’s prestigious Garden while the preliminary events will happen at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Barclays has only been around since Sept. of last year, but has gained much attention as it is state of the art, and easily competes with the Madison Square Garden. Jordan Cruch, a freshman, says, “As long as the games go well, and things are well planned, it doesn’t really matter, does it? The NBA is okay with this and people are just being dumb.”
After hearing the reaction of many of the basketball fanatics here at the University, it seems that these “traditions” set are more fondly cared of by the older fans, whereas the younger fans find it good that things are changing. And as Cruch pointed out, the NBA has responded well to this change. NBA Commissioner David Stern affirms this idea. “New York offers an extraordinary opportunity to host NBA All-Star events at two world-class venues,” said Stern. “We look forward to celebrating our game with basketball fans across the entire city, in all five boroughs.”