The NBA All-Star Game will abandon the East-West format this season, with two captains selecting the teams regardless of what conference they play in.
The captains for the Feb. 18 game in Los Angeles will be chosen from a fan vote from each conference.
Each roster will still have 12 players, and five players from each conference will be selected as starters. The fan vote will account for 50 percent, player vote will be worth 25 percent and the media vote will count for 25 percent. The seven reserves for each team will then be picked by each conference’s head coaches.
The change is part of a joint effort by the league and the player’s union to bring more interest to the game, which often features very little defense or competitive games. Union president Chris Paul and and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan have been heavily involved in working on the changes, which included alterations to the voting process last season.
“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” Paul said. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”
Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry lead the All-Star voting in their respective conferences.
The new format will allow for players from each conference to play against each other, and for current teammates to also face each other.
All-Star voting will begin on Christmas Day. The coaches will be selected as they have been in the past, with the coach with the best record two weeks before the game in each conference earning the honor. However, the Boston Celtics’ Brad Stevens and the Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr will be ineligible because they coached last season.
“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” said Byron Spruell, the league’s president of league operations.