NEW YORK, NY—Last night, NBA Commissioner David Stern announced a controversial change to this year’s All-Star Weekend: instead of the Haier Shooting Stars competition, the Sprite Slam Dunk will be preceded by a game between the Eastern and Western Conferences’ most overpaid players.
The change has concerned some league investors, citing that exposing how bloated some player contracts are will upend the league by demonstrating that some General Managers have absolutely no sports business acumen. But Stern trusts that this game will be a positive new addition to the league’s mid-season extravaganza.
“The All-Star Weekend is a time for renewal for the league, especially for the players. Giving select players the opportunity to reassert themselves as stars in this league can help them demonstrate to fans all over the world that they deserve every penny they’re paid,” Stern said with a sly grin.
Stern went on to explain the importance of transparency for the most globalized major sports league in the world. “In the best case, this event will be an affirmation for everyone involved. At worst, it will jump-start some much-needed changes in some of our front offices. In the interest of the NBA’s future, I am prepared for either outcome.”
The rosters for the HSBC Contract Classic (shown in full below) consist of a range of NBA talent, including former all-stars (e.g. Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter), players who have made little to no contribution to their teams (e.g. Eddy Curry, Luke Walton) and players who are essentially being paid to not be on the team (Marco Jaric).
And it seems that Commissioner Stern has fully embraced the fan perception of overpaid players, using it to inform the team names and the stakes for the game. “The Eastern and Western Conference both have talented squads, so I expect the competition to be at an all-time high…especially because the losing team will be subject to immediate contract re-negotiations commensurate with their respective performance to date.”
When asked in a press conference whether he was worried about resistance from the NBA Players Association about what clearly violates the current collective bargaining agreement, Stern smiled and said, “I’m David Stern. Next question.”