The NFL on Tuesday announced the reformation of its Pro Bowl team selection process. Gone are the traditional AFC vs. NFC rosters, replaced by a schoolyard-type "Captain's Choice" format where two captains will select the rosters.
It's more fun. It's more exciting. It's easier to understand and distribute talent. It's done the same way in the NHL.
And it's absolutely ridiculous the NBA hasn't taken this approach.
Basketball, above all sports, is the ultimate "pick 'em" game. An inherent part of its culture is the playground game where two established good players pick the rest trying to build the best for their teams (or in many cases, trying to balance out the talent so it doesn't get out of hand). It's basketball darwinism at the elite levels, and it not only is familiar to anyone who's played ball, but it makes for all sorts of hilarious situations.
There's been noise about it. Last year the All-Star Weekend Rising Stars challenge between the rookies and sophomores was selected using TNT personalities as captains. But with the NFL's move, it's clearly time for the NBA to go a similar format.
The obstacles have to do with logistics, but also pride. Getting selected to be an All-Star is an honor. Being the last All-Star selected will be seen as an insult. Not getting picked by your teammate wil be considered an insult.
But think of the awesome hilarity it will bring! I've long maintained that beyond the grandeur of NBA playoffs and its noble championship history lies a league rife with contract years, hangover games, internal strife, and unbelievable egos.
And the All-Star game in such a format would cause amazing situations. Imagine LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the top two finishers for MVP last season, and the top two favorites for next season, are selected as captains. Does LeBron take his teammate and championship partner Dwyane Wade first (assume Wade is selected)? If he takes Wade No. 1 does he have to take Chris Bosh No. 3? If you're Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant is right there, can you justify taking Russell Westbrook? What if Kobe is captain, and he needs a center, only the only one left is Dwight Howard?
The possibilities are endless!
And the decisions could be broken down for days before and after the game. It only adds to the interest in the game, which is often the least interesting component of the entire weekend.
The NFL's move doesn't in any way embarrass the league, but it may put more of a fire underneath the NBA to change their format. The league is traditionally proud of the fact it's one of the most progressive on all fronts. It has embraced the digital age like no other, and is constantly seeking out new technologies and approaches to try and make its game better. The inherent flexibility of its game provides this, since all you need is a regulation slab of wood, two goals, ten players and a ball.
Seeing both the NFL and NHL move toward this kind of an approach has to have the NBA wondering if it's time the NBA All-Star game becomes a pick-up game. If it weren't for the unbelievable amount of money to be made off jersey sales, I'd say they should take it one step further and let the guys play in street clothes.
Finally, the idea of a game where the traditional format of making a free throw elects every other team member seems like a great plan until you get to Dwight Howard. That could wind up painful.