Ways to make All Star weekend even sweeter, straight from players and President Lisa Borders.
MINNEAPOLIS—It’s hard to ask for much more out of the 2018 WNBA All-Star Weekend. The 3-point challenge was exciting, as Allie Quigley won over Kayla McBride in the bonus round. As for the game itself, Maya Moore took home game MVP honors on her home floor. That’s a good weekend.
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Yet, it can be better. Fans and players each want to say more. Take Dallas’ Liz Cambage, Washington’s Kristi Toliver and Elena Delle Donne, and Chicago’s Quigley. Each player suggested improvements for next weekend.
- Delle Donne, and others, suggested a skills competition similar to what the NBA currently has.
- Cambage was half-jokingly asked about her joining the 3-point contest, to which she replied that her and Brittney Griner were lamenting the lack of bigs in the contest. Both players have 3-point range, as do several frontcourt players in the league. Splitting the pool into backcourt and -frontcourt players was something that was even floated.
- Toliver wanted to see a game of H-O-R-S-E, an idea the NBA once used but since retired. However, that’s not a reason not to do it. Finding a way to make it their own could make it a great success.
- After Quigley jokingly suggested a dunk contest, Cambage responded, “Girl, I’m not in my early 20s anymore. It took a lot for that one. I went to pull up for a 3-pointer and Candace [Parker] told me to dunk it.” Considering this event would essentially require a pool of players 6’7’’ or taller, this one is unlikely to come to fruition.
Some other ideas could be fun that could also showcase more of the league’s talent is a Rookies vs Sophomores game. This format has been used before but we’re not being graded on originality here. With so much young talent coming into the league each year, this could be a lot of fun. It could be 5-on-5 or 3-on-3 and it could still be appealing.
But how realistic are these ideas? Well, WNBA President Lisa Borders spoke on this in Minneapolis over All-Star Weekend.
"Vegas, are you listening? So really it’s about programming and scheduling. We are looking at that right now. We’ve heard a lot of the players say to us we’d like more skills challenge, we’d like to have more folks involved. So just as I said about looking at officiating, we’ll look at All-Star, we’ll look at the entire scheduling process because we’ll have a little more time next year. It’s not an Olympic year, it’s not a FIBA year, so we’ll be able to breathe hopefully just a little bit and have some more time. So time is usually the main thing that keeps things compressed, but next year we’ll have a little bit more of it, so we’ll take a look."
It’s clear that the league is aware of these desires and is open to them. Experimenting with different events before any summer tournaments like FIBA or the Olympics would be ideal as long as they can schedule it. Considering the 2019 WNBA All-Star game is in Las Vegas, it’s hard to think of a better place to roll out new ideas.
However, it’s not as simple as just do these things but those logistical details can be hammered out. Each of the ideas — Rookies vs Sophomores, H-O-R-S-E, and skills competition — could be exciting additions to build on a fun 2018 All-Star Weekend.