The NBA All-Star Game proved to be a faulty product once again in 2024.

Jaylen Brown, who represented the Boston Celtics for a third time at All-Star weekend, both as a dunk contest participant and Eastern Conference reserve, understands the outside narrative. From afar, watching a non-competitive, nearly effortless four quarters of basketball defeats the purpose of gathering the league’s brightest stars for a marquee showdown.

Yet, even with all the heat the NBA’s getting hit with after both teams nearly combined to score 400 points, Brown doesn’t see a whole lot changing.

“It will be hard to see a change from being fun,” Brown said during a visit to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, according to Jorge Figueroa Loza of GFR Media. “I think that’s what players prefer. I know the fans want to see us compete because we are the best in the world. … You win nothing in the All-Star Game. It’s just media bragging rights, maybe. Everybody is trying to stay healthy.”

Story continues below advertisement

Then again, there’s playing with caution and then there’s playing with no intentions of contesting a single shot, whether it’d be four inches from the rim or 40 feet out. Sunday night’s East-West battle was exactly what commissioner Adam Silver didn’t want to see, and for several reasons.

Brown was the only All-Star who chose to participate in the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest, competing alongside two G-Leaguers (Mac McClung and Jacob Toppin) and a rookie (Javier Jacquez Jr.). It’s notable that Brown was willing to step up when not a single other All-Star was willing to compete.

That was just the start of what became a wasted opportunity.

Story continues below advertisement

Being subjected to a much-too-long night of uneventful skills challenge and 3-point shootout battles, fans tuned in for the most boring NBA game of the year, headlined by a handful of future Hall of Famers. Seemingly impossible on paper, the East and West impressively ruined All-Star weekend by turning a highly-anticipated exhibition into a nonchalant open gym run.

Nikola Jokic and Luka Doncic barely lifted their feet off the floor, Damian Lillard was recognized as the MVP for nailing wide-open 3-pointers and a record-setting 211 points were scored by the East — a record with a big, bold asterisk right next to it.

There’s no easy fix moving forward. If the players don’t value what the All-Star Game has meant to generations of players before, and more importantly, the fans, then Silver and the league office will need to get very creative.

Featured image via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images