How Does the NBA All-Star Game Work?

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Every February, the NBA treats its players, fans, and the whole community to a 3-day celebration of basketball — the All-Star Weekend. The All-Star Weekend is a well-deserved break for the whole NBA community before things get serious in the 2nd Half of the regular season.

This weekend is highlighted by annually anticipated activities such as the Slam Dunk Contest and the 3-Point Contest. However, the main event is none other than the All-Star Game. But how does the NBA All-Star Game work? Let’s go through the ins and outs of one of the NBA’s biggest events for the year.

What is the NBA All-Star GameWhat is the NBA All-Star Game?

The All-Star Game is the last event of the All-Star Weekend. As the name suggests, the All-Star Game is played by the league’s top superstars for the year. A host of players from the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference are given the honor of playing in the NBA’s most prestigious game of the season. Every ASG is expected to be unique, entertaining, and legendary in its own way. Through the years, the ASG has become a global affair, with media and fans from all over the world flocking to the host city to witness this showcase.

The All-Star Game is a breather for most of the people in the NBA community, including the players. It is during this game that players are able to come out of their competitive shells and play a more relaxed game in front of the fans. The game serves as a platform for the league’s brightest superstars to interact, team up with fellow stars, and even compete against their teammates. The ASG is the All-Star Weekend’s highlight, and it’s not hard to see why.

What is the Format of the NBA All-Star GamesWhat is the Format of the NBA All-Star Games?

Over the years, the NBA All-Star game format has changed significantly. These changes were crafted and executed in an effort to enhance excitement and engagement with the community. One of the things that saw a major change was the selection process of the teams for the game. Back then, ASG teams were picked based on where they played in the regular season. It was fairly simple — players who played in the Eastern Conference repped the East, whereas teams from the West represented the West.

However, things are a little more complicated (but exciting) now.

First things first, the usual 12-man contingent from the East and the West are voted in to create a 24-man pool. However, the top two players — one from each conference — in terms of fan votes, are named captains of the two teams for the All-Star Game. These two captains will then hold a live draft during the day of the ASG, reminding us of the old-fashioned pick-up games we used to play as kids. This new format of picking the teams for the ASG has injected new thrill for the game and even additional intrigue.

Once all the players have been picked, the All-Star Game formally starts. The first three quarters are played the usual way — a 12-minute quarter featuring highlight plays from the league’s brightest stars. However, the final quarter is when things get really competitive.

Contrary to the usual NBA game, the fourth quarter is played without a set time. Instead, teams need to reach a target score (plus 24 points to the leading team’s score after the 3rd quarter). This ensures that teams do their best to win the game and treat the whole community to the best 4th quarter of the year.

How are Players Chosen to Play for the NBA All-Star GamesHow are Players Chosen to Play for the NBA All-Star Games?

Playing for the All-Star Game is a huge honor for an NBA player. In fact, the number of times an NBA player has made it to the All-Star is a measure of individual success. With that said, the NBA All-Star game selection is not a walk in the park. To get into the team, you need to be voted by three groups of people — all with different views and biases about the game. This ensures that whoever gets voted to become an All-Star is really deserving of the title.

Here are those three groups:


At the end of the day, the All-Star Game was created for the fans, so it just makes sense that they play a huge part in naming the year’s All-Stars. Nowadays, fan voting can be done in numerous ways, and modern technology has allowed the NBA to reach more people, which bodes well for the league’s international superstars. As you would expect, fans would usually vote for their favorite players or superstars of their favorite teams.

Players and Media

The players and the media watch the league day in and day out, so it’s safe to say that they are the ones who are really immersed in the game. These people see and play with potential All-Stars, so it’s just right that they also have a say in whether a person deserves a spot on the team or not.


Much like the players, coaches Get a closer look at the potential All-Stars for the year. Additionally, coaches have a different view of the game, often more analytic and empathetic since they also see players’ off-court performance. Coaches play a very important role in a player’s development, so it is just fitting that they also get the power to vote deserving players into the roster.

How Does Scoring Work in the NBA All-Star GameHow Does Scoring Work in the NBA All-Star Game?

The NBA All-Star game follows the same scoring as a regular basketball. Free throws are worth a point, while field goals can be worth two or three points. However, how the winner is decided makes the All-Star Game a lot more complicated but exciting.

Nowadays, the All-Star Game is played in four individual quarters. The first three quarters were played for 12 minutes each, with a winner being declared after every quarter. However, in the 4th, all the scores are added, and a target score is declared: the leading team’s score plus 24. Both teams will then race to reach that target score first to be declared the winning team.

Do Players Get Paid for Winning All-Star GamesDo Players Get Paid for Winning All-Star Games?

As of writing, it is known for a fact that players are not individually paid for participating in or winning the All-Star Game. Being named an All-Star is a prestigious honor in itself, and no amount could top that — especially for the best multi-millionaire professional basketball players in the world.

However, some players do get a bonus from their teams for being named an All-Star. Having an All-Star is also a great honor for NBA teams, so owners and GMs make sure to incentivize this achievement. Outside of that, All-Stars also get the full VIP treatment during the All-Star Weekend from exclusive practices, events, travel accommodations, and endorsement deals.

It is also worth noting that the All-Star Game is a hub for charity donations. So, while the best players play for pride and honor, they also play for a good cause.

5 Best NBA All-Star Game Performances5 Best NBA All-Star Game Performances

The All-Star Game is the pinnacle of NBA basketball. With the game being played by the league’s brightest stars, it comes as no surprise that one or two of these big names end up doing something insane for the day. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Russell Westbrook (2017)

Russell Westbrook turned heads when he played in New Orleans for the 2017 All-Star Game. If you have been following basketball for a while now, you know that the 2016-2017 season was THE Russell Westbrook season — it was the year that cemented his legacy in the Hall of Fame. Westbrook dropped 41 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists.

However, his output wasn’t the only insane thing about that year’s ASG. Brodie was infamously left out of the All-Star starters despite frontrunning the MVP race that season, and he was also not awarded the ASG MVP that year.

Steph Curry (2022)

Steph Curry is one of the most entertaining players to ever play in the NBA, so every ASG that Curry is a part of is a must-watch. In 2022, after an injury-riddled season, Curry finally played in the ASG again and wasted no time in producing a performance for the ages. Curry scored 50 points in a way fitting for the greatest shooter of all time — sinking 16 threes during the game. He smashed the previous All-Star record set by Paul George, who had a seemingly measly made nine threes in Toronto back in 2016.

Kobe Bryant (2011)

The All-Star Game MVP award is named after the late Kobe Bryant for good reason. The Black Mamba was a notorious ASG performer and was a must-watch in the All-Star Weekend during the 2000s. With 37 points in his name during the 2011 All-Star, Kobe won his record-tying 4th All-Star MVP and cemented his legacy as perhaps the greatest All-Star Game player of all time.

Michael Jordan (1988)

All roads lead to Michael Jordan, and the All-Star Game is no exception. In 1988, a sophomore Michael Jordan ushered the likes of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to the new era of basketball through a 40-point explosion. This was Jordan’s first All-Star MVP and served as the prelude to what would become a decade of His Airness’ dominance.

Anthony Davis (2017)

The record for most points in an All-Star Game is 52 points, a record that belongs to the Brow, Anthony Davis. This was apparently enough for him to land that year’s ASG MVP and edge out Westbrook’s 41-point outing. What made this achievement more special is the fact that Davis did this in front of his then-home crowd in New Orleans during the first-ever All-Star Game in the city.

Wrapping Things Up: How Does the NBA All-Star Game Work?

The All-Star Game is the pinnacle of NBA basketball. Every year, the league’s brightest superstars gather to play the most star-studded game of basketball of the year. Being named an All-Star is one of the biggest achievements a player can get because it is not an easy feat. To be an All-Star, you have to be voted in by players, fans, coaches, and the media. The All-Star Game, however, boasts one of the most entertaining formats of gameplay. Drafted teams will play three 12-minute quarters, while the last quarter is played with a target score. A lot can be said about the All-Star Game, but one thing is for sure: it sure is entertaining.

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Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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