Despite much of the world’s attention being drawn to the Sochi Olympics right now, this weekend is all about the NBA. The highly anticipated NBA All-Star Weekend is taking place this weekend in New Orleans and it has been a great success so far, despite the different format changes they have introduced for this year.
The biggest and quite possibly the most important change has been the donations the NBA will be making to charity after each event on Saturday. The new format pits the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference in four All-Star competitions. In addition, NBA Cares and State Farm have partnered up to make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $350,000 going to the winning conference’s charities and $150,000 to the runner-up conference’s charities. The Eastern Conference has chosen to represent the American Heart Association and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, while the Western Conference will be representing Teach for America and the Wounded Warrior Project.
In my opinion, I believe that this is a fantastic idea by the NBA. Not only are they putting on a great show for the fans, they are raising huge amounts of money for charity. I think Chris Paul said it best, “State Farm All-Star Saturday Night is a night for the fans and the events provide some of the most memorable moments in NBA history. Not only are we playing for bragging rights, but we are also raising money for charity.” The NBA is attempting to broaden it’s focus past the sport of basketball and demonstrate that it is committed to making a difference in the community, which is something they have always emphasized through their NBA Cares campaign. With this new format, I truly think that everyone comes out a winner.