The National Basketball Association(NBA) has a 63 year-old tradition called “All-Star Weekend”. Each night (friday through Sunday) consist of various competitive skill challenges and three basketball games. One featuring the best first and second year players, the second is for celebrities and players from the WNBA(Women NBA) and the main event being the game between the NBA’s Eastern and Western conferences. I find it very cool that each team is selected by a fan ballot, while the reserves are chosen by a vote among the head coaches from each squad’s respective conference(Eastern or Western). Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players. If a selected player is injured and cannot participate, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement.
The initial objective of this tradition could have been to showcase a game between the best players for the fans and create positive exposure and revenue for the sport. However, it seems that this purpose has evolved over time into a gimmick to target multiple markets. Aside from the fast food commercials(the irony) and all kinds of commercials featuring NBA players, there is also perhaps the most influential market to the sport and that is the foot apparel market. NBA star players thrive on sneaker endorsements and the All-Star Weekend tradition has been a window for fans and sneaker fanatics alike to see some pretty flashy sneakers. This has been a growing trend for the past couple of years. As a fan I hope that the merging of target markets through advertising during All Star Weekend prevents the NBA from having to sell advertising through logos on jerseys like basketball leagues in different countries do.