Denver Nuggets’ head coach Mike Malone doesn’t approve of the 2023 NBA All-Star Game‘s quality of play. During the exhibition’s after-game press conference, Malone, 51, spoke about the Sunday night game (Feb. 19), which saw Team Giannis take down Team LeBron 184-175 at Salt Lake City’s Vivint Arena.
He expressed that the All-Star Game may be unfixable, with many participating players historically refusing to play defense for fear of getting hurt during the celebration.
“It’s an honor to be here, it’s an honor to be a part of a great weekend, great players, but that is the worst basketball game ever played,” the coach said. “They put on a show for the fans, but that is a tough game to sit through, I’m not going to lie,” Malone added.
According to ESPN, Stephen A. Smith supported Malone’s critique, asserting that the game showed “a flagrant lack of effort.”
“I applaud Coach Malone for highlighting the flagrant lack of effort. In basketball, they play in the summer leagues, they play in the offseason considerably harder than they played yesterday. Hell no, I didn’t enjoy it. It just reeks of a level of arrogance and taking fans for granted.”
“There was no effort whatsoever,” Smith, 55, continued. “What we should be able to see, other than dunks, we should not be able to look at a basketball game and know that anybody can be on the court with you based on the effort you are putting on display.”
While there may be some criticism for the All-Star’s decrease in competitive play, there was an injury scare during the game’s first half.
As LeBron James attempted to make a genuine defensive stop against Pascal Siakam, he was ultimately injured as he hit his hand on the rim, resulting in the Los Angeles Lakers star sitting out the second half.