Kevin Durant Explains Why NBA Players Aren’t Playing Hard In The All-Star Game

Photo by Evan Yu/NBAE via Getty Images


The 2023 NBA All-Star in Salt Lake City left a bad taste in the mouth of many pundits, fans and media members.

While defense has never been and shouldn’t be a main thing of focus in the All-Star Game, after very competitive games in 2020 and 2022, this year was just a horrific display of basketball. It wasn’t even a real game, nor a scrimmage at times, rather than just a couple of friends jacking up half-court shots with the world watching.

Granted, a much smaller part of the world as usual – according to figures published by Sports Media Watch, the game Sunday averaged a combined 2.2 rating and 4.59 million viewers, which is a significant decline from the 2022 All-Star Game, which averaged a 3.1 rating (a previous record low) and 6.28 million viewers. 

Even All-Star head coach Michael Malone admitted that it was “the worst basketball game ever played.”

Now, Kevin Durant, who missed the All-Star Game due to an injury, revealed his theory on why the NBA stars aren’t playing hard in All-Star games any more.


“My theory on it is, All-Star Weekend for us as players, the draw is like the eight-day break,” Durant said. “Even if you’re an All-Star you still get those three or four days. Look at Jayson Tatum, played 50 games already, high minutes. I think guys are thinking about that more so than putting on a show during the game. Because before, you go from might play Thursday, Friday, cruise into the All-Star break and then you play on Tuesday or Wednesday. So, you’re still in that game mode a little bit. You know you can’t relax, maybe that is one of the reasons why guys might not be as interested in the weekend.”


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