In an effort to enliven a stale event, the NBA made a series of changes to the All-Star Game coming to Los Angeles this Feb. 18. One was to have captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry pick the teams playground style (well, if on the playground the two walked away and picked the teams in secret then came back and told everyone the results — the draft should have been televised, or at least been done live through social media). They also bumped up the pay for the winning team ($100,000 per player).
Another change was to have the teams play for local charities — $350,000 to the charity of the winning team and $150,000 for the losing team — and Wednesday morning those charities were announced.
Team LeBron will play for the After-School All-Stars Los Angeles, which was founded in 1992 by Arnold Schwarzenegger and provides year-round, school-based, comprehensive after-school programs to about 8,000 youth in 52 low-income schools in the city.
Team Stephen will play for the Brotherhood Crusade, a 50-year-old grassroots organization that works to improve the quality of life and fill the unmet needs of low-income, underserved, under-represented and disenfranchised individuals through health and wellness programs, facilitating academic success, providing access to artistic excellence and cultural awareness, increasing financial literacy, and more.
However all the changes work out in sparking a better All-Star Game, the addition of charities as a cause to play for is a good one — and one that needs to continue. This needs to be about more than basketball.