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All-Star rookies vs. sophomores game may see changes

Jan 23, 2012, 4:49 PM EDT

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It’s one of the “highlights” — and we use the term loosely — of Friday night of All-Star weekend: NBA rookies taking on NBA sophomores (officially called the Rookie Challenge). There’s a lot of showboating and not a lot of defense — basically a less interesting version of the All-Star game itself. But this year things may be different. We’re reserve our judgment on better, but different. Here are the rumblings, via Alex Kennedy of

There have been rumblings that this year’s Rookie-Sophomore game won’t pit the two draft classes against each other, but rather feature two teams with a combination of rookies and sophomores. We’re hearing that two TNT personalities – possibly Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal – will assemble the teams from the pool of selected players and coach the squads, as well. That means we could see Kyrie Irving throwing alley oops to Blake Griffin or John Wall running a fastbreak with MarShon Brooks.

All changes to such an event are made in an effort to improve the television product. So, Shaq mumbling coaching instructions and Ricky Rubio looking at his teammates and asking, “What did he say?” in much clearer English does have the potential to be a better product. And funnier. But we’ll withhold judgment. We’re not sure much of anything can save this game.

  1. rooney24 - Jan 23, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    It might be more interesting to see the coaches pick the teams from the pool of players than to see the actual game. It would be interesting to see who would get picked first and who would be the last guy picked. I bet none of those guys have been the last guy picked for a looong time (if ever in their lives).

    • raidmagic - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      That would be CLASSIC!!!! Right before tip off pick em live on tv and play a pick up style game. I bet it would be way more entertaining.

  2. cosmicatomic - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    I actually enjoy the rookie/soph game and this sounds like a fun improvement.

    I guess any time spent watching the rookie/soph game is time spent NOT washing LeBron’s balls. That’s probably the reason Kurt isn’t a fan…

  3. bearsstillsuck - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    People actually watch that game?

  4. glink123 - Jan 23, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    “Shaq mumbling coaching instructions and Ricky Rubio looking at his teammates and asking, “What did he say?” in much clearer English”

    hilarious :)

  5. tomshoe - Jan 23, 2012 at 6:35 PM

    If I was GM, I would have a Rookies vs. D-League All-Stars Challenge.

    The story practically writes itself, the entitled ones vs. the guys asking for just one chance.

    Plus if the D-League won, it would really increase the value of the D-League.

    • phaktor333 - Jan 23, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      …or even better…the used to be entitled ones that blew it.

  6. charlutes - Jan 23, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I like the idea of mixing up the draft years, but i don’t want to see a side show circus with ring leader shaq. give the players an incentive to win the game and lets see some awesome basketball.

  7. tcclark - Jan 24, 2012 at 2:29 PM

    This would be a rip off of the NHL All-Star game. They did this last year and it was a huge success. I would actually like it more for the All-star game though than the Rookie-Sophomore game. I like watching to see if the Rookies can win. They’re a clear underdog. East vs. West is boring. Do it for the real stars instead

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