Stephen Curry Wanted To Keep All-Star Draft Off TV To Protect Players’ Feelings

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

To inject some much-needed excitement into the NBA All-Star Game, the league altered the format for 2018: Rather than have Eastern Conference stars square off against West foes, two captains—leading vote-getters from each conference—would select teams from the pool of selected All-Stars.

Originally, the intention was to air the All-Star draft on television—and with good reason, as such an event would likely provide more excitement than the actual game—but as we drew closer to the date, that plan got scrapped.

Instead, LeBron James and Stephen Curry selected their squads in secret.

But in an interview on ESPN’s “The Jump” last week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver seemed to indicate the privatization of the All-Star draft had come at the behest of Curry himself.

“I agree with Steph,” Silver said. “He’s the one who said, ‘Give us a break. We changed the format for the first time. Let’s see how it goes, and then we can talk about televising it.’ My sense is that already what we’ve heard, certainly from the media, even from the players themselves, is I think we could have a lot of fun around a draft. So, if things go as we hope they will, I’m sure that’ll be something we sit back down and talk to the union about.”

Curry expressed that opinion after learning he’d been voted to be a captain.

“I’ve always been a proponent of protecting the players,” the Golden State Warriors superstar told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I know that’s the unpopular position in this day and age. We’re all grown men, and we can handle it. We’re All-Stars and what not. But we want to see how the whole format goes the first time, so it’s presented in the right light.”

He thought similarly even before he was named a captain.

“My only thing with making it live — with the way social media is now and how everything is hyped up — there’s potential for those last two to four picks to get ridiculed or what-not,” Curry told the Athletic. “At the end of the day, they’re All-Stars. I don’t want to put anyone in that situation.

“Obviously, somebody has to be picked last if you’re doing it that way, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re less than the rest of the guys. But that’s the one thing you want to be sensitive toward — one meme comes out, one GIF or whatever it’s called, and you’re trying to make fun of an NBA All-Star? That’s one thing I want to make sure doesn’t happen.”

It seems that Curry has now seen the light, and hopes to have next year’s All-Star draft televised.

Ideally, captains in 2019 will pick their teams on the spot—like, five minutes before tipoff, pickup style.

But knowing the league, they’d probably prefer to give the draft its own night for the sake or ratings and revenue . That’s fine, I guess. Just televise it so we can make fun of LaMarcus Aldridge and Al Horford in real time.