The NBA All-Star weekend is one of the most anticipated events during the regular season of the world’s largest basketball league. This is a match, where the league’s best players are competing against each other and provide joy to spectators.
Do NBA players get paid for being in an All-Star game? Yes, players actually receive money for participating in an All-Star match. The amount of money is different for the winning and the losing side, but each player is eligible to be awarded a prize from the league.
Every fan of basketball is waiting for an All-Star match to start and year after year we witness more enjoyment. In this article, we will talk about what amount of money players get for taking part in this event.
A Brief History
Before we move to the characteristics of how the money is distributed between players, it is necessary to say a few words about the event. The first All-Star game was held back in 1951. However, it did not enjoy as much popularity as it has now. As the NBA progressed and became more universal, the attention towards the event grew massively and a lot of adjustments were incorporated into the match – especially in recent years. The format changed notably compared to the previous All-Star matches, for example, in the 90s.
Winnings Were Doubled in 2020
In 2020, it was announced that the prize fund increased twice compared to the 2018 All-Star game. To make the game more competitive, players from the winning side got $100,000 each, while the losing side got only $25,000. In 2018, the winners got $50,000 each and perhaps making the match more interesting to watch was one of the main reasons why the NBA decided to increase the prize money.
What About Slam Dunk and 3-Point Contest Competitors?
Of course, the NBA All-Star weekend does not only include the match between the best players in the league. There are other competitions such as the Slam Dunk Contest, the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Shooting Contest. In 2020, the winner of the first one got $100,000 while the second place received $50,000. For the Skills Challenge, the winner gets $50,000 and the second place $35,000. 3-Point Shootout is similar to the Skills Challenge and 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th places are also eligible for receiving a paycheck.
In general, the amount of money could change slightly depending on the season. In the future, we might expect an increase in the number of prize funds, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, which brought significant losses to basketball, such changes look unlikely for the time being.
To make the game even more interesting and help those in need, an All-Star match includes the help of charity. Each team plays for a charity of their choice. This feature was introduced in 2018 when the league announced that it would donate $350,000 to the winning side and $150,000 to the losing side. This is an additional incentive for players, however, this money has nothing to do with the prize that athletes receive for participating in the game.
Discontent Towards the 2021 NBA All-Star Match
2021 was one of the most difficult years when it came to holding the All-Star match, as the majority of players who were not willing to take part in the NBA expressed discontent. Stars continued to oppose the idea of hosting an All-Star Game this season for various reasons. The Los Angeles Clippers leader Kawhi Leonard noted that NBA bosses insisted on the All-Star for the sake of money.
He noted that everyone knew the reason behind playing in an All-Star match – money was at stake. For Leonard, it was an opportunity to earn more. Money turned out to be more important than health. It is hard not to agree with him. The coronavirus pandemic was also very stressful for players, let alone all the damage it brought. Athletes played during a tough pandemic period, followed all these protocols and rules and the 2021 All-Star was somehow tiring for them.
The Milwaukee Bucks leader Giannis Antetokounmpo expressed the same view. The MVP and one of the best players in the league noted that he did not care about the All-Star Game these days. He would prefer to spend a few days off with his family.
In addition to Leonard and Antetokounmpo, Carmelo Anthony and Kemba Walker also spoke out against holding an All-Star weekend. The discontent from players was a sign that money is not everything for them. However, as we all know the match was held and for some people, it was one of the dullest All-Star games that they have witnessed in recent years.
Will the Prize Money Change in the Future?
Considering that the NBA is always for innovations, it seems likely that with the growing interest towards an All-Star match, the prize fund will also grow proportionally. However, the remarks from star players, as we have already discussed above, significantly damage the reputation and name of All-Star. In addition, the pandemic is not over yet and the league is still recovering from financial losses that it went through during the 2019/2020 season when the NBA was halted for almost 6 months. The format of an All-Star game changes frequently too. With all that in mind, we should definitely consider that the chances of raising the prize fund are highly likely.