Ask any sports fans which is better, watching from a couch, bar stool or anything that offers some degree of comfort whilst watching the big game or watching in a stadium or arena and I can bet my last Mahama money on the latter being picked more. Everyone wants to go see their sports hero do what they know best in the flesh and not have to stare at a firm bright glass for hours. The ambiance, cheering, jeering to naked insults, nothing comes to what one feels when fixed in an environment specifically made for sports history to be made. Unless you find yourself wrapped in a damp, down ridden arena like that I see dotted around Ghana, then going to the stadium is a must.

The 65th All-Star game has come and is gone with the best of everything John Naismith would never have dreamt of when he invented the game of basketball in Canada. Between Aaron Gordon and champion Zach LaVine, the notion of playing basketball below the rim can be safely put to bed at least for one night after both men or boys defied gravity as they dueled for votes from a legendary panel.

The following night again was all about celebration; celebrating the greatness of Kobe Bryant for the last time before the five time champion hangs his high tops at the end of the season. This is the perfect end for a truly international superstar who epitomizes the very essence of the word international having been raised in Italy and the ability to speak fluently in English, Spanish and Italian. And what better way to climax the first ever international All-Star Game than honouring the international basketball god who befittingly has a statue made in his honour in Ghangzhou, China.

The allure of multiple stars converging in one city has dazzled the world, Drake, Kevin Hart et al added a touch of Hollywood spice to it and the Splash Brothers went head to head for the 3-point throne. Now it is all gone and everything will be back to normal. The Golden State Warriors will march on as they journey deep into the NBA schedule minefield to dig up 72 wins and then some and become immortalized. The San Antonio Spurs minus Kawhi Leonard will be back to below the rim antics they are so notoriously known for and their fellow Western Conference outfit Memphis Grizzlies go turbo without Marc Gasol gobbling up the after burners with countless post ups. The fans will come back to earth and face the harsh realities of what the entire weekend cost them.

Expenditure on All-Star related activities can be pricey for the average fan and this trend does not look like stopping anytime soon. The least a fan had to pay to watch LaVine and Gordon in the impressive dunk contest and main All Star game on Val’s day was $978 dollars. To get closer to the action-talking about court side seats- a fan had to pay as much as $7,300 dollars in the Air Canada Center. Last year’s event held in New York City was more expensive with the average ticket costing $3304 dollars. On the bright side, host cities of All Star game have benefited immensely from playing host to the world virtually with New York reporting $200 million dollars being injected into the local economy according to The Guardian.

On the other hand, fans are having to give up a lot to see their favourite players strut their stuff against each other. For Toronto fans who have to put up with one All Star player at a time-think Tracy McGardy, Vince Carter, Chris Bosh-having Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan play in the All Star game in their home city is a god send. However, considering the steep price of tickets I find it hard to believe many a fan will be able to see the dynamic duo in action. Pricing fans out is a dangerous thing to do just ask England’s Liverpool Football Club where NBA superstar LeBron James is a minority stakeholder. The Reds announced price hikes which had tickets go from 58 pounds to 77 pounds to spark all round ire around Anfield and the entire league.

It spilled over into Germany where Dortmund fans protested for similar hikes in an away German Cup tie against Stuttgart by flooding the field with tennis balls. It is curious prices get increased in times where the financial landscape is undulating as the hills of the Himalayas coupled with increased money from TV deals set to kick in next season that will fetch the English League a whopping 8 billion dollars. Since then prices have been scaled back to what they were before but the damage has already been done. The sight of tennis balls on polished wood and not clay or grass seems unlikely but the NBA must be weary of over pricing itself out of fans reach.



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