While the concept of the newly-formed British Basketball League All-Stars maybe much different to a regular season game, BBL coaches are relishing the big day at the O2 Arena on September 24.
Leicester Riders coach Rob Paternostro, who won the treble last season and Surrey Scorchers playcaller Creon Raftopoulos faced each other in a thrilling Playoff series last season. The two sides will feature at the pre-season event in London that has fans still asking questions about the event and whether it will be successful, but the two coaches are looking forward to a fresh new event that could change the landscape of the league.
“We are really looking forward to playing in the 02 again, it’s a world class arena and anytime you get a chance to step on that floor it’s exciting,” Paternostro said. “I really like the concept of having eight teams and those team supporters at one venue, it will be a great way to bring all the supporters around the league together which always creates a great atmosphere.”
The brains behind the BBL All-Stars is innovative sports-promoter Barry Hearn, who has created the one-day pre-season event featuring the teams that finished in the top eight last season. The games are just 12 minutes long with a 20-second shot clock. An All-Star five-point line offers rewards for those willing to brave a shot from distance while teams will also have a two-minute power play at their disposal, during which any points will be doubled.
The overall winner of the event will take home £100,000.
With the ever-growing FIBA 3×3 tournaments that have just gained Olympic status and the Big3 event in the USA increasing in popularity, the sport of basketball is changing constantly in order to reach a fresh new audience. The BBL with Hearn on its side is also going in that direction and while it’s a risk, with the All-Star event’s different outlook to a regular season game, some of the loyal supporters might be put off.
However, it’s an approach that is needed.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for the BBL so I’m sure all coaches and players will wants to give a good account of our league,” said Scorchers coach Raftopoulos.
“I can honestly say that it will be different coaching in this game as opposed to a BBL game. I look at it being a scorers and shooters game with the five-point line and shorter shot clock. I think the key decision will be when you use your power play.”
So while Newcastle, Sheffield, Worcester, Bristol, Glasgow, London as well as Leicester and Surrey think about when to use their power play, the league will be thinking about what will happen after the All-Stars event. And hopefully, it will be for good.