NBA All Star Weekend

Blogtable writers talk past vs present ahead of NBA All Star game

THE African Blogtable brings together some of the top basketball minds from across the continent to answer some of the league’s most pressing questions about the 2023-24 NBA season.

NBA All-Star returns to Indianapolis from February 16-18 for the first time since 1985. To celebrate the nearly forty years between the two midseason showcases in Indiana and the return of the Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format, the NBA posed a fun hypothetical scenario to local and international journalists: in a tournament-style matchup between 1985, won 140-129 by The West squad, and 2024 All-Star teams, who do you think would win?

1985 East 2024 East
Vs. → Winner Vs. Winner ← Vs.
1985 West 2024 West


The NBA All-Star 2024 is a global celebration of basketball. A record number of international players in the NBA taking part in this year’s games and competitions. Get full weekend coverage on ESPN and NBA League Pass and the NBA All-Star Game on Canal + and ZAP (Angola/Mozambique) on February 19 at 03:00 a.m. CAT.

Alex Isaboke, Capital FM (Kenya): Pairing the two sides, I will go with 1985 West vs 2024 West where the current West side, captained by LeBron James, I predict, would eventually lift the 2024 NBA All-Star title, because technology has aided develop the game of basketball by helping the current players perfect their vertical jump, dribbling and on-court intensities; which are the traits that define the versatility of this year’s Western Conference lineup. They have excellent playmaking with LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, and Devin Booker, fantastic shooting with Luka Doncic, Steph Curry, and Devin Booker, and pace and athleticism in Paul George, Luka Doncic, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, with that intensity I do not think the Michael Jordan-led team will match, though it will be an entertaining final.

Amine El Amiri, Le Matin (Morocco): It is always hard to compare players in different eras. By just looking at the roster of both the 1985 and 2024 NBA All-Star Games, you can only imagine that the hypothetical game would be an absolute stunner. In the 1985 game, the Western Conference team won by 11 points, despite the Eastern Conference team being stacked with legends. But for me, I would’ve picked the Eastern team to win. In 2024, I think the West has more game changers and can rely on evergreen LeBron James to make a difference, along with the likes of Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic. Still, I think that the 1985 Eastern team has got more power and a more defensive team. Having five Hall of Famers as starters would guarantee the offensive end would be an absolute Magic show (no pun intended).

Damas Sikubwabo, The New Times (Rwanda): The Western Conference wins this year’s All-Star game, I reckon. Players on this team have the best scoring statistics this season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luka Doncic, and Kevin Durant can light up the court with their scoring prowess. Of course, LeBron James and Nikola Jokic’s skills speak volumes. Of course, the Eastern Conference has great players as well, but I guess the Western Conference will be too hot to handle for them. Also, it might be fair to say that the Western Conference has been more competitive this year and this also gives them an edge.


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Now, if this year’s Western Conference came up against with the 1985 Western Conference, it would be a tough battle. The 1985 team is a very good scoring team as well, as it boasts the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, playing alongside the Ralph Sampson and Magic Johnson. The two teams would be a spectacle for the fans.  In the end I think the 1985 team has a greater chance to walk away with the victory.

Nicasius Agwanda, Clouds Media (Tanzania): First, what rules are being applied? If it’s the 80’s era rules, I’d take both the West and East from 1985 winning the whole thing. But with the current rules, my take would be the current West team because of just one reason, shooting. The size is there, and they shoot so well with the three-pointers being a subject of interest right now. The 1985 East was very good, but Michael Jordan was still young while Dr. J was two years from retirement. Shooting would be the main reason  I’d choose the 2024 team.

Sindiswa Mabunda, The Big Tip Off (South Africa): In my opinion, the 2024 NBA All-Star Team from the Western Conference will win this year’s game. Furthermore, I believe they would also win if they were to play against the winning team from the 1985 All-Star Game. Although seven players from the 1985 West Team went on to be Hall of Famers, I think that the versatility and depth of the 2024 West Team in every position would put them in a position to win the game. The likes of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Nikola Jokic, among others, make it hard to pick the 1985 team over the talent we currently have.

Lebron James will star in All Star weekend
LeBron James talents will be on display in Indiana in the All Star Game. Pictures: Getty Images

We must account for recency bias, but the size, athleticism, and IQ that LeBron possesses, combined with the scoring ability of Durant and Jokic’s ability to alternate between being a centre and handling the ball, along with Steph Curry’s shooting skills, make the 2024 West Team hard to overlook. In a head-to-head comparison at every position, they have the edge. The game would be tightly contested, but the 2024 West Team would come out on top.

Tosin Abayomi, Pulse (Nigeria): The 1985 squad had legendary big men  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Moses Malone from both conferences.  The guard rotation of Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, and Magic Johnson were also in their prime.  Larry Bird was the reigning league MVP and Julius Erving at the time was also a dangerous wing player.  The modern-day game, however, will give the 2024 NBA All-Stars an edge in that match-up.  The 2024 West set, however, possesses more scoring options from the guard and wing positions.  With Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Devin Booker, and Steph Curry the 2024 NBA All-Stars are almost unguardable.  LeBron James and Kevin Durant are the greatest to have played the game. They make it so much more difficult for the 1985 side to have a shot at winning. It would be a fun matchup though.

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