The National Basketball Association's All-Star Game will be held Sunday, Feb. 15, at New York's Madison Square Garden, preceded by three days of festivities -- including televised skills challenges, slam-dunk and three-point contests, and celebrity scrimmages.
All of this comes three weekends after the National Hockey League celebrated its top players at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, with a similar series of multiple and meaningless all-star happenings.
Forget for a moment the argument that such weekends are little more than overhyped money-making media events. The bigger issue here is the length of the professional basketball and hockey seasons. These all-star exhibitions signal only the halfway point of regular seasons that began before I stopped mowing my lawn in 2014.
The NBA tipped off its preseason on Oct. 4, and the puck dropped on the 2014-15 NHL season four days later. Each league has 30 teams that play 82 regular-season games. But with playoffs in which more than half of those teams (16) qualify -- compared with 12 of 32 teams for the National Football League playoffs and 10 of 30 for Major League Baseball's postseason -- neither the NBA or NHL will wrap up until June.
Between now and then, the Wisconsin Badgers men's basketball team could be crowned national champions, UW running back Melvin Gordon is going to be drafted by an NFL team, the Milwaukee Brewers will be almost three months into their season and I will have mowed my lawn at least five times.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should strongly consider reducing either the number of games played or the number of teams allowed into the postseason -- even if that means a tad less money for all involved. Fan interest would spike, and an already grueling schedule would take a lesser toll on players' minds and bodies.
As none other than LeBron James told the media in October, back when this NBA season was still young: "We want to protect the prize, and the prize is the players. If the guys are being injured because there [are] so many games, we can't promote it at a high level. It's something that obviously won't change tomorrow or anytime soon. But it's something we should definitely talk about."