I know that the All-Star game has never been a “real” game where the two sides really played hard for the win. The game has always been just a way to showcase the talent of the greatest players in the world and nothing more. But in the last few years it has become obvious that it has turned into a game of trading baskets. See for yourself:
NBA All-Star Game 2012
From this we can see that one of the big stories of the All-Star game was that Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan in the scoring record, scoring the most total points in All-Star history. I think that this is an irrelevant record for Kobe because the level of play has changed since Jordan’s time. In Jordan’s day the defense was tough enough that they had to work to score, far different than the non-existent defense of today. Now I know that even in Jordan’s time no one played play-off style defense, but they didn’t just stand back and let them score either. You can see the level of defense decline over the years if you watch the some of the older All-Star games like this one from early in Jordan’s career:
This game looks like a real regular season game. Now, jump forward to these highlights from later in Jordan’s career even though this was in Jordan’s prime you can see some lazy defense here:
I believe that defense wins games, and that if you know anything about basketball you can really appreciate a great defensive play. So, in my opinion, the All-Star game has changed to what is today because of uneducated viewer demand for more flashy dunks and plays that are spectacular. While this is fine to have high scoring offensive games I think that a block that sends the ball into the crowd or an amazing steal can excite the fans too and should not be forgotten in this showcase of talent.