NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum says NBA ASG needs 'tweaks', not overhaul, after criticism

Mac McClung puts on an absolute show to win the dunk contest (2:12)

Mac McClung scores three perfect 50s and gets the stars buzzing in Utah to win the dunk contest. (2:12)

DAKAR, SENEGAL -- NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum acknowledged to ESPN that the All-Star Game needs minor tweaks following criticism of its intensity levels in Salt Lake City recently.

In defence of the standard of the All-Star Game, which Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone called the "worst basketball game ever played" after leading Team LeBron this year, Tatum argued that management of injury risk should be prioritised alongside competitiveness.

However, he insisted that the 2023 All-Star Weekend was a success overall and the event did not need to be fundamentally re-conceived.

Tatum told ESPN while attending the Basketball Africa League in Dakar, Senegal: "There's no doubt - we have to look at the All-Star game and make some tweaks and continue to ensure that it's an entertaining product for the fans out there.

"At the same time, we have to be cautious. It is an exhibition game, so we don't want players getting hurt during that game.

"Understand: there's a balance there. It's something that we're looking at - and having conversations, by the way, with the players, on things that we might be able to do differently next year."

In Tatum's eyes, record fan engagement pointed to the fact that it wasn't a failure of a weekend at all, saying: "I would say that when we think about the All-Star game, it is the one time of the year where we bring in the best basketball players in the world, in our league, in one place.

"That's why the engagement you're seeing sets records. This year, we had a record [1.75 billion] fan engagements - social media and digital engagements around the world. The All-Star Saturday night, the performance that Mac McClung gave on All-Star Saturday night, broke records.

"Our games there were broadcasted in 214 countries... The engagement numbers are really what mattered there because it's a fan event. It's an exhibition game; it's an All-Star weekend demonstrating the best talent in the NBA, but there are also other business objectives there.

"It's our biggest event to host marketing partners and partners from around the world."