Are people still fans of NBA All-Star Saturday night?

Saturday night’s during All-Star weekend used to be the highlight of the NBA’s mid-season festivities, what with the slam dunk contest and the 3-point shootout, plus the skills challenge and whatever new innovation the league had come up with that particular year.

For decades, the slam dunk contest held sway, with the some of greatest feats of athleticism fans of basketball had witnessed, being demonstrated by the stars of the game.

Then the 3-point contest rose to prominence, not coincidentally at the same time that the shot revolutionized the sport.

In recent years, there has been discourse that both the dunk contest and 3-point contest have gotten stale. Saturday night’s in general really. And that is before you take into consideration the LED court that made its debut.

As CBS Sports’s Sam Quin wrote, following Mac McClung’s second straight dunk contest win, “the Dunk Contest, as we saw Saturday night, is out of original ideas.”

Quin isn’t alone with that sentiment.

Fox Sports’ Yaron Weitzman had similar thoughts.

“Stop us if you’ve heard this before: The dunk contest is broken,” he wrote. “Saturday night’s event in Indianapolis was, once again, a snooze fest. Mac McClung won with some cool dunks, but the overall contest was a bore. 

As it turns out, though, NBA All-Star Saturday night is still a hit.

Per NBA Communications, last night’s proceedings, which included a one-versus-one 3-point shooting contest between Steph Curry and WNBA star Sabrina Ionescu, was the most watched Saturday night of All-Star weekend in four years, topping out with 10 million unique viewers across TNT, truTV and B/R Sports (Bleacher Report) on Max.

That was a 54% increase in viewers from NBA All-Star Saturday night last year, held in Salt Lake City.

ESPN’s Kevin Pelton graded the events, and settled on Steph vs. Sabrina being the event of the night, even as Damian Lillard won the 3-point contest, McClung repeated as dunk champion and the Indiana Pacers’ trio of Tyrese Haliburton, Bennedict Mathurin, Myles Turner claimed the skills challenge title.

Pelton gave both Curry and Ionescu A grades for their efforts, writing, “It didn’t take long for Curry to remind everybody who’s the best shooter in the building. Although Curry last participated in the 3-point contest in 2021, winning his second title, he’d be favored to beat anyone, anywhere, any time. After making just three of five shots on the opening rack, Curry shot at least 4-of-5 on his remaining four, including perfect marks from both the left and right wings. Needing to make three of five attempts on his final moneyball rack to win, Curry instead hit four to finish two points shy of tying his record for a single round under the current format.

“Despite losing the GOAT shooter belt to Steph, Ionescu acquitted herself well, shooting from the longer NBA 3-point line (using standard WNBA basketballs). Like Curry and Lillard, Ionescu is a threat well beyond the arc, as she showed by starting with 13 makes in her first 15 attempts. Ionescu may have tired a bit from there, making just half of her final 10 shots, but still matched any round from the 3-point contest. The ultimate takeaway: No matter the league, shooters shoot.”

Utah Jazz star Lauri Markkanen participated in the 3-point contest, but was eliminated after the opening round.

Pelton graded his performance too.

“Markkanen will rue his placement of the moneyball rack. Remarkably, the left wing he chose was the only rack on which Markkanen did not hit at least four shots. Markkanen got just two extra points by going 2-of-5 from his money rack, meaning he was eliminated despite making 19 of his 25 shot attempts.”