By Ovunc Kutlu
NEW YORK (AA) -- A new NBA All-Star Game format has been introduced for this season which will not see the usual Eastern versus Western conference matchup, the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced Tuesday.
The format that put the best players from the Eastern and Western conferences head-to-head has been set aside for the first time in 66 years.
The two players who receive the most fan votes in their conferences will be team captains. The captains will then draft their teammates from a pool of players without any regard to their conferences.
“We’re excited about the new All-Star format and appreciate the players’ willingness to try something new,” NBA President of League Operations Byron Spruell said in a statement.
The 2018 All-Star teams will also play for charity -- a new concept in an All-Star game.
"Each team will select a Los Angeles-area charity or national organization where donations will be used to support local efforts," the statement said.
"I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” National Basketball Players Association President Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets said in the statement.
“We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.," he added.
The process of selecting All-Star players will be the same as last year.
Ten starters will be selected by a combination of points, in which fans will have 50 percent of voting and current players 25 percent while media members will have 25 percent of the say.
The remaining 14 players will be selected by the head coaches in the NBA.
Team captains and starters will be announced on Jan. 18, while reserves will be announced on Jan. 23, while voting will begin on Dec. 25.
The 67th All-Star Game will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 18 at 8:00 p.m. EST.