Your guide to the Elam Ending in Sunday's NBA All-Star Game


By: Meghan Carroll

The Elam Ending will make its second All-Star appearance on Sunday night

Before you tune in to watch the NBA All-Star Game on Suday, there’s a couple things we need to remind you about the ending...The Elam Ending. For the second consecutive year, the NBA will be adopting Dr. Nick Elam’s creaton. For those of you who are new, here’s a rundown:

How it works

The Elam Ending will take effect at the start of the fourth quarter. The game clock will shut off and 24 points -- in honor of Kobe Bryant -- will be added to the leading team’s score. This will be the target score. So, if it’s 100-98 at the end of the third quarter, the first team to 124 will win. The best part? It ensures that there won’t be any endless intentional fouling and the game will end on a made basket.

For TBT fans, this may look a little different and there’s a couple reasons why. In TBT, the Elam Ending goes into effect at the first dead ball under four minutes in the fourth quarter. Eight points are added to the leading team’s score. So, if it’s 70-68, the first team to reach the 78 target score is the winner.


How it started

TBT adopted the Elam Ending in 2017 after Mensa member and college professor Nick Elam emailed us a 67-page document with a way to end games without all the intentional fouls. After testing it out at the TBT 2017 Jamboree, it’s been a tournament staple ever since. Over the past three years it has taken off and become a basketball sensation. 

One of the Elam Ending’s biggest advocates is 11x All-Star Chris Paul. In TBT 2019, Paul coached Team CP3 to the Greensboro Regional Finals. In the first round, Team CP3 hit an epic Elam Ending winning three courtesy of P.J. Hairston to send them to the next round. That prompted CP3 to bring the idea of an All-Star Game Elam Ending to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver...and the rest is history.


Philadelphia 76ers GM Daryl Morey is another huge Elam Ending fanatic. Morey has long said that he would like the NBA to adopt the Elam Ending. Now that it’s making its second consecutive All-Star Game appearance, his dream may just come true one day...


How it went last year

The 2020 All-Star Game was universally regarded as one of the most intense in league history. Despite Team Lebron trailing by nine going into the Elam Ending, they ended up on a 33-22 run to win it. 

After 20 minutes of blocks, steals, charges and high pressure defense, we found ourselves in a 156-155 game with a target score of 157 on the board. Anthony Davis was at the line, only needing one free throw to clinch the win. The first one? Clink off the back rim. The crowd was sent into a frenzy. Finally, Davis knocked down that second shot and Team Lebron took the victory over Team Giannis.


Reaction to last year’s All-Star Game

Many basketball icons took to social media to praise the Elam Ending for making the game so thrilling.


Team Lebron and Team Durant will face off on Sunday at 8pm ET on TNT. Be sure to tune in to see who sinks this years Elam Ending winning bucket!