The first All-Star game in sports predates all others by almost 25 years. It was played on January 2, 1908, before 3,500 fans at the Montreal Arena between the Montreal Wanderers and a team of All-Stars players from the teams the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association. It was held in memory of Montreal Wanderers player Hod Stuart, who had drowned three months after the Wanderers won the Stanley Cup in 1907.
The first All-Star Game was held on July 6, 1933, at Comiskey Park in Chicago as part of the 1933 World's Fair, and was initiated by Arch Ward, then sports editor for the Chicago Tribune. Initially intended to be a one-time event, its great success resulted in making the contest an annual one.
The idea of holding an All-Star Game was conceived during a meeting between NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown. At that time, the basketball world had just been rocked by the college basketball point-shaving scandal.
In order to regain public attention to the league, Cohen suggested the league to host an exhibition game featuring the league's best players, similar to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Although most people, including Podoloff, were pessimistic about the idea, Brown remained confident that it would be a success, and he even offered to host the game and to cover all the expenses or potential losses incurred from the game. The first All-Star Game was hosted at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951, where the Eastern All-Stars team defeated the Western All-Stars team, 111–94.
The first football "Pro All-Star Game", featuring the all-stars of the 1938 season (as well as three players from the Los Angeles Bulldogs and Hollywood Bears, who were not members of the league), was played on January 15, 1939 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. The NFL All-Star Game was played again in Los Angeles in 1940 and then in New York and Philadelphia in 1941 and 1942 respectively. Although originally planned as an annual contest, the all-star game was discontinued after 1942 because of travel restrictions put in place during World War II. During the first five all-star games, an all-star team would face that year's league champion. The league champion won the first four games before the all-stars were victorious in the final game of this early series.