By Shawn Muller–
Let me be clear on one thing: I used to think it was pretty cool that the fans of the NBA were given the opportunity to vote for the players they would like to see start in the All-Star game. After all, professional basketball would nothing without the people that pay the bills, so why not give us commoners a chance to feel like we have a voice? Sounds good, right? I thought so too…but now, I disagree with this 100 percent.
When the NBA revealed, yesterday, the starting lineups for the All-Star game, set to take place on February 20th, I decided that I no longer want the fans anywhere near an all-star ballot box ever again. This “tradition” should officially be discontinued due to the fact that Yao Ming was voted in as the starting center for the Western Conference.
This is a joke right? Yao Ming! The last time I checked, Ming missed all of last season, is out for the rest of this season, and more than likely, could have to retire from the league due to injury. What’s even more ridiculous is, not only did Yao Ming win the fan vote as the starting center for the West squad, he beat out his next closest competitor—Lakers Center, Andrew Bynum—by almost 300,000 votes! How does a guy who has only played in 5 games all season even make it on to the ballot in the first place, let alone win the starting spot?
I get that the league wants to ensure that the people get to see the most popular players take the floor together at the same time…but make sure the guy even has the ability to take the floor! Even if we didn’t have fan voting– more often than not– the best players in each conference would more than likely get the nod to play in the game anyway. Do you really think players like Derrick Rose, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant—to name a few—would not be selected to play if the voting was left up to the players and coaches? Of course they would.
If the NBA wants to involve the fans, then let them decide who takes up the last roster spot for each team. The league could come up with a list of five players from each conference and have the fans select a player from that list. This ensures that the people are still involved in the all-star voting process, but more importantly, it ensures that we won’t see any more Yao Ming-type situations.
Every year we see players that are having great individual seasons get snubbed by the fans because they are not amongst the “most popular” players. It may be a career year for a guy—a season he may never have again—and being selected to the all-star game by his peers could end up being the highlight of his time in the league.
Reward the players that deserve to play in the all-star game…not just the players who have the biggest name cache’.
Do you agree with Shawn? Post your comments below.
Shawn Muller has lived in Chicago for 7 years. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and just recently received his certificate in radio broadcasting in October of 2010. Sports have always been a passion of Shawn’s. In his free time, Shawn enjoys spending time with his wife Melissa and 3 year old daughter Ava, catching any live sporting event, and traveling. Check out his radio show, “Grab Some Bench with Muller and Bangser” at www.blogtalkradio.com/spmuller24.