The second round of NBA All-Star voting was just released. There were some eye-opening names at the top.
Two names that jumped out are Alex Caruso and Tacko Fall. One player claim to fame is that he is tall and named Tacko. The other averages more highlights on ESPN than points per game (5.5). The question is should voting be taken away from the fans? With players bonuses, legacies and accolades on the line should a simple click of a name determine who plays and doesn’t play in the All-Star game?
History of fans voting
The first All-Star game was played in 1951. The brainchild of NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown. The game has had many iterations since then. Actually the first 24 All-Stars games didnt have fan votes at all. The writers and broadcasters voted for the starting five and three bench players. The coaches filled in the remaining roster.
For the 1974-75 season fans were involved in the selection of the starting five for each conference. The fans were responsible for 100 percent of the starters voted in until 2016-2017 when the percentage was dropped to 50 percent fan, 25 percent media, and 25 players. The reason for this move is because players that had no business being in the conversation were making All-Star games or coming way to close.
Case agasint fans voting
As mention earlier the league came to the conclusion that sometimes the fans may not get it right. In 2014 Kobe Bryant played only six games and still was voted in by the fans. Before the All-Star game, Bryant ask the fans to not vote him in but Bryant still got the nod. Another example is in 2011 when Yao Ming made the team only averaging 10.2 points, 5.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.0 steals, 1.6 blocks. What made it worse is Ming had been out the majority of the season leading up to the game. During the 2010 season, Allen Iverson made was named a starter. Here is his pre-All-Star game statistics.
Pre 2010 ASG: 14.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks . Those numbers probably aren’t top five on his own team that year. Of course, some might say it’s just an exhibition game why does it matter who is voted in?
Why the All-Star voting matters to players
To some fans, they wonder why does it matter? The NBA does want fan involvement in some form or fashion but to NBA players it is not just an exhibition game. For some players, they have incentives built into there contract for number of All-Star games made. When talking about Hall of Fame resumes the number of All-Star games is mentioned almost every time. It is part of there legacy and if a Bryant or Ming makes it in after playing a handful of games it does affect their bottom line. Some players like Mike Conley play their entire career never making an All-Star game even while playing at All-Star level.
The case for fans continuing to vote for All-Star
The alternative to fans voting would be a combination of media, players, and coaches. Whos to say that the solution would be better? Players and coaches don’t have the time to watch other games on a regular basis. The media may have there owned biases toward certain players. In the end, the game isn’t taken seriously by the players until the fourth quarter. It is a spectacle for the fans to see there all there favorite players up close. Taking away fan’s votes may also dampen the fan’s enthusiasm for this exhibition game.