In today’s society, the NBA All-Star Game is a fan-centric event. The players are selected by the NBA fans and with a little bit of influence from the coaches and their peers, they either become starters or reserves with their respective conferences. For every player like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James, there are a few surprising players that have become starters in the All-Star Game at some point in time. In honor of Andrew Wiggins receiving his first All-Star nomination and receiving backlash from all walks of the NBA world, here are three of the most surprising All-Star Starters of all time.
The year was 1993. Michael Jordan has retired from the NBA for the first time and the Chicago Bulls are Scottie Pippen’s team now but B.J. Armstrong was gaining traction from the Chicago faithful. In the 1993-94 season before the All-Star break, Armstrong was averaging 15.8 points per game on 47.5% shooting.
The surprising thing in his case was that with 529K votes, Armstrong had more votes than any other All-Star not named Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal. That’s right, not even his own teammate Scottie Pippen received more votes than Armstrong, but Pippen got the last laugh by leading all players with 29 points and earning All-Star Game MVP honors. After his time with Chicago, Armstrong would only have one season in double figures.
A.I., The Answer. One of the greatest point guards of the late 90s into the 2000s but in his farewell season, should not have been selected in the 2010 NBA All Star Game. His selection was only there due to his popularity with the fans. Allen Iverson started the 2009-10 season with Memphis and as a PR stunt, returned to play for the Philadelphia 76ers.
In 28 games between two teams (Memphis and Philadelphia), Iverson averaged 13.1 points per game with 3.9 assists per game. Iverson received more votes than Steve Nash and Tim Duncan, who were also starters in the All-Star Game. The irony of all this, Iverson could not even participate in the festivities due to personal reasons. Another missed opportunity for a legend.
The 1990 NBA All-Star Game features some of the greatest names in the biz. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Olajuwon, and A.C. Green. One of these names is not like the others. In the 1980s, if you were a quality member of the Los Angeles Lakers, you were very popular with the voters. Before the All-Star break in 1990, Green averaged a respectable 13.3 points per game and 9 rebounds per game.
Those stats are fine, but when it comes to the other stars like Karl Malone and Xavier McDaniel, it was pedestrian. A.C. Green received over 160K votes which was 1,200 more than Malone and 2,000 more than McDaniel and was 3,000 votes away from passing his own teammate James Worthy, as the top vote-getter at forward for the Western Conference. In the 1990 All-Star Game, Green only played 11 minutes and scored zero points in the game which was his only All-Star appearance in his career. In the long run, A.C. Green became a starter in the 1990 All-Star Game because of his character, his hustle, and his association with the Lakers.
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