This archived article was written by: Nate Davis
The NBA All-Star game is set to take place Feb.12 in Arlington, Texas at Cowboy Stadium, but if you ask me, something’s rotten in the state of Denmark … er Texas.
The All-Star game is supposed to be a chance for the best players in the league to play together, and showcase their skills. Currently, fans vote for who they want to see in the game. The leading vote getters are named the All-Star starters; reserve players are picked by the two head coaches. But recently fan voting has gotten out of hand. Allen Iverson struggled to perform, and announced his retirement earlier this season. He then decided to give it one more go with his first team the Philadelphia 76ers, being named to the game.
Iverson was one of the game’s most exciting players in his prime. I always enjoyed following him, on and off the court. There were many memorable moments in his career and life. My personal favorite was his rant on practices. I understand that fans like him and that he has had an amazing career, but voting him onto the All-Star team detracts from the game and players that deserve to be on the team. He has only played 20 games this season, and is averaging 14 points per game. Iverson accepted the invitation, and will be in the starting lineup of the All-Star game.
Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen said that by fans selecting players who don’t deserve to be in the game it makes the game “watered down.” Not many people watch the All-Star game anymore anyway. With the most exciting action happening in the three-point shootout, and the slam dunk contest.
If this was just for Iverson, who may retire in the near future I could understand it. I can remember when Magic Johnson was named to the All-Star team after he’d retired. But Tracy McGrady was nearly voted on picked as a starter, over Steve Nash. McGrady has played in a total of six games this season. And he was nearly selected as an All-Star over one of the best point guards in the league.
I think the fans should have some voice in who makes it to the All-Star game, but the current voting system is ridiculous. Teams regularly encourage fans to vote for every player on their favorite team regardless of their performance. Fans have too much say in the matter. Let the fans vote for who they want, then have coaches and players vote, and combined the two results.
Fan voting isn’t just a problem in the NBA. Last year Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez was nearly voted to the All-Star team even though he was suspended for most of the first half of the season, for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Hopefully future voting procedures will be handled differently. And the players that deserve to be there will be. And if a player who didn’t have an all-star season gets selected, it would be nice if he’d have the class, to politely decline the invitation.