The All-Star Game Matters

It’s more than just a glorified pick-up game

I don’t think I can thank commissioner Adam Silver enough for changing the voting process from relying solely on fan votes to allowing the players and the media to have a bearing on who should start the All-Star game. I honestly think that it was the best way to go about it without excluding the fans’ participation. The fan votes still accounted for the bulk of the vote (50%) while players and media votes both accounted for 25% and if ever there was a tie in the rankings, the fans were the tiebreaker.

The fan votes really wouldn’t do justice to some players, especially those who play in small markets, because most of the fans would just vote for the popular players even if they weren’t playing at an All-Star level. I think that people should stop interpreting the term All-Star as someone who is really popular in the league and instead interpret “All-Star” as a player who contributes greatly to his team in multiple ways and leads them to wins.

If it was only up to the fans, Zaza FREAKING Pachulia (who averages only 6ppg and 6rpg) would have started for the West over studs like Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins just because he had the support of his country, Georgia. Dwyane Wade would have been starting this year over more deserving players who have carried their teams to the top seeds in their conference like DeMar DeRozan, Isaiah Thomas, and Kyle Lowry. There’s nothing wrong with popularity alone but popularity is not always equivalent to being one of the best players.

In an ideal scenario, the five starters on the team should, more or less, be the best players in the conference. It has been a bit tricky the past couple of years because the fans would vote for someone who might not be one of the best players which causes controversy because another player who had been playing well would not be rewarded. The new system tries to fix that issue by having the media and players have their say as well and they know much more than the fans because they’re both closer to the game.

I’m glad the league decided to add this subtle fix because they want to show that even though the All-Star game is really “for the fans”, they want the players to be chosen not just because they’re popular but also because the media and their fellow players acknowledge how well they’re playing. This is great for the league because I think that the All-Star game should always be the showcase of the best players playing for the best teams in the first half of the season. I don’t like to think of it as a popularity contest. It should be a reward for all the players who have been playing well and are winning.

Originally published at on February 3, 2017.

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