Blog Entry

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Posted on: January 21, 2010 11:39 am
Edited on: January 21, 2010 7:48 pm
Embarrassment averted.

The All-Star starters were revealed Thursday night on TNT before the nationally televised rematch of the Cavs' Christmas Day blowout of the Lakers.

Thankfully, Tracy McGrady wasn't one of them.

All hail Steve Nash, who passed T-Mac in the final weeks of voting and will start alongside Kobe Bryant in the Western Conference backcourt in the Feb. 14 All-Star Game in Dallas. McGrady, who has played all of six games this season, won't be faced with the inglorious decision of having to decline an invitation he didn't deserve.

In another fan-voting quirk that was less controversial than a T-Mac starting nod would've been, Allen Iverson will start alongside Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference backcourt. The other East starters: Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Kevin Garnett (assuming he's healthy).

Joining Kobe and Nash on the West's starting five: Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Tim Duncan, who passed Dirk Nowitzki in the final three weeks of voting.

"No Dirk as a starter?" Mavs owner Mark Cuban tweeted. "Time to change the rules for voting."

McGrady carried a 2,375-vote lead over Nash into the final three weeks of balloting, which was conducted by fans via paper, online, and wireless voting. If Nash hadn't passed McGrady, the right thing for T-Mac to do would've been politely decline.

It wouldn't have cost him a dime, either. A source with knowledge of the situation said McGrady has no All-Star bonus clauses in his contract, which pays him a league-high $23 million this season.

It's better for everyone this way. McGrady is trying to come back from microfracture surgery. More to the point, he would benefit immensely if the Rockets were somehow able to trade him before the Feb. 18 trade deadline. McGrady didn't need to risk his health or his already suffering reputation by trying to dust himself off for a few meaningless All-Star minutes.

I don't have a problem with Iverson starting; he's been a fan favorite his entire career, certainly deserves it based on his body of work, and -- this is important -- is actually suiting up for the Sixers, albeit at a remarkably reduced rate of effectiveness.

In spite of Nash's fortunate comeback, I agree with Boston's Ray Allen and would be in favor of tweaking the voting system to divide the say-so among fans, media members, and players. The players, more than anybody else, know who's deserving and who isn't. The coaches should retain their ability to select the reserves. 

On one hand, you don't want to take away the fans' investment in the game, which after all is at least partly -- or mostly -- for their entertainment. But the All-Star Game badly needs a dose of legitimacy. Gone are the days when Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins could dominate All-Star weekend with their exploits in the dunk contest. That exercise long ago became a farce, and once again none of the marquee stars will participate this year.

So instead of complaining, I offer a solution. Not the only solution, but a start. Instead of voting by position, the fans vote for any 10 players they want from each conference. The players do the same. Their votes are weighted equally, and the top eight in each conference make the team. All 30 coaches vote to determine the 10 starters. The East coach and West coach fill out the roster with four reserves each.

The media? I'm not sure whom to count as media anymore, so let's leave us out of it. We'll just write about what happens.

Perfect? No. Somebody will get snubbed; they always do. But it's better than people constantly texting the word McGrady until they almost succeed in making a mockery of what is supposed to be a serious honor.

If there are any better ideas out there, you know what to do.


Since: May 21, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2010 5:08 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Yeah blame us fans Berger and anyone who is on his bandwagon.T-MAC has been waiting to be traded for how long now?The Rockets want the House and the Boat for him so its not all of T-MAC'S fault.It is strange that a almost .500 team does not want him because he won't fit the system?,shoot less?,why is no one asking the Rockets why they dont't need him.He has been wanting and ready to play for at least a month now,does Houston really want to win?,then make a deal already.

Since: Jan 5, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2010 3:19 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Can we at least get a 10 player roster that allows for a backup at each position and only adds two players per roster, coaches don't have to play everyone equal minutes and their doesn't need to be a representative from each team on the ballot because they are wasting space unless they really are having a good season and won't be overlooked by the players and media. I like the idea of a more player control on the rosters as well since the NHL and NFL allow the players to vote amongst themselves. Shows how powerful the players union in the NBA is.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2010 2:27 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Average final point spread of all of the All-Star games since 1990 is a little over 13.  These are not historically close games (although one year there was a double OT game that ended up with a 10-point spread).  In some years, the spread was as high as 40! 

So much for the best against the best. 

Since: Jan 15, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2010 2:16 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Never thought of it that way.  i thought fans were suppose to use their brains tooo

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2010 2:15 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

But with all due respect, Steve, the NBA (nor any professional sports organization) is not in business to provide employment opportunities for unemployable genetic mutants.  Professional sports are a business based on ENTERTAINMENT.  If no fans ever attended or watched, these franchises would fold up and go away.  There would only be a bunch of over-adrenalized, sweaty guys out pushing each other around a court or field to assuage their own sense of domination and self-satisfaction . . . for free.

As we pay money to see our favorite actors and actresses, so we pay to see our favorite team (with whom we've formed some special affiliation, whose more familiar players to us we wish to honor) or individual players.  These are our sports STARS.  I don't have to see EVERY Clint Eastwood movie to be a fan and to want him to do well and earn awards, and I don't have to watch the usually pathetic All-Star game to want my favorite players to do well in it. 

There already are outlets whereby you can watch the best talent go head-to-head almost every night of the week.  It's called the "season" and the "playoffs."  And just as the All-Star game is usually a competitive joke to watch (and I'm surprised you've not noticed), so, often, is the season.  Catch that Knicks/Nets game?  No?  How about that Laker/Cavalier game last night?  Frankly, both were better games than the All-Star game usually is.  And the latter had the best playing against one another. 

As a diner, when I want a steak, I don't need the waitress to tell me my choice for the night is between the fish and the vegetarian lasagna because the chef is an expert and I'm apparently too tied to beef to be an intelligent consumer.  As a fan, I don't require that coaches and players tell me who I want to see play basketball.  I'm perfectly capable of knowing that on my own without benefit of a pared list of names created by people whose salaries I am either directly (tickets) or indirectly (TV revenue) paying.   

Since: Nov 4, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2010 1:24 pm

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

ummm maybe the fans will get more respect as soon as the fans learn to respect the game??  the all star game is supposed to be the best players of that year coming together.  voting in a guy that has played only a handful of minutes is ridiculous.  sure the fans pay for the tickets, but that doesn't mean they can't be responsible.  besides he's only talking about the fans that voted in tmac, most of which are from china anyways.  so relax.

Since: Oct 9, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2010 10:51 am


I thought my idea of letting the players and coaches pare down the list of names that can then be voted on by the fans was a good one.  It eliminates the bias of voting in guys that aren't deserving.  And for anyone making the argument that "these are who the fans want to see", I dare you to find one person that voted for T-Mac, Iverson or Garnett that actually plans on watching the game.  It's us fans that want to see the best talent go head-to-head that are forced to watch a joke.  I guarantee the idiots stuffing the ballots with McGrady's name have no intention of watching the game.

Since: Aug 21, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2010 9:15 am

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

How Come noone mentions Kevin Garnett? This guy never plays, never practices and his stats are very average. 14 and 7.  Cmon people stop loving to hate Allen Iverson. A first ballot hall of famer and top 10 player this decade.

Since: Jan 6, 2010
Posted on: January 22, 2010 9:07 am

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Although it isn't the widely-understood meaning of the word, perhaps the voting reflects All-STAR, not best or most valuable players, not the best statistics.  The winners seem to be the STARS people want to see. One of John Wayne's last movies was McQ.  Have you seen this thing?  But people went to see it because it was John Wayne.  But his last movie (I think) was the Shootist, where he was excellent. He was a STAR, not a great actor, though.

Same thing here.  Whether or not these players are the best players in the game, perhaps they don't have to be for the fans to want to see them. There is nothing to say that Iverson can't drop 20 in the All-STAR game.  The fans are voting for the game they want to see, not to reward the best players.  The McGrady thing is preposterous, of course, but the fans seem to want to honor him with a vote.  Let him be so honored.

That being said, let's begin a campaign to vote David "Skywalker" Thompson into the 2010-2011 game! 

Since: Dec 18, 2008
Posted on: January 22, 2010 1:42 am

All-Star Starters (UPDATE)

Let the All Star game be USA against the world instead of east vs west.  But can the USA guys beat Gasol, Parker, Ginobili, Kirilenko, Nash and the other international players ? Baseball should do the same thing.

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