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: Nov 19, 2008
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:57 pm

All-Star Starters

The same thing happens in baseball too. Remember Varitek making the game when batting a whopping .217? Its ridiculous. Fan voting is a bad idea for the simple fact, that most of them cannot vote without bias....CLEARLY! These sports need to make fan votes a percentage of the total vote, not the entire thing.

Since: Feb 1, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:47 pm

All-Star Starters

Then there are a lot of idiot fans out there.  Fan voting is a terrible idea.  TERRIBLE!  McGrady wouldn't make it if he had played every game this year, yet fans(presumably China) vote for him.  And A.I. can barely find a home, yet he's an All-Star??  Any real fan would want to see the best players play in the All-Star game.  I don't want to see washed up players play.  Fan voting is a joke.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:43 pm

All-Star Starters

Who is voting for McGrady?

Seriously?  He hasn't been a great player in about 3 years.  He isn't playing this season and his salary is the highest in the league (amazingly true).  Even if you've been a fan of his through his career how can you vote for him for the All-Star team?  That is a joke.

The NBA should wait until a month or two into the season to print out the All-Star ballots.  That would keep guys like him from being on the ballet and also allow the players who " come out of nowhere" to be put on. 

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2010 12:41 pm

Stop Diminishing The Fans

Hey Berger, the fans are what makes the sports world go round.  What professional leagues could survive without fans? We pay the salaries for the referees, coaches, players, broadcasters, etc.  Heck, we even indirectly pay your salary, Berger.  Without sports to write about, you wouldn't have a job.  Without fans, there'd be no professional sports to write about.

We are the ones who pay thousands of dollars every year for season tickets, hundreds and hundreds of dollars at the concession stand.  We pay hundreds of dollars for jerseys and other merchandise.  We tune in to games on TV to bring them ratings.  None of it is possible without the fans.  And that is exactly why most leagues allow fans to pick the all-star teams.

Don't forget that it's an All-star game.  There's no rule that says we have to get it right.  Sometimes we will vote sentimental favorite in over the one with better stats.  Sometimes we won't vote a guy in who has great numbers because he is a jerk.  It is our choice.  If the fans vote Allen Iverson in, then he deserves it because the fans chose him.  That's all there is to it.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or