Fan voting for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game will begin on Dec. 20 and run through Jan. 21, the league announced in a press release on Thursday. This season's All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City, with the Utah Jazz hosting the festivities for the first time since 1993.
In a notable change from previous years, voting will no longer be allowed on Twitter, and will be restricted to the NBA's app and/or website. Furthermore, fans will only be allowed to vote once per day -- though there will be select dates where votes count triple -- and will have to submit a full ballott of three frontcourt players and two backcourt players for each conference.
The league did not give an official reason for this change, but it's likely a multi-faceted decision. For one, Elon Musk's takeover of Twitter has led to serious changes and concerns about the platform, including from a digital security perspective. In addition, the move will force more users onto the league's official platforms.
And though it may not be part of the decision-making process, perhaps the most interesting result of the switch is that it will prevent another Andrew Wiggins situation.
The Golden State Warriors forward not only made his All-Star debut last season, but started the game in large part because he received a substantial fan vote tally of 3,452,586 -- third behind only Nikola Jokic and LeBron James in the Western Conference front court. A large percentage of those votes came on social media, thanks to a campaign from the Warriors and K Pop star, BamBam.
All-Star starters are determined through a combination of voting by fans, players and select media, with the latter two groups submitting just one ballot. But while fan votes are not the only factor, they do account for 50 percent of each players' final weighted score, while player and media votes account for 25 percent each. Thus, Wiggins' huge edge in fan voting allowed him to sneak into a starting spot despite receiving only 46 votes from players and four votes from the media last season.
Wiggins, to his credit, played well last season and even if he wasn't voted in as a starter, had a good chance to make the team as a reserve, especially given some of the injuries to big-name players such as Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Zion Williamson. His performance over the remainder of the season, and particulary in the playoffs as he helped the Warriors win the title, also helped make the selection look less out of place in retrospect.
While Wiggins starting wasn't ultimately that big of a deal, the way in which he got there offered a clear playbook for teams and players to utilize the social media voting format in their favor. And though unlikely given that player and media votes do still matter, it opened up the possibility of a totally undeserving player getting a starting spot and putting the league in an awkward position.
Teams and fanbases will still be able to organize campaigns to get their players into the starting lineup, but it will no longer be as easy as mindlessly voting by retweeting a celebrity's tweet.