Several times a year...whenever an All-Star game is approaching the debate over fan voting rears it's ugly head. With the NBA All-Star Game approaching, Ray Allen is the most recent critic of the system where fans are given a say. Since we at FrontOfficeFans.com and ProjectFranchise.org are all about fan involvement, when people in professional sports try to limit fan involvement...we feel the need to answer. Ray suggests the following solution:
"Fans should have 50 percent of the vote, with the other 50 percent being divided evenly between the media and the players. He said players know who is playing the best, and believes with his idea, "you'd look at five guys starting the All-Star team regardless of hype or highlight."
I won't disagree with those that say that the fans often fail to vote the best players into All-Star Games. Here are just a few points I would like to raise...
1. It's called an All-Star Game- Ray has a problem with players making the game based on "hype or highlight", which missed the point of an All-Star Game. It's all about hype, and I want to see highlights...if I wanted to watch technically sound basketball I would go to a Bob Knight Basketball clinic. It's Not the Best Players Game, or the Most Productive Game or even the Great Players Only game. The truth is,an All-Star game should be made up by Stars. Stars are players that the people gravitate to and want to watch. By definition, whoever the fans say they most want to see are the biggest stars, therefore the fan voting actually defines the biggest stars every year. Critics are citing Allen Iverson and T-Mac as underproductive players likely to make the All-Star roster over more productive players...but the truth is, these player are still stars and fans want to see them play. Sure, players like Gerald Wallace and Josh Smith are having better seasons statistically, but they aren't bigger stars. They will be All-Stars when the fans decide that they are All Stars. The All NBA Team is something completely different.
2. There are 1,230 games in the NBA season- The vast majority of these games suck. They suck because many of them are utterly meaningless, they suck because the matchups are dull, they suck because on many nights both teams on the court absolutely suck. The Nets, like everyone else in the league, play 82 games. Each of those games has sucked or will suck sometime in the near future. T-Wolves, Sixers, Hornets, Pacers, Warriors, Wizards...SUCK. The one thing all of these shi#*y games have in common is that the fans have nothing to do with them, not picking the matchups, not choosing the players or anything else. Yet the fans are expected watch these games, to pay for tickets to these games, to buy overpriced merchandise and food at these games...and sit there and support their team. For 1,230 games out of the year, the fans abide...we watch, we cheer and most importantly we pay. We have ONE game out of the year where the fans have a say in the game they watch...and every time it rolls around, someone like Ray Allen acts all offended. Well the entire rest of the NBA season is offensive to me...I'm a GD Nets fan for christ sake. Before you start complaining about the team the fans put together, take a look at some of the teams that we have to deal with.
3. The All-Star Game is meaningless- It is for entertainment purposes. Sure, there is some cash and accolades for the players that make the team, but fans aren't selecting the Dream Team for the next Olympics...it's a one night exhibition.
4. Ray Allen is a 9 time All Star-Ray, how many times have you stepped aside to give your spot to a lesser known player who was having a statistically superior season? You are a great player, but how much of your "Star" status has been helped by the fact that you also starred in a pretty successful movie with Denzel Washington? Come on pal, if you are going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.
The bottom line is that the fans get one opportunity per year to pick the game that they want to see. Who is anyone to tell them that what they want to see is wrong? We put up with a lot of crap throughout the year, so if fans want to see Allen Iverson running the court, or try to resurrect Shaq or McGrady, then so what?! Suck it up! If you don't know how to suck it up and deal, I suggest watching old footage of the fans in Milwaukee and Seattle while you played there. Hell, if fans want to vote Brian Scalabrine into the game because they like yelling "VEAL" and watching that red head flail around the court makes them giggle, then so be it.... Is it too late to make that happen?
UPDATE- Chris Bosh gets it. Even though he is likely to miss an opportunity to start an All-Star game being played in his hometown of Dallas, Bosh humbly offered the following insight:
"It's all about the fans," he said. "It's all about who they want to see because they generate the dollars, they're going to watch the game, so they're going to vote for their favorite players and that's probably how it should be."