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The NBA all-star game is a sham

All-Star games in the NBA have become nothing more than a glorified pick-up game./Victor Araiza
All-Star games in the NBA have become nothing more than a glorified pick-up game./Victor Araiza

It’s among the worst offenders in sports

Every year, when it becomes time for the world’s professional leagues to name the all-star squads, a myriad of complaints arise. Chief among them are the so-called “snubs.” Snubs being those that the public at large (and/or overly caffeinated pundits) believes should have gotten the nod.

Instead, the undeserving continue to be given the honour at the expense of those who have worked tirelessly for a ceremonial honour which, in most situations, does nothing but deny the player the chance at an extra holiday and present them with a performance bonus which can be spent getting absolutely plastered after the festivities conclude.

And this is why, in many sports, the concept of an All-Star game is little more than a sham. The Pro-Bowl, once a legitimate barometer of NFL stardom, has been reduced to a glorified circus, where it is a wonder the game gets played at all. Basically, the NFL moved the Pro Bowl forward a couple of weeks so that those who did not get to go to the cool kids’ party (you know, that thing called the Super Bowl which also happens to be the biggest money grab in sports history) would get the consolation prize of an event that might as well be called “The Reject Convention’s Charity Football Extravaganza.”

The only viable gripe with the process of selection related to all-star games is that the undeserving are so often voted in. In the NBA, the fans vote for the starting five of each conference. If Yao Ming were to somehow come back as a zombie version of himself, he would be voted into the game every year through sheer force of numbers, and the same goes for Kobe Bean Bryant. Pau Gasol, probably cursing his knees while he shoots elbow jumpers as we speak, will start for the East over Al Horford, the front-court linchpin for the upstart Atlanta Hawks. It’s a wonder the NBA doesn’t just trot out a set of puppets to compete so as to give the real players a break and to insure that some of their top players don’t shred their knees bad enough to become eligible to play wheelchair basketball before the playoffs begin.

And it is because of these ridiculous snubs that I suggest a solution: Have the powers that be (coaches, players, media, referees — they already decide the games anyway —and the commissioner’s office) pick the top 12 players. Once those selections have been made, then allow the public to vote on the starters. Give the fans the ability to vote for the side contests so that they feel like they’re involved and everyone will be much happier. This way, we won’t have a selection process that looks little better than the one playing out in gym classes across the world, nor will we need to resort to the league’s current suggestion of adding more players to the rosters, which would reduce the talent available and create little more than a cesspool of crazed basketball bouncing millionaires.

About John Loeppky

I am an athlete with a writing problem, or a writer with a sports problem, you decide. When I'm not editing, playing wheelchair sports, or advocating for the disabled, you can find me de-stressing with friends.