The NBA All-Star Game will no longer be a showcase of which stars the fans want to see. This week, the league announced that the lineups for the East vs West showdown will now also be chosen by the players and media. Instead of the fans being responsible for 100 percent of the decision-making, they’ll only account for 50 percent, while players and media will make up the other 50 percent. Now, it seems, the game will be less of a straight-up popularity contest and the more-deserving players, who aren’t necessarily household names, can be recognized for their contributions.
The new rule allows for players to vote for themselves and one teammate, while approximately 75 basketball media members will get their “power back,” as Carmelo Anthony put it, in selecting their own stars. As Anthony told reporters, he doesn’t think a change needed to be made. While he’s fine with players having “just one vote” for themselves, he says the fans should get the complete, final say.
“Me personally, I’d rather leave it up to the fans. Let the fans deal with it,” he said. “I don’t think players should vote for other players to get in there. It’s a fan thing. It’s part of fan engagement.” (Via the NY Daily News)
Referring to the media’s votes, Anthony said: “Now you got guys got your power pack. I’d rather leave it up for the fans. That’s why our league is one of the biggest out here because we have some of the best fans.” (Via the NY Post)
Easy for Anthony to say, though. He’s been voted to eight consecutive All-Star rosters. As the Post points out, this change is harder on a guy like Kristaps Porzingis, who relies heavily on his European fans to vote him in, because for some ungodly reason he’s still not one of the league’s most popular stars. Porzingis says he’s not worried about it, but if he’s snubbed he could possibly grow a goatee, dye it black, and turn evil on us.
Other all-stars like the change, though. Isaiah Thomas was beyond elated to be named an All-Star reserve earlier this year, and his fellow players shared his joy. He’s the poster player for why the new rules work, and so it’s understandable that he’s in favor of voting for his teammates.
“It should be like that,” Thomas, an All-Star last season. “Players should have some type of vote. Players know more than anything how valuable somebody is to their team.”
And as far as how he’ll vote …
“I’m gonna vote for my guys,” Thomas said. “And they’re gonna vote for me.” (Via CSNNE)
And, if Thomas keeps playing the way he’s been playing, every fan will vote for him, too.