By Craig Kwasniewski
First off, I'm down with A.I. getting the starting nod in the All Star game. People were pointing out how flawed the whole voting system is, but come on, he deserved what was in essence a "career thumbs up" from the peeps. Is it really wrong to catch one of the most exciting players from the Aughts in a siganure event for one last time? Even if he's only scoring 14.3 points on a lottery bound team let the man play!
Even if David Stern didn't fix the Western Conference voting for Steve Nash (which he totally did), I'd be cool with T-Mac starting in Dallas too. This is the system the NBA has had in like forever and it should remain the same... regardless that a player like T-Mac is voted in despite playing a grand total of 46 minutes this season. (BTW - I'm cool with the fix, Nash is on his last legs as a significant player and with Sarver bent on selling off the entire Suns roster, this might be Nash's last chance at an All Star spot. And what better place than Dallas, where he really blossomed into the player he is.)
But why change a system that has worked all these years? What's wrong with a little controversy/discussion in the slow months of January and February? The NBA should embrace the controversy BCS-style. We all know the NCAA relishes the extra attention it deserves with all the "the BCS is flawed" talk. This makes college football a year-round water cooler topic. Most of us here are NBA lifers, do we really need any more talk about Gilbert Arenas, LeBron's summer, Kobe vs. LeBron or yet another month of trade talk? I mean really?!? Yeah, that's all we need is more weeks of ridiculous trade rumors by ADD fans on long lonely nights playing waaaaay too much with the ESPN trade machine using one hand to type...
It's a long season and the annual All-Star talk is an engaging topic, whether about players, coaches, events, locations... we all need the change of pace. Let's keep the voting as is and embrace the extra controversy.
And think about it, Magic Johnson's All Star MVP performance in 1992 would never have happened if the Association took the votes away from the people. After all, he didn't play a single solitary regular season game so he really didn't "deserve" the spot, did he? But it goes down as one of the best feel good stories in the history of the NBA.
Keep the system as is.