The NBA All-Star game is sold as the ultimate fan experience, but as we saw in this year’s selection process, that really isn’t the case.
At the end of fan voting, rookie sensation Luka Doncic, resurgent former MVP Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade in his final season were all in line for starting spots. Luka was actually the second leading vote getter in the Western Conference, third in the whole league behind LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both Rose and Wade had been voted into the second guard spots in their respective conferences because fans wanted to give Rose a sense of validation for his play after a career filled with devastating injuries, and give Wade a curtain call in his final season.
Unfortunately, for the combined six million fans that voted for these three players, fan voting is only worth 50 percent of the overall system. The media and players make up the remaining 50 percent and due to this, all three players fell out of the starting five and two of them didn’t end up making it. Wade only made the cut because the NBA decided to create two separate roster spots for Wade and Dirk Nowitzki as a tribute to their legacy.
If this game is truly about what the fans want, the NBA needs to do something to fix the balance of power in selecting the players. In the past, fans have attempted to vote in non-deserving players such as Zaza Pachulia, but I think as long as the player is as deserving as the three I mentioned, the NBA should allow it. I would recommend giving the fans power over 75 percent of the vote and splitting the remaining 25 between the media and players in order to balance popular demand with expert opinion.
The fact that all three of these fan favorites ended up not making it sends a message that the NBA doesn’t care about what the fans want. If the All-Star game is truly about giving the fans what they want, this past cycle of All-Star voting shows that the system needs some tweaking.