First, let’s deal with the most obvious problems with the NBA All-Star Game voting, which have led to Damian Lillard's remote chances of being a starter:
- You have heard this one before, but cities with the largest populations have a better chance to muster the most votes for their players.
- Foreign players -- think Yao Ming and China -- have a better chance because of the united front of an entire country voting for its guy.
- The NBA now uses a system where the fan vote is 50 percent, while media and players split the other 50. Why bother, though, if you’re going to say that if the media and players unite in voting for one player and the fans decide on another, the fans’ choice wins the tiebreaker? The fan vote is always going to win.
But one more thing nobody talks about when they use that tired old line, “It’s a fans’ game and they have spoken. They deserve to see who they want to see in this game.”
I’ve heard that same nonsense for years in all the leagues that have used fan voting to decide all-star teams. But…
This really isn’t a fan "vote." At least not a fair one. This is an election where you are allowed to vote as many times as you want. Yes, they say you’re allowed to vote only once a day. Unless, of course, you have multiple handles or email addresses. Then you can vote multiple times.
And think for a moment about the potential for abuse of that system.
Real fans do want the best players in the game. Or they should. But they don’t want the deck stacked against anyone.
You might delude yourself into thinking that leagues allow fans to vote so they can give the people what they want. But that’s never been part of the equation. It’s usually been about finding a title sponsor for the voting. Making money off of the voting.
When this thing started, they were handing out ballots at games with the sponsor’s name on it.
Now, they ask you to vote online, on Twitter or the NBA website. And don’t think for a minute that those email addresses or twitter handles aren’t valuable to certain companies looking to market to basketball fans.
The worst part about this is that I don’t think it’s ever going to change. Why should it? The big-market players will be taken care of and I doubt the league is too concerned about fans in the small markets being upset.
Best thing to do is just learn to live with it. And know that the game really doesn’t -- or shouldn’t -- matter, anyway.