Zaza Pachulia came within 14,000 votes of being an All-Star starter because of a social media campaign by Grammy winning singer/songwriter Wyclef Jean. In his annual address during All-Star Weekend in Toronto, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants to avoid that in the future.
"While we love the fan participation and we're big advocates of social media, at the same time, I don't want our All-Stars to be determined based on who has the most clever or active social media campaign for a particular player," Silver said of the popular vote which selects the five starters while NBA coaches vote in the seven reserves.
But then he went on to explain that the league is going to take a closer look at the process before the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte.
Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) was fortunately able to get the starting spot for the West over Pachulia (Mavs), who is having a solid season but is hardly All-Star worthy.
When John Wall fell behind Kyrie Irving, who had missed most of the season with a knee injury, that deficit grew when LeBron James asked his millions of followers to retweet his endorsement of his Cleveland Cavaliers teammate. All of the retweets counted as votes.
Wall ended up being chosen as a reserve and Irving was correctly overtaken by Kyle Lowry, who was having a better season and playing for the second-best team in the conference.
"I'm sure we'll talk to the Players Association about it to find what is the right balance in terms of player designations, keeping fans involved and active on social media, but also ensuring that we have a process together with the coaches' selections where we're truly selecting the 24 -- the 12 best players in the West, and the 12 best players in the East," Silver said.
That means, thankfully, something will be done. The All-Star Game is a fans' showcase. It's about who they want to see and not purely merit-based. But Pachulia being introduced as a starter while Leonard comes off the bench would've been nothing short of an embarrassment.
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