God Bless the NBA and David Stern. They sure do know how to market their product and a big part of that is the annual All-Star extravaganza. The game itself, the events surrounding the game, the dunk contest -- those are just brilliant opportunities to remind the world how great the NBA really is.
It's hard to argue with that since the NBA really is great. Of course, there are flaws. Everything has flaws. Eva Longoria is short. Robin Lopez can't shoot threes. The All-Star ballot process is a joke.
The ballot was released to great fanfare that included a very pretty press release in my inbox that exclaimed:
FIVE SUNS STARTERS HEADLINE 2011 ALL-STAR BALLOT
<Insert Sponsor Who Isn't Paying Me To Publish Their Name>
The biggest problem with the All-Star ballots are the timing. Remember last season's ballot that included Tracy McGrady, who hadn't played in a single game, and Allen Iverson, who was booted off the Memphis Grizzlies before making a triumphant 25-game return to Philadelphia? McGrady, thanks to the Chinese fan support for his teammate Yao Ming, was actually leading Steve Nash in votes for most of the process.
It boils down to a ballot that is created early in the season that is trying to both project which players might be worthy of All-Star consideration while also ensuring that every team is represented.
There's not a single team in the NBA that doesn't have three players on the ballot. In addition to the Suns, the powerhouse Bucks, Pistons and Grizzlies have five names listed and the Lakers and Hawks have six. They couldn't possibly have left Mike Bibby off the ballot, right? And thank goodness Corey Brewer made it to the exclusive club of All-Star ballot nominees.
In the past, the NBA has claimed the printing times and other logistical concerns were the reason for this out-dated process. It's hard to imagine, however, that, if they wanted to, they couldn't come up with a better way of managing the voting so that the names on the ballot weren't selected until four or six weeks before the actual NBA All-Star game in February.
But then the Minnesota Timberwolves wouldn't able to proclaim their three All-Star candidates with big fonts and lots of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!
Click here to see all the names listed on the All-Star Ballot -- guys like DeMar DeRozan, Ben Gordon, Boris Diaw and Marvin Williams ... and Robin Lopez.