The NBA All-Star game starting lineup is determined by fan votes and thus, typically has little correlation with skill, talent or performance, but rather popularity, likability, marketing and publicity. It’s like the Tim Tebow of basketball games.
It just so happens that most of the NBA’s household names happen to be top players as well. Yet, sometimes this isn’t the case.
The first round of All-Star voting has been tallied and made public. The release of the first round of voting reveals that, in the Western Conference backcourt, right behind Kobe Bryant, is Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers who has a total of 353,603 votes, while the Houston Rockets Jeremy Lin has a total of 298,319 votes. A mere difference of 55,284 votes.
Lin is one of the most popular athletes in the world. He embodies the entire point of the All-Star game itself: entertainment performance by NBA celebrities. The All-Star game tends to draws an audience who aren’t regular basketball fans. Thus, popularity is a big factor in selection.
Coaches vote the All-Star games reserve line up. Paul, will without a doubt, will get the coaches vote if not selected for the first team. Lin won’t. As one of the most popular international athletes in the world, It’s good for the NBA to have him on the team.
Last year, Kevin Love, Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were all reserves, while many of the leagues top players didn’t even receive spots.
Stats, coaches, media and fans recognize that Paul is one of the top point guards in the league. But, that’s not what the All-Star game is about. It’s about entertainment, flash and having a team full of household names.
Paul has led the Clippers to a top seed in the league. Lin leads the league in jersey sales.
However, realistically, Lin will not see All-Star play unless he wins the fan vote. Paul has cemented his spot on the team for years to come.