The Blanched and the Bristling

All-Star reserves are in, and I have a few sanguine thoughts on the subject. Most notably, wow there are a lot of All-Stars in this league. This does kind of go back to the never-ending MVP question—i.e., what exactly defines an MVP—and we spent a lot of time on it in the wake of Piston-gate '05. But if you go by that old smut criterion, there really aren't enough spots for all the guys who strike me as having that kind of season.

It's not just that the omissions are tight calls; some of them, like Melo, Randolph, Camby, Howard, and Joe Johnson, are plainly inconscienable. I honestly don't know how much better of a year these three could have, and without a clear definition of "All-Star" there's no way that this kind of snub won't smack of mismanagement. Like Arenas last season, these undermine the integrity of the honor, and reduce it to something semi-arbitrary. And don't give me that injury replacement line; it only quickens the insult.

The preempt: no shit Melo got suspended. Last I heard, though, the coaches of the West were banding together to get him on the team. The fuck happened with that one? Did someone get to them? Did they worry about what it would mean for their image to stand up for the Association's great human? I've meant to say this before, and here it comes out for the first time: no player embodies the cycle of fall and redemption like Melo, and no public figure has ever made me fathom mundane Christianity like he. The world relates to him not because he's a role model, or because he's an Iverson-like outlaw, but exactly because his peaks and valleys are almost uncomfortably familiar. Anthony will never fully cross over to the dark side or be coopted by the foamy authorities; his entire usefulness to the NBA's public face rests in this muddled—not conflicted—radiance.

And one more thing: holding injury against Redd is just bullshit, at least when the fans can voted in players who have been on the shelf for months. It seems more like an excuse for excluding the league's least interesting star; I don't see anyone arguing that Iverson's banishment and limbo would count against his chances. Or Amare's halting start.

Plan for action: let the fans vote on the Dunk Contest. Then we wouldn't end up with dead weight starters that the coaches have to scramble to correct.


At 2/02/2007 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LeBron James is the leagues least interesting star. Shaq should forfeit his spot.

At 2/02/2007 1:54 PM, Blogger Fat Contradiction said...

Alas, it's a league primarily of brand recognition.

It does seem worse this year, though I suspect I feel like this every year 'round all-star time. Certainly Melo's third straight snub stings, and it's unclear how crucial Camby has to demonstrate himself to be before he gets to sit at the popular table. Frustrating.

I'll use this fans-as-dildos soapbox to plump for one of my favorite crackpot schemes: in the NHL, awards and such are voted on in the regular way, but there's also a player-voted MVP trophy (the Lester Pearson), awarded by the local Players' Association. I've always wanted the NBAPA to follow suit, call it the Chamberlain or whatever; and this morning it seems desirable to go ahead and have a whole parallel player-determined League. Let them decide the most-entertaining squads from each coast... Also do away with the owners and smash the state.


At 2/02/2007 2:25 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Are you suggesting the fans vote on the results of the dunk contest, or the actual participants? Because I'm not positive that there is a way to tabulate a 10 card with 6 other 10 cards attached to it.

At 2/02/2007 2:46 PM, Blogger Pooh said...


Am I crazy to think that Memo Okur should maybe be an all-star?

At 2/02/2007 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

crazy like a Turk …

At 2/02/2007 3:38 PM, Anonymous ronald james davis said...

the only thing that can soften the sting of some of these snubs, is if it is soon revealed that the spurs called up flight white from the d-league in order to meet some little known requirement that a player must be in the league for at least two weeks prior to the dunk contest to participate.

At 2/02/2007 3:39 PM, Anonymous Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

FD secrets revealed: i sometimes correct shoals's typos and spelling errors, but i let "inconscienable" go because it's SO off, i figured he must've meant something by it.

also, you guys know the coaches vote for the reserves, right? so, presumably, it's not mere name recognition--they have coached against these guys all season. which makes howard and johnson's omissions harder to fathom. those dudes can ballllll.

At 2/02/2007 3:42 PM, Anonymous TheHype said...

--Pooh: then we shall be both crazy, in unison, because Memo's clutchness' gotta be rekonized somewhere

At 2/02/2007 4:11 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

it's a well-known fact that i'm a terrible speller, type these straight into blogger, and mostly edit for content.

it's also been widely speculated that the short-lived grammar wars of fall 2005 were what destroyed our attempts to expand freedarko's stable of writers.

re: players making selections. fat, i wonder if it wouldn't just turn into a popularity contest, like the pro bowl. then again, kobe gets more props than anyone in the league, and he's hardly what you'd call beloved by his peers.

re: the coaches voting. i know, that's why the last sentence is about them correcting the fans' errors.

re: dunk contest. i meant the participants.

At 2/02/2007 5:58 PM, Blogger Gladhands said...

Redd clearly deserves Rip Hamilton's spot, but that's one of the few reasonable replacements. With the exception of T-Mac, wh the fans voted a starter, who would yoe exclude from the western conference team to make room for Howard, Paul, Melo or Camby?

At 2/02/2007 7:07 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

gh, I'm this site's lone Spurs fan, and even I was SHOCKED that Tony Parker made the team ahead of Melo and Howard. He's having a fine season, but he's not leading the league in scoring and it's ridiculous to think the Mavs have fewer All-Stars than the Spurs when Dallas is clearly the better team.

Apparently Tony Pizzle himself was in disbelief. The story goes that he was lounging in the hotel room with Eva watching an old MJ game on Classic in preparation for the Suns tilt, when he saw his name on the bottom line. Eva screamed, and Tony told her to settle down until he could confirm it. You'd think someone would call these guys in advance?

At 2/02/2007 8:09 PM, Anonymous eauhellzgnaw said...

"The story goes that he was lounging in the hotel room with Eva watching an old MJ game on Classic..."

He's in a hotel room with Eva and he's watchin TV?

She's annoying and all, but come on.

At 2/02/2007 9:43 PM, Anonymous Freddie said...

"LeBron James is the leagues least interesting star"...

Exactly! This is something I've been wrestling with. There's no question that Lebron is an enormously good basketball player; I think it's simply empirically true that he is one of the greatest playing today. But I find his game so incredibly boring that I literally can't watch him for too long. He's like a basketball playing robot; I could never deny his efficiency, skill or ability. But I just can't find any rooting interest in his game whatsoever. It's a mystery; I would normally think greatness in and of itself would be enough. But I just find nothing compelling to watch.

As for the dunk contest-- hold it only every four years, and give the winner 100k.

At 2/02/2007 10:05 PM, Blogger Wild Yams said...

What's not interesting about a guy sporting an Abe Lincoln beard who eats his hand? Also, there's no way Shaq would ever give up his spot. Many people mistakenly think he uses the regular season to build towards the playoffs, when in fact he uses the first half of the season to build towards all the parties that happen at All-Star break, then he uses the last two months of the season and the first three rounds of the playoffs to get ready for the Finals. If Shaq doesn't go to the All-Star Game then he'll have to wait a really long time to show off his next godawful-looking suit on national TV, and as far as he's concerned that's what the Slam Dunk contest is there for.

At 2/02/2007 10:36 PM, Blogger DrewRicketts said...

How is Lebron the least interesting? I think that like the late-career MJ, there's something entertaining about precision. I think everyone has gotten much too infatuated with the Kobe-type villains and the Wade-type acrobats. No-look passes, grace while running the break and fadeaway baseline jumpers can be just as pretty. Aren't you all the same crowd fawning over Steve Nash aka 07 Mark Price?

Help me out here.

At 2/02/2007 10:40 PM, Blogger Gladhands said...


'Melo was listed as a forward on the all-star ballot. They couldn't have given him le petit's spot. Who sits, Marion?

At 2/02/2007 10:55 PM, Blogger Zach Landres-Schnur said...

"Plan for action: let the fans vote on the Dunk Contest. Then we wouldn't end up with dead weight starters that the coaches have to scramble to correct."

yes! exactly. same goes for baseball...though not with the dunk contest. that just wouldn't make much sense.

At 2/02/2007 11:00 PM, Blogger Brad said...

Why not make the coaches' voting selections public? It may not breed successful results, but it would be interesting.

At 2/02/2007 11:37 PM, Blogger d.d. tinzeroes said...

re: players voting for MVP.

sad thing is, I don't think it would be a popularity contest. In '94 USAToday polled players, trainers, coaches & GMs about who should get the MVP, & the breakdown was as follows:

David Robinson 126 votes
Hakeem 98
Shaq 16

what you really get, I think, is a sort of consensus abt "which player do I think I have the biggest (& easiest) chance of winning a ring with?"

I recall Nash getting a lot of player picks last year, which fits w/ my feeling, since if you can't have a dominant big man to coattail, a premier point guard is second best. Either way, guys like Nash & Shaq & Duncan are guys who make journeymen players look good out on the court, better than they really are, even.

Kobe may be more popular but I'm not confident other players lust to play alongside him.


At 2/02/2007 11:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Melo could've been voted over Senor Frog. Only two of the reserves have to be guards: Nash and Iverson were those two.

I'm surprised very few people ever bring up Zach Randolph - dude is throwing up a 24-11 and the Blazers are way better than anyone thought. If Joe Johnson get consideration on a worse team in a worse league, give Zachary some love. Plus, his pictures in Yahoo and espn.com kill me:



At 2/03/2007 12:14 PM, Anonymous Hylas said...

In all these comments, Glandhands' seems to be the only voice of reason: Who do you kick out to make room for all of the suggested all-stars?

Really, the only arguable choices are Iverson (did not play much in that conference, and neither of his teams were winning many games) and Parker (not all that good this season), but if you exclude those two, Steve Nash is their sole remaining point guard.

At 2/03/2007 5:48 PM, Anonymous Mortimer said...


As a Portland fan, I got mixed feelings OVERALL about Randolph, but no one can deny he has come back from the micro fracture surgery better than anyone, EVER, and is actually playing better than he did before the injury. Amare has come back well, but people are still waiting for him to dominate like before... only Z-Bo has gotten better.

And does everyone here know that Randolph has Bells Palsy? It paralyses half of his face when it's on, and makes it droop. That's why he looks like he just got punched by the coppers for covering up his brother's club shootout in the ESPN pic.

He is a bad defender but so are most big scorers (and he's improved), bad passer (still sucks but improved), but also he's only 25.

We're just past the halfway point of the season and Blazers only need one more win to match last years total. Yeah, last year sucked, but Blazers are on the right track.

And with ROY, ALDRIDGE, WEBSTER (remember, he's the youngest Blazer on a very young Blazer team), SERGIO, the Blazers will only get better.

TO SUM UP: I'm not surprised Z-Bo got snubbed. I'd like it to be discussed more in the media, but such is the life of a Blazer fan.

At 2/03/2007 6:01 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

Parker and Marion got the "wild card" spots. Melo or Howard could (and should) have been named instead of Parker. I'd also put Z-Bo ahead of TP, but not Camby (can't have 3 all-stars from a mediocre Nuggs squad) or Alllen (missed a lot of time).

At 4/13/2009 5:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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