Commentary

One-on-One: The great All-Star debate

Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher spar over the All-Star selection process

Originally Published: January 22, 2010
By Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher | ESPN The Magazine
Allen IversonJesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesIs Allen Iverson's choice as an All-Star starter indicative of a larger problem?

The only thing Ric Bucher and Chris Broussard like to do more than report on the NBA is argue about the NBA. So we decided to combine those two skills with our weekly One-on-One series, in which they'll debate the hottest topics in the Association. We'll kick things off with an issue that has captivated fans and even motivated Ray Allen to speak out recently -- picking All-Stars, particularly in light of Allen Iverson's starting gig and Tracy McGrady's near miss.

QUESTION: Should the All-Star selection process be changed?

BUCHER: No. It's supposed to be an event for the fans, so they should be able to vote for whom they want to see. What we have to do is overhaul our perspective of what being an All-Star means. Back when the only way a fan could cast a vote was to go to a game and punch out a paper ballot, the percentage of informed voters had to be fairly high and only quality players made it as starters. Now that Internet voting has opened it up to fans worldwide -- some of whom see, at best, highlights -- it's much more of a popularity contest.

BROUSSARD: Sorry Ric, but we absolutely must revamp the All-Star voting. It's become a joke, especially with China voting. They're so pro-Rockets (because of Yao Ming) that I'm surprised Chase Budinger isn't starting over Melo at small forward. Fans will tune in and turn out if the best players are selected, regardless of whether they picked them. You're right in that this event is largely about the fans, so they should still have a role in the voting. That's why I think Ray Allen's suggestion is perfect. Have the fan vote count for 50 percent of the selection and then divide the other 50 percent between the media (25 percent) and the players (25 percent). The players know better than anyone who's really an All-Star, so they should definitely have a say in who's honored. Then you can let the coaches continue to pick the seven reserves.


For the full argument, including a surprising revelation about the way coaches pick All-Star reserves -- you must be an ESPN Insider.

Ric Bucher

NBA Reporter, ESPN The Magazine Senior Writer