Thursday, February 2, 2012

Big Names vs. Bigger Names

Every year, since it has existed, the NBA all-star game is one of the biggest venues in the country. Each year, the selected elite players always put on a show, and never disappoint. The exciting atmosphere keeps fans in the stands, as well as at home, on the edge of their respected seats. The biggest names, in basketball, and hollywood, and the world seem to make an appearance here to see players that over the course of the first 41 (or 33 this season) games in the season have displayed their qualities the best, in order to be put on the roster. This part poses a problem. The players that display their qualities the BEST over the course of the first half of the season. Although this theory is sometimes supported, it has not yet matured to become a law in the NBA. In recent years, the voters, the fans of the league, have picked the players who sometimes are not as deserving as other players in that first half of the season. However these players are picked over them anyway because of the excitement factor of the All-Star game. However, since All-Star appearances are one of the many variables that play an important part in a player's greatness equation, it's only fair that the ones that should be on the team, get to be on the team.

For example, Roy Hibbert. The Pacers' center, has been a pivotal, and perhaps the most important part in the Pacers surprising success. An unstoppable go-to hook shot, towering height, and crooked nose, is playing better than 95% of the centers in the league. When Indiana played Los Angeles (Lakers), Hibbert led his team to the win in LA, while impressing a lot of people in the process. Not only playing with a broken nose that game, he also outplayed leading Western Conference vote-getter at the center position Andrew Bynum. Bynum had no answer for Hibb's hook shot. Sounds like an All-Star to me, but imagine the phenomena, if Hibbert got picked to be an Eastern Conference All-Star starter in a Dwight Howard-ful league. Many would be upset because it just doesnt seem logical to pick Hibbert over Howard. Many could make the argument that Howard has led his team to the finals. Many could also argue that Howard has more All-Star appearances. 

Both would be great points in a debate, if we were talking about who's a better player. Both facts are based on past milestones in Howard's career, granted milestones that Hibbert hasn't acheived yet, but those shouldn't be valid points in choosing the best center to represent the Eastern Conference, based on his play in the first half of the season. If that wasn't the case, then there would be no need for voting each year.

The same thing happens to players like Andre Iguodala. Iguodala has led his team, just like Hibbert, in climbing the totem pole and beating some really good teams. He has played solid basketball, provided highlights, and won games for his team. To put it simply: this year, Iggy's an All-Star. However there is always someone that steps on Iggy's lego house. Dwayne Wade. Wade has been an All-Star since his second year in the league. He came out of that famous, stacked '03 draft class. He was destined for NBA stardom. But this season, Wade is averaging his lowest points per game since his rookie year. He has played in only 13 of Miami's 22 games, how is he an All-Star this year? Is it because his name is Dwayne Wade? Is it because he is a part of the Big 3? Or is it because he won a championship back in '06 and has made a name for himself as a top player in the leauge that deserves to be on the All-Star team because of his name?

On Groundhog Day this year, the NBA starters for the 2012 All-Star Game were announced. Wade was a starter, over a player that has had a better season than him, and has played more games than he has, and is actually leading his team to a decent record. But once again because he is Dwayne Wade, he is the starter.

The NBA All-Star game can accelerate careers, from good to great. And players that have potential to take their careers to the next level, and I for one, think it is unfair to those that every year have dampers put on their careers because some fan, wants to see their favorite big name player in because that leaves the more deserving out.

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