When the league made changes to the All-Star voting process for this season, it was largely referred to as the Tim Duncan rule.
There is no more designation specifically for the center position, one which the Spurs famously lobbied for Tim Duncan — who, for the most part, plays at center — to be excluded from. The team wanted him to be recognized as an All-Star (and rightfully so), but it would have been difficult for that to happen had he not been classified as a forward for balloting purposes.
So that teams no longer have to game the system this way, fans will now vote for three frontcourt players, none of which technically have to be a center.
The irony, of course, is that at this late stage of his career, Duncan no longer has any interest in making the All-Star team, and would prefer to sit out of that weekend’s festivities altogether.
From Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:
Duncan, Gregg Popovich told media representatives from Boston to Orlando, should not have been excluded last season and is playing even better this season.
Duncan intends to put a halt to any and all future stops on Popovich’s Tim-for-All-Star tour.
“I will not be campaigning,” he said. “I haven’t heard what Pop’s been saying, but I guess I’ve got to talk to him.
“I wouldn’t complain if I’m not on the (All-Star) roster. I want to play well and want to feel good about what I’m doing on the court, but I am not going to be unhappy if I don’t make it.”
As any head could would be expected to do, Popovich can’t be blamed for lobbying for his Hall-of-Fame big man to be recognized for his play, even if it isn’t quite technically at an All-Star level this season.
As for Duncan, he didn’t make the team last year, and enjoyed the extended mid-season break. Additionally, you really can’t blame him in his 16th NBA season for wanting to take that time off.
It’s just funny that once the league finally made a change to the process, largely based on the Spurs’ antics surrounding Duncan, that the player himself has reached a stage in his career where he no longer wants any part of it.