The fans vote in the starters for the NBA All-Stars each season, and this year especially, they seem to have mostly done the job well, and gotten things right.
But the relatively small number of votes that were registered doesn’t at all sit well with one of the league’s most outspoken owners.
Mark Cuban believes the system is broken, and that it’s time for a change. The fact that more people don’t bother to participate is his primary reason, and when looking at the voting totals in relation to the number of worldwide fans the league possesses, it’s hard to disagree.
Mavericks owner Mark Cuban believes the NBA should ditch fan voting for the All-Star Game, saying the apathetic response is “embarrassing” and proves the system is “absolutely, positively broken.” …
“In context of everything, that’s no votes,” Cuban said. “That’s such a small number considering all the different options you have to vote that it’s almost embarrassing. It’s just no one’s really looked at it that way. … I mean, think about it. Of all the people who go to games, all the people who watch games globally, to have [1.5] million means that system’s broken. Absolutely, positively broken.” …
That means basically .01 percent of NBA fans cared enough to vote, and that’s saying every fan voted just once. Probably, if you include global, that means .00001 percent of fans thought enough to vote. That just shows nobody cares.” …
“S—, nobody even tried to hack it,” Cuban said. “That’s how bored they are. So, yeah, I think it’s time to do away with it because we’re just not getting the response that matters. I don’t know how votes have trended in terms of numbers versus past years, but it’s obviously not something that fans really care about, given the numbers of votes. And if they don’t care about it, we shouldn’t do it. We should find a better way.”
In terms of the numbers, Cuban is right. The NBA has a global following, and the fact that the leading vote-getter (Stephen Curry) ended up with just over 1.5 million is an indicator that a certain level of apathy indeed exists.
But on the flip side, the fans who did vote largely got it right. One could argue that Kobe Bryant didn’t deserve the honor this season, but as a legacy selection, if that’s who those voting wanted to see play in the midseason exhibition, well, that’s exactly why the league has the fan voting system in place.
There’s one area that does need changing, and that’s contract incentives that pay for honors that rely upon votes from the fans. Kyrie Irving, for example, lost a bunch of money because he wasn’t voted in as an All-Star starter this season. That seems patently ridiculous, and it’s something that should change the next time those types of things are collectively bargained.
Overall, however, fans voting for who participates in a meaningless midseason exhibition is completely harmless.