The NBA had named the All-Star team, had named the players for the Rising Stars Challenge (what you and I call the rookie/sophomore game) and had basically everything in place for All-Star Weekend Feb. 24-26 in Orlando.
Then Jeremy Lin and Linsanity came along.
Now the league is scrambling to fit their hottest star into their biggest weekend. But they seem to be ignoring the obvious and best way.
For sure, Lin will be lobbing balls to fellow Knick Iman Shumpert as part of the Dunk Contest on Saturday night.
Also that night is the tedious “Shooting Stars” competition where three people (a current player, former player and WNBA player) from one city compete against trios from other cities in a shooting contest. The Daily News says it looks like Lin will be part of that.
According to a source, the NBA is hoping to add Lin to its All-Star lineup by having him participate in the Haier Shooting Stars competition during All-Star Saturday night. The competition features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one TNT on-air talent and legend on each team.
Let’s be clear, Lin has not earned his way into the All-Star Game itself yet, not in seven games. And while he surprised everyone with a dunk against the Wizards, the Dunk Contest is not his forte. He’s knocked down some but he’s no three point specialist, either. The Shooting Stars thing is nice. Not thrilling, but nice.
What the league should do is bend the rules and add him (and another player) to the Friday night Rising Stars game. The format of this has been changed this year, with a pool of players — already selected — being chosen playground style by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Lin is certainly the likely replacement if one player from this game is injured and can’t go, but what really should happen is Lin and another player get added to the pool so he is definitely in.
Why not? Is the league afraid of messing with the integrity of the rookie/sophomore game? Really?
At this point for the league, the more Lin the better. Let the man play.