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Is Houston ready for two All-Stars? Even if one is Jeremy Lin?

James Harden’s ascension up the ranks of NBA buzzdom seems less shocking than preordained after the Beard was sent down south a couple of days before the season began. After spending a couple of years being regarded as the Thunder’s “secret weapon” or “trump card” or a host of other euphemisms for “really amazing player that gets far too few minutes/shots”, Harden’s place on the NBA’s leading scorer board and general prominence among the league this year probably makes as much sense as any other possible outcome to his trade to the Rockets. The most logical culmination, if that word can accurately be applied to describe an event that occurs in the middle of a player’s first season on a new team, to the trade now would be Harden’s ultimate coronation at this February’s All-Star Game, somehow once again hosted in the H. Yes, he’ll likely come off of the bench, but Harden’s spot is almost guaranteed on the roster, on which he’ll likely only back up luminaries like Kobe Bryant and… Jeremy Lin?

A point guard shooting under 40% from the field, one whose assist rate falls behind combo guards like Greivis Vasquez and limps into Monday with an anemic PER of 13.24, should not be an All-Star, much less a starter on the team. No, nothing about Jeremy Lin’s widely expected starring turn in February will be very fair from a basketball perspective, as he’ll likely go down as the worst player in recent history to start one of these exhibitions. This incongruity, this chasm between popularity and on-court output, will likely cause a bit of an uproar in basketball circles, making many columnists and comment-section trolls question the wisdom of allowing anyone (ANYONE) from around the world the opportunity to choose the ten most prominent faces for your league to offer up. Still, in this upcoming brouhaha’s most incisive moments, we will have to accept that this will become a tangible, verifiable moment when Lin’s cultural heritage unquestionably benefitted him in a way that it wouldn’t any other player of a similar talent level. For once, being Asian would not just be a convenient excuse for why doubters wouldn’t take Lin seriously; it would be a plausible reason for why they take this All-Star lost even less seriously. Houston would, and almost certainly will, become a hot potato, an issue to be bandied about as we all decide what exactly we think this consequence-less game in the middle of a warm winter means, why it even exists. In all of it, we’ll forget one important fact: none of this matters.

Who among us, among this group of NBA diehards that knows the names of each team’s D-League affiliate and still wonders when Kenyon Martin is going to get a damn job, actually cares about the NBA All-Star Game? Oh, we watch it. Watch all of the dumb festivities, reminisce on days when guys like Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury could come out of it genuinely looking like heroes. But we don’t really care. And we shouldn’t because this game is not for us. It is for the casual fan, the one who actually still buys NBA jerseys and signature shoes and legitimately cares about who this year’s scoring champ is. For years, these starting line-ups were stuffed with guys like Vince Carter and Iverson, men who were never in the real conversation for the league’s best players but offered something beautiful or something relatable or something worth loving; why, because a player might get voted in for his own weakly superficial reasons, like that he happens to share an ethnicity with a country that houses the world’s largest population and most active Internet community, would we suddenly demonize this ever-present aspect of the All-Star Game?

This is a bit of a preemptive strike, fired before even the first returns form the All-Star balloting are released to the public, but it’s a necessary one. Kelly Dwyer briefly touched on this last week, seemingly aware of the forthcoming fiasco that Lin’s placement on the team will garner; I simply thought I should remind everyone to prepare, like a call from the National Weather Service. Racial epithets will be spewed. Calls for him to relinquish his spot to Chris Paul will pour down. James Harden will probably silently wonder how in the hell he made the All-Star Team as a Rocket and still ended up on the bench behind a teammate. Regardless, board up your windows, Houston.

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Total comments: 9
  • Ostrow says 1 YEAR ago Would he do that with the players not being injured? I kinda get it w/ T-Mac not playing, but how can you hold it against someone who has been out there every night. Only David Stern.
  • SamC says 1 YEAR ago I think we need to redefine what All-Star means. If it's based on the popular vote, then All-Star simply means the one who shines above others. It doesn't imply that an All-Star is the best in the league, simply the most popular. Think of the word "Movie Star". It means the one who drives the biggest box office. It doesn't mean that particular actor is the best. You have award shows with judges that determine that, just as the NBA has awards at the end of the season. The All-Star game is simply an honor bestowed upon the players for the sake of their fans. It's all about ratings.
  • LMAOwais says 1 YEAR ago "Hey China let us market all our product/league/players in your nation, but you only count about 70% (maybe less?) of an american basketball fan. Cool?" - David Stern.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago

    Stephen, on 04 December 2012 - 04:10 AM said:


    Quick reminder why this is all wasted speculation.
    Stern decides how much the "foreign" vote counts.
    A couple of yrs ago McGrady was a leading vote getter despite being in and out of line-up w/injuries.
    Stern simply decreed "overseas" votes would only count 70% of a US vote. Lo and behold AI narrowly beat out McGrady for the starting spot and the coaches naturally left him off the team.
    It also depressed Yao's vote total so that he wasn't leading vote getter.

    Stern decides how much the votes count and he can rig the voting by discounting "foreign" votes by whatever percentage he needs.

    I think this was the reason I was trying to remember. I remember reading something about foreign votes not counting the same amount.
  • Stephen says 1 YEAR ago Quick reminder why this is all wasted speculation.
    Stern decides how much the "foreign" vote counts.
    A couple of yrs ago McGrady was a leading vote getter despite being in and out of line-up w/injuries.
    Stern simply decreed "overseas" votes would only count 70% of a US vote. Lo and behold AI narrowly beat out McGrady for the starting spot and the coaches naturally left him off the team.
    It also depressed Yao's vote total so that he wasn't leading vote getter.

    Stern decides how much the votes count and he can rig the voting by discounting "foreign" votes by whatever percentage he needs.
  • blakecouey says 1 YEAR ago I prefer for the All-Star game to be played by the most deserving players, not based on race or even popularity. I don't care what race you are, if you aren't playing at that caliber you shouldn't be playing in the ASG. It won't happen, but based on Paul Pierce's play, I wouldn't vote for him, but since he is Pierce, he'll be in Houston in February. I also believe that Damian Lilliard should make the ASG(as a STARTER), but I don't see that happening due to CP3(who is equally deserving).

    Oh and based on my evaluations Lin's play doesn't get him in the game.
  • Rahat Huq says 1 YEAR ago I'm not sure he'll win the vote. can't remember the reason i had heard why. but i don't think it's as big a boost as appears.
  • rockets best fan says 1 YEAR ago mike1two:
    I have no problem with chinese people voting for who they want to see in the allstar game. they are fans just like all the rest of us. point is the allstar game is the fans game period. they can and should be able to put who they want in it. some said Yao didn't deserve to be there his first year, but he was a popular player and the fans wanted to see him. we can't hate on him for getting the vote out. besides (IMO) he deserved it. .......and by the way welcome the the forum :rolleyes:
  • mike1two says 1 YEAR ago Let me be the first to make this preemptive strike that those who disparage Jeremy Lin or the Chinese because they vote him in are stupid, filthy human beings. They're the most vile of people. Nobody has done anything to anyone, especially Jeremy Lin. No one's cheated. Yet it's going to come like you said. So the question is not what should Jeremy Lin or other players should do or feel when it happens but what we should think of the many classless people living in this society.

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