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Should All-Stars be voted?

Popularity contests have a habit of being...silly

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A few days ago the 3rd returns came in for the All-Star Voting. Voting concludes Monday, so VOTE if you have not yet. On the Clippers front, Blake and CP3 both have sizable margins to overcome in order to earn a spot as a starter for the Western Conference. (SO VOTE FOR THEM HERE.)

Yet, should All-Stars (starters or not) even be voted on by the fans? On one hand, sure: the All-Star game is an exhibition game anyhow, so who cares? Popular vote allows fans to see the players that they want play (or at least have the "all-star" title). That's pretty much why Kobe Bryant is leading in the polls. It's undeniable that he's no longer remotely playing at a superstar level. Yet who can forget Yao Ming being voted a 2011 All-Star starter when he had not even played a single game during that specific season? It's only time before the act of voting witnesses an NHL-like situation where a random player becomes the joke vote of the all-star game and the Association is forced to take preventive measures to make sure that player does not make it to the all-star game. It would be as if fans around the Association thought it would be funny to vote Reggie Evans as a starter for the Western Conference...and the NBA made sure he was traded to the Eastern Conference AND then sent to the D-League...just to make sure he never played in the All-Star game.

So what alternatives could there be? It is worth highlighting how the NHL has tried to keep its all-star game fresh by changing its format. It used to have players play for their conferences, but changed their format to one that embraced fan-selected team captains (with a cash prize no less). Another possibility is to just let the respective conference representative coach pick their roster. Outside of the starters, that's already the case anyhow.