A 7-foot-6-inch giant is the cause of some giant issues with this year's All-Star game. Yao Ming has been voted a starter in Sunday's game. Why? Because about 1 billion (or so) uneducated Chinese voters want to see him play.
I'm certainly not claiming the Chinese are uneducated, but fans in general are. And I'm included in this. If I could choose the roster, I'd stick Ben Wallace out there to guard Ron Artest, just so I could see Artest get his ass kicked. There's a perfect example of why we have no business voting for All-Star rosters.
We vote with our hearts. We vote for our favorite players and we vote for guys like Dennis Rodman because he might show up in a dress. (Actually, I loved Rodman and his unparalleled efforts on the court.) But one thing we never do is vote for ALL the guys that deserve to be out there.
So, that's the problem, but there's a simple solution. Let the only people who know what they're talking about vote. No, not the media. They just THINK they know what they're talking about. The players and coaches should vote each other in. A vote by your peers is an honest and deserving vote.
It's true that the game, or the whole weekend for that matter, was designed specifically for the fans. But maybe the fans don't know what they want to see.
Anyway, let's get back to the giant problem. Here's why Yao doesn't deserve the All-Star nod. He has missed 10 games so far this season and his numbers indicate he should be a reserve (20.2 points, 9.3 rebounds per game). The only thing that Yao does better than anyone in the NBA: being tall. His game is boring and bland.
I'd much rather see Kevin Garnett, who isn't even a true center, start in Yao's place because at least he'll be throwing down some huge dunks and taking alley-oop passes from Steve Nash. But I guess the people want to see Yao reach above his defenders and shoot over them, five feet from the hoop. Or maybe it's his dazzling wanna-be baby hook shot that got him votes? Either way, it's ridiculous.
The crazy gets crazier. Amare Stoudamire received more than 200,000 votes. Are the people that are doing the voting even watching basketball this year? He hasn't even played a game this year and is physically incapable of playing in the All-Star game. What a waste of votes. Another small bit of information for you guys: Raef LaFrentz must have a huge extended family because I know 88,000 fans don't want to actually see him in this game.
So even if you don't believe me that fans shouldn't get to vote, I just proved that there are at least 288,000 people that don't even have the slightest idea about the NBA this year. And trust me, there's plenty more out there – (cough) China.
Scott Bondy is the Collegian's associate managing editor for sports and special sections.