Every season, there are several All-Star snubs that stick in the collective craw of NBA fans. This year is no different, with Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez standing out as the most glaring omission. (Steph Curry was the biggest snub in the West, but that conference is significantly more crowded.) Unfortunately for Lopez, he was the victim of the fact that only 12 players can be chosen.
Perhaps those limits are unfair. The All-Star Game is a fun exhibition, after all, and there’s no real reason why the lineups should have to conform to the rules of a standard NBA game. Why limit the party?
LeBron James, this year’s leading All-Star vote-getter, agrees that the rosters should be expanded — he thinks there should be 15 players per conference. Except, when James tweeted out his thoughts, he left Lopez off his list of deserving additions:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 25, 2013
In truth, James’s picks aren’t that bad. While Brandon Jennings and Jamal Crawford are problematic picks given their shooting percentages, they’re not bad players and their teams are in line to earn playoff spots. But the snub of Lopez proves once again that, even if we expand rosters, people are going to overlook deserving players due to their biases and personal conceptions of what makes a player worthy of selection.
I don’t know if LeBron and Lopez have some feud — as far as I know there is no official NBA “cool kids table” (and if there were I doubt Marc Gasol would get an invitation, either). My only point here is that James, for whatever reason, didn’t acknowledge Lopez even though the vast majority of basketball analysts thought he should have been one of the 12 players picked for the East squad.
Reasonable people are always going to disagree on these selections, because it’s a select group no matter if it includes 12 or 15 stars. As long as we acknowledge the thinking that goes into All-Star choices and discuss them in a reasonable way — again, these are usually difficult choices between many deserving players — then a snub doesn’t have to come off as an act of disrespect. It’s just a necessary evil of a process that excludes the vast majority of the NBA.
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