For all of the fans who are up in arms about the fans' selections for the starting lineups for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, let's stop with the piety.
As most know, the NBA announced its 2013 All-Star starters on Thursday night on a live telecast on TNT. The selections, by and large, were expected. LeBron James led all Eastern Conference vote-getters, Kobe Bryant headlined the Western Conference lineup and names like Chris Paul, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony were also sprayed in for good measure.
If the season ended today, those are likely the players who would finish inside the top-five in MVP voting. However, once fans got past those initial superstars and began looking at the rest of the rosters, the frustration began pouring out in droves.
Most fans were touting different players, but the argument almost always went in the same fashion: "How could you choose Player X over Player Y? Player Y has been better..."
My question to those upset about the All-Star selections: Does it really matter?
Once you're done pounding on the table, vilifying someone for having the gall to ask that question, you'll find that the logical answer is no.
Now, for full disclosure, I'm not saying that the All-Star selections are 100 percent correct. My personal ballot had Joakim Noah in Kevin Garnett's place and Marc Gasol substituted for Dwight Howard—but I'm certainly not offended by the fans' selections.
Is there anyone on the big blue marble who would contend Garnett's All-Star selection if he were a reserve? Those who would are likely the same fans who can't be bothered to look past a box score.
Claiming he shouldn't be in the All-Star game at all, though, would be displaying the same level of superficiality these people accuse their brethren of when they selected Garnett to start in the first place.
The Boston Celtics, a team that has struggled to replicate its once-ferocious defensive prowess, are a full eight points better on that end with Garnett on the floor. Noah, who is undoubtedly having the best year of his career, makes just five points of difference on the defensive end.
I ultimately gave Noah the nod because he's been the Chicago Bulls' best player and has been instrumental to keeping them afloat while Derrick Rose recovers from an ACL tear.
Howard's selection is a little more questionable, especially considering the Los Angeles Lakers' nightmarish 2012-13 campaign thus far. But he's still one of the 10 best players on the planet, playing in one of the world's biggest media markets and putting up paper stats (17.8 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 2.6 BPG) right around his career numbers.
Howard's selection was a foregone conclusion from the moment he put on a purple and gold uniform. To get offended by him starting is just plain silly.
No matter the justifications or questionable selections, one fact remains: It doesn't matter whatsoever. The most deserving players are going to get selected to play in the game no matter who the fans select. You'll likely find the Gasols, Noahs and every other deserving name on the final roster.
They'll all get playing time and no one will actually remember who started come Feb. 18—otherwise known as the day after the game.
This isn't Major League Baseball. David Stern did not take cues from Bud Selig, the MLB commissioner who decided that his midseason exhibition must mean something—apparently because older fans can't get over the good ol' days when Pete Rose bowled over Ray Fosse that one time in 1970.
Never mind the fact that if Rose did that in 2013, he would probably be suspended for the remainder of the season—and with good cause.
All-Star games across all platforms are meant to be a celebration. One where fans get to enjoy all their favorite players in one place and those stars get a weekend-long break filled with adoration and nightclub festivities that have no place in a family-friendly column.
Perhaps no league does its All-Star weekend better than the NBA. Starting with the celebrity game to the dunk contest, all the way to the All-Star game itself, it's a weekend filled with entertaining events.
The NBA All-Star game itself is a fun, exhibition contest where turnstile defense is commonplace and the game oftentimes turns into a glorified dunkathon. It's a contest where fans get to see Rajon Rondo throw LeBron James an insane half-court alley-oop before the camera man can even pan to the direction of the possession.
It's not as if All-Star selections truly matter to a players' long-term legacy, either. Smart analysts have long used All-NBA selections as a far better barometer of a player's dominance, rather than All-Star appearances. All-NBA teams are inherently imperfect and cause derision as well, but they certainly have always been a better barometer of the league's best players.
How should the starters for the NBA All-Star Game be determined?
That former point may be the most prudent for those clamoring for change. All-NBA teams are voted on by the so-called experts—a trusted committee of writers and broadcasters throughout the entire nation. Yet every single year, it becomes incorrigible that Player X got snubbed.
Now ask yourself: Would taking the All-Star voting process out of the fans' hands actually change the outcry, or would it simply allow those upset to cast a wider net to blame? If history tells us anything, my money is on the latter.
So, in essence, changing the voting process would do absolutely nothing. It would be the same complaints, just sprayed in all different directions.
Let's stop making the All-Star weekend (and the All-Star voting) have greater importance than it really does. No matter what the formula, there are always going to be snubs—not everyone in the NBA gets a participation ribbon.
Fans have fun picking their favorite players to make All-Star appearances and aren't doing a half-bad job at it. Let's keep the fans, and by result, the fun in the NBA All-Star Game.