Commissioner Adam Silver Says NBA Will Evaluate All-Star Game Fan Voting

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2016

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a halftime ceremony retiring the number of former Atlanta Hawks' Dikembe Mutombo at an NBA basketball game between the Hawks and the Boston Celtics Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
David Goldman/Associated Press

Social media has changed the sports landscape in many ways, not the least of which is fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game.

Per Sam Amick of USA Today, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver believes the league needs to examine the way it counts fan votes for the midseason showcase because of the way social media sites possibly skew results.

"On [fan] balloting, it's something we'll continue to look at," Silver said. "We love the fact that fans have input into who the All-Stars are. As social media changes the world and is disruptive, it's been mildly disruptive to our balloting systems as well. I know that's something we'll take a fresh look at."

Amick's report specifically cited celebrities like Drake helping get Kyle Lowry voted into the All-Star Game as a starter and Justin Bieber advocating for Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul in a tweet that was retweeted more than 48,000 times.

Paul ultimately fell short of making it into the starting five for the Western Conference, finishing behind the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry and the Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook.

There was also the rise of Dallas Mavericks center Zaza Pachulia, who is having a fine season with 10.4 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He finished fourth among frontcourt players in fan voting, ahead of star players like Golden State's Draymond Green and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Amick noted that Internet personality Hayes Grier, who has 4.3 million followers on Vine and 3.2 million followers on Twitter, may have helped bump Pachulia's vote total through "tireless social media work."

There's never going to be a perfect All-Star voting system involving fans in any sport because it's all based on popularity, which isn't a bad thing because the game is an exhibition for the fans.

Expanding beyond the NBA, last year's Major League Baseball All-Star Game nearly featured all of the Kansas City Royals' starting eight position players in the American League starting lineup because Royals fans flooded ballot boxes after the team reached the 2014 World Series.

Silver is smart to take a proactive look at how things are progressing in terms of social media's use as a campaigning platform for All-Star voting, but it's unclear how the NBA could keep using its presence on sites like Twitter yet diminish the influence of celebrities on the results.