NBA All-irrelevant weekend

Ryan Murphy

Ladies, rest assured this Valentine’s weekend your lover will have nothing on his mind except you. Not even sports. All you need to do is remind him that the NBA will be hosting its All-Star weekend. After hearing that, he might even agree to recite you lovely French poetry. Trust me, he doesn’t want to see this game.

For one, your lover already knows the outcome. Like every other game in the NBA, the West will dominate. Shaq will score 20 points in the first quarter, and then Kobe Bryant will start crying because he isn’t getting all the attention. The script has been written one too many times. It’s getting old, and the NBA knows it.

Something else besides an interested audience will be missing though. Oh, that’s right, the two most exciting players in the NBA, Lebron James and Carmello Anthony, who were not chosen for this weekend’s All Star game in Los Angeles.

The NBA must have been disillusioned when they left these guys off the roster. Coming into the All-Star break, James is averaging 20 points per game, and Anthony 19. Both rank in the top 20 in every category.

Here is how the All-Star selection works: Throughout the year, fans vote on whom the starters from each conference will be. The top vote-getters at each position are given spots in the starting lineup. Coaches then fill the remaining roster positions. Both James and Anthony were neither voted onto the team nor given spots by the coaches. No one really expected James or Anthony to get voted onto the team as a starter but for them not to get picked at all is absurd.

Leaving Lebron and Carmello out of the All-Star game is like leaving Bill Cosby out of Jell-O. Not only are James and Anthony two of the best players statistically, but they have also been the hype of the NBA season.

They’ve been the miniature version of Magic vs. Bird. Two of the best players in the league will now have to settle for playing in the rookie game. That’s like asking Tiger Woods to join the putt-putt tour.

The NBA has had its chances to resurrect itself from the depths of professional sports: Jordan returned, nothing happened. Someone beat the Lakers, nothing happened. Apparently, the only thing that the NBA can do to make headlines again is having a mug shot of Kobe Bryant taken.

The NBA has missed its chance again. They had an open lay-up and air-balled it. Lebron against Carmello in the All-Star game would have given the entire basketball world a fresh look at Michael’s successors.

“LeBron and Carmelo have brought so much interest, they should have made it,” NBA legend Magic Johnson said. “They backed it up with their game. You can’t tell me they shouldn’t be part of the game. I understand that they’ve got to earn their stripes, so to speak.”

The NBA could not have made a worse marketing decision than to leave these two out of the game. NBA commissioner David Stern is kicking himself as we speak.

According to ESPN, James’ and Anthony’s jerseys are ranked first and second, respectively, on the individual player sales rankings list.

If the NBA was smart enough to slap an All-Star jersey on James and Anthony’s backs, sales would be through the roof.

What is most disconcerting is that Ray Allen and Jamaal Magliore both earned All-Star spots. Ray Allen? He’s played in only 21 of 46 games this season! And who is Jamaal Magliore anyway? Is no one else in the Eastern Conference averaging better than 12 points a game?

The only reason he was chosen is because there is no one else in the Eastern Conference taller than 6 feet 10 inches. Someone tall needs to stand in the paint so it looks like the East is trying to stop Shaq, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming.

The NBA does have a chance to see a Lebron-Carmello match-up though. League rule stipulates that if a player on the current roster gets injured, commissioner David Stern will select a replacement. Don’t be too surprised if a few of the current all stars get “mysteriously” injured.