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Friday, February 02, 2007

Carmelo Snubbed

All-Star games, no matter what the sport, are more popularity contests than anything else. How else to explain letting fans vote - Shaq is a starter after playing in like 5 games. But they still tend to hold some degree of recognition and acceptance. So while the value is small, it is there. And the value unfairly increases whenever we assess a player's career. We look at the number of All-Star games played to assess their worth. In fact, lack of All-Star appearances and end of season awards are the only things keeping Bert Blyleven out of Cooperstown.

I mention this because Carmelo Anthony was left off the All-Star team. I understand why this occurred, but think it's wrong. For a league that's so image conscious, inviting Anthony was a big no-no. He was at fault for his actions in the brawl and I think he showed remarkable maturity in admitting as much. But that doesn't dismiss his actions.

Carmelo is easily one of the 12 best players in the Western Conference. He's leading the league in scoring and has improved his all-around game. If we were focusing solely on basketball to date, Anthony would be pushing for a starting spot. Based on basketball criteria, Anthony should be a lock to make the All-Star Game. But he's not. And that's wrong. For we like to get sanctimonious about sports but at the end of the day it's a game.

I can't help but wonder if 20 years from now we'll be shortchanging players like Anthony because of their limited number of All-Star appearances. Now, that would be fair if All-Star games were truly based on merits. Since it's not, what value can we really place in these games?

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