MAKE IT PUBLIC
Raheel Ramzanali: Hey, Adam Silver, we need an NBA All-Star Draft selection show
I won’t hide it, I think the NBA is the best league among the three major sports. The NBA truly does a great job of letting the players shine on and off the court thus making it a product the fans can really get behind. This starts with Adam Silver and his willingness to listen to what fans want and more importantly, what the NBA Player’s Union wants. He’s not afraid to voice his opinion regarding controversial topics like gambling in sports and the use of marijuana by athletes. He’s also really good at tailoring the league to help the players’ personality shine (goodbye silly dress code and hello awesome Russell Westbrook outfits!) and capturing social media attention for it.
The NBA owns social media and they’ve always been the best when it comes to capturing an audience on the digital front. Hell, they were putting up videos on NBA.com before most leagues even had a video presence online. In short, the NBA is all about the fans. So it was no surprise when Silver announced a revamp of the stale NBA All-Star Game by changing the East vs West format to a playground style format where two captains would pick teams from the eligible All-Star player pool. The NFL tried to make the Pro-Bowl interesting for once by allowing Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin to draft the rosters, but that fell flat since because there really is no drama in the selection process with former players.
One of the reasons this idea was so well-received last year was because current players would be picking the rosters and we the fans would get to follow along with the draft. But early last week, Adam Silver had his first potential misstep with the fans when he announced that the NBA All-Star Game draft wouldn’t be televised AND the rosters wouldn’t be released based on where players were picked. As a lifelong NBA fan, this sucks. I’m taking it personally because we have the potential to have an annual event where we can see what players really think about their peers. I know Adam Silver is reading this so I want to lay out five reasons why he should put the draft on TV and make it the biggest non-game social media night the league has ever seen:
1. LeBron vs Curry
LeBron James is one of the greatest ever and is still the most popular player in the league, but Steph Curry isn’t far behind. I need to see these two become captains and host the draft because this will lend to the best storylines throughout the night of the All-Star Draft. This also gives fans a rooting interest in terms of the old East vs West, but also new school (Curry) vs old school (LeBron). Also, throughout the night we have the potential of Curry taking digs at LeBron for beating him twice in the finals and LeBron retorting with how many rings he has in his career. They both seem to be very friendly with each other so it really could be good natured fun with some good shots taken.
2. Durant vs Westbrook
Last year’s all-star game was all about if Durant and Westbrook would go at it and shake hands. This year, it would be all about who gets drafted first. Let’s say LeBron has the first pick and he takes Durant. Now we’re left with the possibility of Curry taking Westbrook with his first pick or passing on him to appease Durant. That alone would be worth the price of admission and social media would have a field day with it. The potential of that alone is why this needs to be on TV.
3. Team Petty
I’m super petty and proud of it. I want to know if NBA players are also wired like me. For example, would LeBron continuously pass on Kyrie Irving in the draft because of all the off-season drama and trade demands? Haha, why is LeBron taking Manu Ginobili ahead of Kyrie in the third round?! Steph Curry seems like the kind of guy that would only select his teammates in spite of better players on the board. Don’t tell me you don’t see him passing on Giannis Antetokounmpo in favor of Draymond Green or Klay Thompson.
4. What Do Players Really Think About Each Other?
We all get it that Joel Embiid is the Process and well on his way to becoming the most liked player in the league, but do current guys hold that against him? Embiid is third in East among front court players in the latest voting returns, but would Curry and James freeze him out in the draft to make sure he doesn’t go until the final few rounds just to humble him? We’ll also see how players value big guys in the league. We know this isn’t a big man league anymore, but do the players believe that logic? After the first few rounds, would Curry and James just draft based on likeability of guys they want to hang out with for an entire weekend or are they drafting to win the game?
5. Mr. Irrelevant
In the NFL Draft we celebrate Mr. Irrelevant (and he truly becomes irrelevant after cuts), but in the NBA All-Star game draft Mr. Irrelevant would get ROASTED on social media. I’m talking about next level online bullying of a very successful NBA player. Being named an all-star is a tremendous honor and only a handful of humans in the history of the world have achieved that honor, but being the last one taken in the draft? Forget about it, you’re done. Fans would make fun of you every chance they get. Good luck going to a game and not seeing a Mr. Irrelevant jersey with your number on it. Bonus: this would be even better if it happens to a veteran that has to take the beating from his peers through the entire weekend in LA. My pick for Mr. Irrelevant? Victor Oladipo. Congrats, you’re an all-star, buttttttt...you’re the last one picked on the playground.