Mark Cuban: NBA needs better way

ByTim MacMahon ESPN logo
Saturday, January 24, 2015

DALLAS -- Mavericksowner Mark Cuban believes the NBA should ditch fan voting for the All-Star Game, saying the apathetic response is "embarrassing" and proves the system is "absolutely, positively broken."

Fan balloting online and on Twitter determined the 10 starters,who were announced Thursday. The 14 reserves, selected by a vote from the coaches in each conference, will be announced Jan. 29.

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry received the most votes this season with 1,513,324, a total Cuban said proves that fans aren't excited about All-Star voting.

"In context of everything, that's no votes," Cuban said. "That's such a small number considering all the different options you have to vote that it's almost embarrassing. It's just no one's really looked at it that way. ... I mean, think about it. Of all the people who go to games, all the people who watch games globally, to have [1.5] million means that system's broken. Absolutely, positively broken."

Cuban, who also thinks All-Star rosters should be expanded a couple of spots for each conference, suggests allowing coaches and/or general managers to vote for the starters as well as the reserves each season.

Cuban's issue isn't as much the results of the fan voting, although he did sarcastically ask if Yao Ming or Tracy McGrady were All-Star starters this year, a reference to the oft-injured former Houston Rockets stars getting big boosts due to their popularity in China in the past. His concern is the relative lack of interest in the balloting.

"They go hand in hand," Cuban said. "We have that few votes, you're going to get one team or one player or one part of the world that skews everything. Again, if we were getting 20, 30, 50 million votes, which shows that fans just love it and wanted to participate, that'd be one thing. Then the fans have spoken.

"But when the number of voters isn't enough to even get anybody to notice ... That means basically .01 percent of NBA fans cared enough to vote, and that's saying every fan voted just once. Probably, if you include global, that means .00001 percent of fans thought enough to vote. That just shows nobody cares."

Only five players received more than one million votes this season: Curry, Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Rockets guard James Harden (who did not make the cut as a starting guard for the West).

"S---, nobody even tried to hack it," Cuban said. "That's how bored they are. So, yeah, I think it's time to do away with it because we're just not getting the response that matters. I don't know how votes have trended in terms of numbers versus past years, but it's obviously not something that fans really care about, given the numbers of votes. And if they don't care about it, we shouldn't do it. We should find a better way."

According to data confirmed by the NBA, All-Star balloting saw a 28 percent increase in fan voting this year with more than 25 million votes cast. The increase occurred despite the NBA, which made every player eligible for voting for the first time, having a 40-day window for voting, 27 days shorter than last year.

All-Star voting in the NBA, unlike in Major League Baseball, is a digital-only program with no paper ballots in arenas.

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