Those who follow sports will know that the starters for the NBA All-Star game are chosen by fan ballot, originally this was done at the arenas but with the Internet and the internationalization of basketball most voting is now done online. As a result of fan voting presumably from China and, possibly, Newark, Yi Jianlian, the 21 or 24-year old forward for the New Jersey Nets, has surpassed several established stars and is threatening the starting position of Boston Celtics superstar Kevin Garnett. Yi is a solid NBA player, but he’s hardly in Yao Ming territory, never mind KG.* This week the Beijing Youth Daily questioned whether or not A-Lian, as he is known, deserves to be an all-star.
According to a summary published in the China Daily:
China’s 350 million basketball fans have become an important group for the NBA, so it is not surprising that Yi, a Chinese national, rank thirds in the voting. They believe the votes cast by Chinese fans should carry equal weight with those cast by American or German fans, and they have called on others to be self-confident in participating in the vote.
But others argue that Yi’s skills are not good enough for him to become a starter in the All-Star game. They say some fans have voted for him repeatedly or even resorted to manipulating computer software in an attempt to give him enough votes to be included on the All-Star game’s roster. Those that believe Yi’s skills as a basketball player are below par say the level of All-Star game is lowered by such tactics, which constitute cheating. They also note that forcing the NBA’s global fans to accept the voting results of Chinese fans is not good for the future development of Yi, whom they believe is not qualified to take part in the All-Star game at present.
Interesting dilemma…support the democratic rights of the large number of Chinese fans who want to see Yi hoop it up against the NBA’s best** or else insinuate that such large-scale movements can be a detriment to overall interests and goals.***
*Yi’s also out for the next four weeks with a broken pinkie.
**Just for the record: My all-star picks were Devin Harris, D-Wade, KG, Lebron, and Dwight Howard from the East with Chris Paul, Kobe, Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, and Yao in the West. That Yi Jianlian is getting more votes than Chris Bosh, Danny Granger, or Paul Pierce just kills me.
***Yes, I’m being tongue-in-cheek here. Sorta.