The NBA All-Star Game is a star-studded event in which the best players from each conference sport either the East or the West jersey. The game is scheduled for Feb. 17, 2013 (oh my God…2013) in Houston, Texas this season.
Ah, the All-Star Game. It’s what got me into basketball seven years ago. I was taking a break from television and hadn’t watched in maybe six months or so. I turned it on the night of the 2006 All-Star Game because I was casually keeping up with the Knicks record that season, and I figured the game with all the stars would be fun to watch. When the light from the screen flashed before my eyes, I didn’t know where to look. If that doesn’t tell you how much of a rookie fan I was, then I don’t know what will. However, I wasn’t completely ignorant. I knew some of the names I was hearing, like Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and–actually, that may have been it. Every fan needs to start somewhere, right?
Each year, fans get the privilege of voting on NBA.com for their favorite players to start the All-Star Game. Fans vote in five players for Team East and five players for Team West by position. This year, the center position has been removed, so a fan votes for three forwards and two guards for each conference from a list of nominated players. Write-in votes are also an option. Fans usually don’t care about statistics, they’ll simply pick their favorite players to start the game. The League’s coaches select the bench players.
With a little research, I discovered the All-Star voting used to take place on paper ballots distributed at games and bars. Well now, the Internet has made things a lot more convenient, hasn’t it?
Ever since I began voting for the NBA All-Star Game, well before I was 18 (this isn’t the presidential election here, anyone can vote once per day until voting closes–plus there are loopholes to that rule too, just grab a different computer), I would simply type in NBA.com into my web browser and select my favorite players on the ballot. After voting, the head-shots and names of the players would be lined up, and a voter could share his/her picks with friends via email and social networking sites.
This year, for the first time ever, fans can vote through Twitter and Facebook. It’s as simple as tweeting a player’s first and last name and hashtagging #NBABALLOT.
It’s easy to see why the NBA would decide to do this: more publicity! Social media is HUGE. Fans will watch a game with their laptops and smartphones beside them logged into Twitter and Facebook to share their opinions with their followers and friends–whether or not anyone cares. I’m doing that right now watching the Knicks play the Spurs, attempting to go 6-0. Numerous times, I’ve seen phrases trending on Twitter related to NBA games and other events that successfully tempt me to turn on the television and see for myself what’s happening. For some reason, keeping a trend going is fun. Getting people to talk about something–whether spoken word or typed word–stirs up more interest.
The NBA is doing exactly that with its new Vote-Via-Social-Media Method, and I think it’s a smart move. Get more people to talk about voting, and you get more people to vote. Get more people to vote, and you get more people watching the winners perform on Feb. 17.