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Sports Medley: 2015 NBA All Star game

by Tony Medley

What if they had a game and nobody played? When Chicago Tribune Sports Editor Art Ward founded the All Star game concept in 1933, the idea was to answer the question, who would win between the best players in baseball in the American and National Leagues? The players who were chosen (Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Frankie Frisch, Pepper Martin, Al Simmons, Jimmy Foxx, Joe Cronin, Bill Dickey, etc.) played the entire game. It was a true All Star game.

No more. Even baseball’s game has descended into politically correct madness which requires that each team must be represented on the rosters and just about every player must get to play. It’s not an All Star game; it’s an All Star exposition. The basic reason for the game, who would win between the best players of both leagues, is ignored. But if baseball’s All Star game is nothing more than a waste of time, the NBA has carried it much further into avaricious foolishness.

Philosopher George Berkeley’s ideas of unperceived existence, referenced above, found a life in this year’s NBA All-Star game, certainly without question the worst basketball game ever played since Prof. James Naismith invented the sport in the latter part of the 19th Century. The lack of effort and defense on the part of the “world’s best players” was disgraceful.

It was little more than a competition as to who could take the most three-point shots. Time and again a player would find himself with the ball standing under the basket with not a defender in sight. Instead of taking the easy two, the player would pass it out to someone behind the line so he could take one of the more than 100 three point shots attempted in the game.

When center Bill Walton was playing for Portland, one of his teammates was guard Geoff Petrie, never one to turn down a shooting opportunity. Finally Walton, only a rookie at the time, called time out, picked up the ball, and handed it to coach Lenny Wilkens, saying, “Here, you play with him. He obviously doesn’t want to play with me.”

Not unlike Petrie, Oklahoma City Guard Russell Westbrook is not one to disdain opportunity. Westbrook is in a league by himself for selfishness (he won’t even pass the ball to teammate Kevin Durant, the best shooter in the NBA). He is the most notorious gunner I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen Pete Maravich, Sidney Wicks, Kobe Bryant, and Alan Iverson, who I had thought were in a league of their own. But Westbrook makes them look like pikers.

Not even a starter, he saw immediately that this was a game for selfish people and he excelled, taking 28 shots in only 22 minutes of playing time! I can’t recall him passing the ball once, although I admit I watched most of the game on fast forward because it was so mind-numbingly boring.

Access to what started out in baseball in 1933 as the “fan’s game,” has been greatly restricted by the ogres who run the NBA (and that includes the players who participated in this travesty). Get this, normal fans can’t even buy tickets to the All Star game directly! All tickets are restricted! And have been for the past five years! A normal basketball fan has to go to the “secondary market” and the average price of a ticket there was $1,837.

But, let’s get serious here. Who in their right mind would pay anything to watch the despicable display last Sunday evening, must less thousands of dollars?