The NBA All-Star event is one of the biggest highlights of the basketball season with exciting events such as the Rising Stars Game with rookies and the Slam Dunk Contest. Of course, the climax of the event is the All-Star game that features the top stars of the league. Fans look forward to seeing various superstars playing in the same team in addition to the flashy plays and explosive dunks. With this year’s All-Star vote results out, prominent individuals such as Stephen Curry or LeBron James will be participating in the All-Star game. However, there has been one controversy regarding the selection of a All-Star starter, Andrew Wiggins.
The process of the player selection in the All-Star game consists of multiple components. There are three types of voting that occurs when it comes to choosing the 10 starters for the All-Star game. The fans’ votes count as 50%, the players’ votes count as 25%, and the media’s votes count as another 25% of the selection process. Until 2017, the whole selection process was entirely dependent on the fans’ votes, but as certain fandoms were dominant in the voting process, many criticized that the All-Star vote has become a popularity contest, and they have altered the process. However, the essential problem of fan-contest has still not been solved with the hot discussion regarding the selection.
The controversy started when the Golden State Warriors nominated a K-pop singer BamBam as a global ambassador for the team on January 7, 2022. On the same day, BamBam made a tweet about his support for Warriors players Stephen Curry and Andrew Wiggins as they were incredible players and he respects them very much. He also stated that people should vote for them for the All-Star game as they deserve to be an All-Star. The tweet itself had no issue as he was genuinely supportive of the players and wanted to display his support on Twitter. However, BamBam is a huge social media influence, especially in parts of Asia with nearly 10 million followers on Twitter, along with millions of followers in other social media platforms. After the tweet went viral, k-pop fans began retweeting BamBam’s tweets and voting for the players that he mentioned. The NBA has set Twitter as a more accessible ways to vote for the players with the easy procedure of putting hashtag of the player’s last name and #NBAAllStar. Taking advantage of this, Wiggins rapidly gained votes from k-pop fans, finishing third place in his position with over 3 million votes, ultimately being selected as one of the All -Star game’s starters.
It is hard to deny that Wiggins is an outstanding player in the league, but both statistically and popularity-wise, there were much more viable options who did not get to participate in the event. With the intense voting just out of following their k-pop idol, people have been criticizing the system of the NBA All-Star voting and the legitimacy of fan votes.