When NBA All-Star voting begins Christmas Day, fans will have only half as much say as they used to when it comes to choosing starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference.
The NBA announced Monday that instead of fans accounting for 100 percent of the vote – as they have since the 1974-75 season – their vote will count as 50 percent starting with this year’s Feb. 19 game in New Orleans. Players and basketball media will each make up 25 percent of the remaining vote, and coaches will continue to select reserves.
The change makes the NBA’s system similar to the ones adopted by the NFL and MLB. Since 1995, the NFL has split its vote into thirds between the fans, coaches and players. Before that, only players and coaches voted. Major League Baseball lets fans select the starters and then uses a combination of player voting and manager selection to fill out the roster.
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NBA fans have a history of doing a fairly credible job of selecting All-Star starters, but there is the occasional unwarranted popularity nod, like the one that went to an injured Kobe Bryant in the midst of his worst season as a pro in 2013-14. It’s unlikely Bryant would have made the cut in the new system.