Thursday, December 27, 2007

China still loves Houston

I'm over the "fans don't vote for the right people as All-Stars" rant. If the All-Star game is for the fans, its never going to be a meritocracy. I've even let go of the belief that the coaches have some moral obligation to pick those most deserving and thus bring at least some justice to the situation. Of course, if we're submitting to the tyranny of the majority, maybe they should just have the game in China from now on. It's possible.

I was interested to see how China would support Yi in the voting this season. Would we see the same dedication that has made Yao a lock since his rookie season? He came in with a lot less hype than Yao, but the analysts told me Yao's support is mainly due to his nationality. This in mind, there is probably a baseline of fame and ability one has to achieve to earn this home-country love. Sorry, Big Dodger.

Yi was a high draft pick, is starting as a rookie, and has been a meaningful contributor. Yet he comes in at just #5 in the Eastern Conference Forward voting. Note that being a highly drafted Chinese player does not guarantee you a spot. You'd have better luck as a Houston Rocket.

The increasingly China-savvy NBA has been making sure to keep the Rockets on as many Chinese televisions as possible since Yao came along. Not surprisingly, team loyalty has grown. Despite the Rockets sucking, Shane Battier is 7th among Western Conference Forwards, with rookie teammate Luis Scola coming in 8th. Take that, Durant.

Tracy McGrady is second amongst Western Conference guards, trailing only Mamba. This puts him ahead of guys like Steve Nash, AI, Baron Davis, and Tony Parker. Of course Yao deservedly leads all Western Conference centers.

Battier and Scola both have more votes than Yi. Sure, this could be attributed to votes outside of China. As far as market size goes, Houston dwarfs Chinese-hating Milwaukie. But China was supposed to wield an enormous axe in this vote. Either the Yao belief that you get on the team if you come from China with any hype has always been wrong, or has recently changed.

Many Chinese fans, like non-Chinese fans, like the players and teams they see the most of. Perhaps this is reason enough to let them watch the good teams, too. 2008 NBA All-Star Balloting Presented by T-Mobile Second Returns Announced

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