The All-Star Game is a fine exhibition, and a spectacle worthy of the league’s ever growing popularity. It brings entertainment. It brings some inevitable disappointment. It rolls up a weekend of fun into one easily digestible and ultimately forgettable package, with only a few exemplary dunk contest highlights enduring beyond the weekend’s end.
It’s not something worth getting all that worked up over, one way or another. The fans — who vote for the game’s starters via pure popular vote — sometimes make mistakes. The coaches — who select the game’s reserves — occasionally leave out a worthy candidate or two. These things happen, and we move on. We forget that there was ever an issue until the next year’s selection process creates a similar pseudo-controversy. It’s just the way of it, and I wouldn’t count on it changing any time soon.
That said, there is an odd sense of regret in the notion that Dirk Nowitzki shouldn’t — by any criterion — be considered an All-Star this season. It’s not that his case is weak; a case for Dirk simply cannot be made. Nowitzki hasn’t been a quality shot creator this season, nor has he been able to capitalize on looks created for him by others. His struggles have reduced him to an often ineffective complementary piece, and even with a list of prior accomplishments longer than his seven-foot frame, looking past Nowitzki’s issues this season is beyond unfair to the glut of qualified forward candidates in the West.
If Nowitzki is indeed excluded — as he should be at this point — his absence will generate more than a few headlines. Flames will be stoked, and discussions will be had. Just don’t forget that these things happen, and we move on. The cycle never changes, even if the names always do, and whether Dirk ends up an All-Star or not is only an inconsequential bit of trivia for his Wikipedia page.