The NBA runs its All-Star weekend better than any other league. Despite the obvious judicial bias towards big-name players, the dunk contest remains a major draw for the viewing public. The 3-point shooting contest is always fun because you get to watch role players beat Hall of Famers at their supposed specialty (see last year, with James Jones beating Ray Allen and Paul Pierce). And of course the All-Star game is exciting in many different ways. You get to see Kobe’s desperate attempts to prove he’s still a level above everyone else, Durant going into Rucker Park mode due to the complete lack of defense, and LeBron trying to remember not to glare at the crowd after every dunk.
The problem with the All-Star game, though, is that there’s nothing at stake. The players know they’re at the top of the game, the cream of the crop, so to speak, and they don’t expend much effort. So why not introduce a game in which there’s a little more drama?
My suggestion: an All-Bedshitters Game. Or an All-Flops Game, or an All-Disappointments Game, or whatever you want to call it. The teams would be composed of the most disappointing players every season – former All-Stars who are averaging career lows, starters who are playing their way out out of the lineup, role players who are playing themselves out of the league. Just guys who have been proverbially shitting the bed for their teams. Not due to old age or injury; we don’t want to put a Bedshitter asterisk next to Kevin Garnett or Greg Oden’s names. These guys should just be having crappy years.
Now, there will also have to be some sort of motivating factor for them. Let’s make the prize for the winning team a huge pile of cash. Where does that money come from? You make these guys forfeit a month’s salary just for being selected to the team. So in essence they’re playing for the chance to recoup their lost salary, plus a good chunk of their opponents’ money.
Also, you want to make sure that there is the appropriate level of glitz and glamor surrounding the game. The NBA could get a bunch of sponsorships from companies like Ocean State Job Lot, Shurfine, 7-Eleven, Arby’s, and so on.
Then, because you want to ensure that there’s a sellout crowd, invite all the homeless people of whatever city the game’s being hosted in for the night. Play it off as a charity event and get some donations; maybe the government will even subsidize the arena as a shelter for the night. I don’t know how these things work. (Note: I’m aware that Bill Simmons suggested this for the Atlanta Hawks a few years back. Whatever; it’s an inspired idea).
Now that all the logistics are settled…I now present your 2012 All-Bedshitters.
West All-Bedshitters: Devin Harris, Raja Bell (all-Jazz backcourt!), Metta World Peace, Lamar Odom (captain), Andris Biedrins. Subs: John Salmons, J.J Hickson, Dirk Nowitzki (painful, but he’s been bad by his standards), Kendrick Perkins, Emeka Okafor.
East All-Bedshitters: Jameer Nelson, Stephen Jackson (captain), Tayshaun Prince, Glen Davis, JaVale McGee (actually having an OK year, but the stupid stuff he does qualifies him. Like running back on defense when his team still has the ball). Subs: Toney Douglas, Jason Richardson, Omri Casspi, Mike Miller, Udonis Haslem, Glen Davis, Jermaine O’Neal.
Things I learned from this little hypothetical:
The East is much, much worse than the West; Utah has its frontcourt to thank for its surprising start, because Devin Harris and Raja Bell aren’t doing it any Favors (I’ll get my coat); Miami’s looking a bit vulnerable this year because its role players haven’t stepped up as much (Battier also hasn’t been great); Dwight Howard has good reason to want to leave the Magic.
The final lesson: I definitely shouldn’t have picked so many of these guys on my fantasy team.