Basketball fans rejoice. Be glad. Get pumped. All your dreams are about to come true.
Actually, strike that. One of your dreams will come true…one of the minor ones…roughly one year now.
After much ado about the NBA not televising the 2018 All-Star draft captained by Stephen Curry and LeBron James, the league appears likes it ready to pivot into video (sorry) for the 2019 superstar exhibition. Consider what commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne:
“When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player,” Silver said. “But then … maybe we’re overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”
Pardon my French, but…hellzzz yeah.
Granted, we’ll have to see whether the National Basketball Players’ Association is on the same page as Silver, the fans and the media at large. They were believed to be the driving force behind the closed-door selection process this year. The players, it goes, didn’t want to open themselves up to criticism and social media infamy.
How would the world react if LeBron passed on Kevin Love, his teammate, for someone else? Would Steph feel pressured to pick all his own Golden State Warriors teammates if the selections were going to unfold on live television? What does a public real-time draft do to the egos of the one starter and one reserve who essentially aren’t picked but are instead assigned a team because they’re the last one remaining in the player pool?
These concerns are valid, particularly in the age of Twitter, where everyone is just one minor misstep away from becoming a meme. But both Curry and LeBron seemed game for a televised draft after the fact, and the pick order has since basically been leaked anyway. At least this way, the players can kind of control the narrative. After all, we must assume they’ll be given an opportunity to justify each of their picks if the draft is televised.
Regardless, here’s to the league and the players finding common ground on a live selection pageant for the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte. We, the fans and the media, deserve it.