Chinese Fans Have Power To Vote Yi Into All-Star Starting Lineup
The All-Star ballot was released last week, and New Jersey forward Yi Jianlian is listed as a nominee.
Yi was averaging just 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds through his first eight games this season.
Those aren’t All-Star numbers, but the 1.3 billion basketball enthusiasts in China could vote him into the starting lineup.
Foreign policy issue
Kevin Garnett and LeBron James were the top two vote-getters for last year’s All-Star Game. This season, however, an unproven player from China is expected not only to cut into their vote total but also challenge them for a starting forward spot. The All-Star ballot was released last week and included New Jersey second-year forward Yi Jianlian. The 7-foot, 238-pounder was traded to the Nets in the offseason after struggling during his rookie season with Milwaukee. Yi has shown signs of being a future star, but he averaged just 10.5 points and 7.6 rebounds through his first eight games this season. Not All-Star numbers. But he will likely benefit from strong voting among the 1.3 billion basketball enthusiasts in China. If he is voted in as a starter, it could rekindle the debate over the fairness of the system. Back in 2003, Houston rookie Yao Ming was voted the Western Conference’s starting center over Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal. By being teammates of Yao in Houston, Steve Francis and Tracy McGrady have benefited from the Chinese vote to gain All-Star starting positions.