The 2014 WNBA All-Star Game was received with praise by fans within and outside the league. I'll admit, the game was even better than I thought it would be.
With that being said, there are still things that the league could improve on. Here are some suggestions:
Include ALL CURRENT WNBA players on the ballot
From now on, we should see all 11 or 12 players on each WNBA team's opening day roster on the ballot, and allow fans to vote for their top five for each conference. If a player on the opening day roster gets cut later on, then she is ineligible and removed from the ballot online. Her replacement would be added on. On top of all that, this eliminates the need for a write-in vote, because the voter can choose any player to be on the All-Star team.
This gives every WNBA player a fair opportunity to get votes, especially when her performance warrants it. It also allows fans to truly vote who they want, without the teams telling them which five are their picks and semi-forcing fans to go in a certain direction.
Is it possible that a 12th man could end up being a starter? Sure, but it's not likely. Even though fans don't always vote for the five best players on each conference, they probably aren't going to just vote for 12th men just because they can.
Allow fans to vote for their entire teams on social media
People want to be able to vote for whoever they want in the most convenient way possible. Currently, that can only be done through Facebook or Twitter once a day for one player. With all the social media management platforms available, I don't see why fans can't just vote for an entire team on those platforms. Let's try to make it happen that way from 2015 on.
Include Instagram as a way to allow fans to vote for their favorite players
The staff here's on record for hating this satirical song, even this version tailored for the Seattle Storm:
But the Storm players in the video and mysticsfan1217 also show my next point. Instagram is a really popular social media platform which allows people to share their favorite pictures and then get likes from their friends after their selfies, or other pictures while out and about, or at home ... or anytime really. All from the convenience from their cell phones.
If the WNBA can allow fans to take a picture of themselves or at a game, and vote on Instagram, that's all the better. Besides, the W has an account of its own, and there are social media management platforms to find out who is voting for whom.
Have a separate All-Star Showcase held one day before the game
The WNBA has been here long enough to a point to where the All-Star weekend should be more than just a game on a Saturday afternoon, and a practice the day before. I think that there really should be a WNBA All-Star Saturday night, not unlike what the NBA has.
For example on Friday, we could have the practices in the daytime. Then on Saturday, we can have an All-Star Saturday night which features:
- Three point shooting contest
- Skills competition in a relay format
- A Shooting Stars competition which is like the NBA All-Star Game's equivalent of a NBA player, WNBA player, and a retired NBA player. However, let's make it two WNBA players and a retired WNBA player. The league's been here long enough for us to have a crop of retired players available for this event, at least theoretically.
- A co-ed basketball game featuring some of the younger WNBA players (rookies and sophomores) who didn't make the All-Star Game and some NBA players.
I know that the NBA is now getting really close to being a 24/7/365 experience with Summer League being watched more closely than ever before. Therefore, it's going to be hard to time the All-Star Game to be after the NBA's Vegas Summer League tournament ends. But at the same time, there are many great NBA players who genuinely like the WNBA and would probably like to take part in the co-ed game. It would be something to watch in my opinion.
Then on Sunday, let's have the All-Star game.
These are just some ideas I have on how to improve the WNBA All-Star Game's balloting, and the experience that is All-Star Weekend. Any more thoughts you have? Share them in the comments below.