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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The digital democracy of NBA All-Star voting

By Henry Abbott

NBA All-Star game
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images
Voting by Twitter, Facebook, SMS, web and more, oh my!

OK, maybe it has been a decade since my hairline receded so much I started shaving my head as a defense mechanism. Maybe the term "arthritis" does get thrown around now and again when I show my doctor a sports injury.

But darn it, I'm not that old. I mean, I still have both original hips!

And yet I can still remember clearly a time when voting for All-Stars was like voting for your government: Limited to very select times and places and riddled with hanging chads.

At NBA games, in the right part of the season, they would hand out precious paper ballots. That was pretty much the only way you could get one.

Well, that's not entirely true. As I recall (now remember, I'm old as dirt, so my memory falters sometimes) there was one other place you could get a precious ballot: At bars where Miller Lite was served.

I'm pretty sure that was the electorate, in a nutshell, circa 1989: Paying customers of the NBA and people who drink Miller Lite. Those were to NBA All-Star voting as Democrats and Republicans are to government.

Advocates of the two-party system will be aghast, then, to learn how All-Star voting is going down this year. From an NBA press release, announcing that voting has just opened:
2013 NBA All-Star Balloting presented by Sprint gives fans around the world the opportunity to vote daily for their favorite players as starters for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston. For the first time ever, NBA fans can vote via social media networks, including Facebook and Twitter, and Sina Weibo and Tencent QQ in China.

Twitter voting will allow fans to tweet a vote for one player each day throughout the All-Star balloting period. The tweet must include a player’s first and last name, along with hash tag #NBABALLOT. Facebook voting will allow fans to fill out one full ballot (three frontcourt and two guards from each conference) per day, through a custom application on Facebook.

Fans can also access the ballot and vote through the NBA Game Time and NBA Game Time from Sprint applications, available on Android and iOS. NBA fans can fill out one full ballot (three frontcourt and two guards from each conference) per day, through the NBA Game Time and NBA Game Time from Sprint application, the most comprehensive app in the marketplace for NBA fans.

There are several other ways fans can cast their votes as part of this season’s all-digital program including: in 11 languages on NBA.com/ASB, through SMS voting by texting the player's last name to 6-9-6-2-2 ("MYNBA") or by visiting NBA.com/ASB on any wireless device. Fans can vote for 10 different players per day, per phone number, via SMS voting by sending 10 separate SMS messages, each one with a different player's last name. Message and data rates may apply.