If you had to pick this season's King O' All-Star Snubs, you'd have to pick Chris Webber. Right?
You could likewise argue that Webber isn't even Le King on his own team.
That's because Webber had been selected as an All-Star five times in 11 seasons before losing a West reserve spot to Seattle's Rashard Lewis last week. So at least Webber knows how it feels to be an All-Star, several times over.
But Mike Bibby?
Webb's point guard is 0-for-7 lifetime in fan and coach balloting.
And his seventh snub comes with Bibby having perhaps his best season. Playing more minutes than he ever has in Sacramento, with Bobby Jackson out for the season and the Kings fielding their thinnest team in years, Bibby is carrying averages of 18.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds. As much because of Bibby as Webber, Sacramento sports the sixth-best record in the league.
Yet the most we can offer Bibby in consolation is a spot on our All-Harper Team, so named in honor of two Stein Line favorites of recent vintage who were snubbed out of the All-Star Game throughout their careers: Derek Harper and Ron Harper.
Here, then, is the up-to-date All-Harper Team, eligible only to active players who have never made an All-Star roster.
Point guard: Mike Bibby
As mentioned above, Bibby is having a special season, which explains his post-snub admission that this one "hurts bad."
That said, it's tough to argue with the five West guards ahead of him this February: Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady are the fans' starters, backed up by Steve Nash, Ray Allen and wild-card selection Manu Ginobili.
It obviously came down to Ginobili vs. Bibby in the coaches' vote, and Webber (in the interest of fair disclosure) was the only King chosen on my reserve ballot.
(A special mention, from the veterans' committee, goes to Rod Strickland, who's still around but well removed from the days when he was a true snubee. That would be 1997-98, when Rod led the league in assists.)
Shooting guard: Rip Hamilton
As we've covered extensively in this cyberspace, Detroit didn't merit an All-Star in my view because the Pistons' first-half play has been too ragged, unworthy of defending champions.
The coaches disagreed and selected Ben Wallace as a backup center, but Hamilton would have been the choice here had we picked a Piston. He has been steadier than Big Ben and Chauncey Billups, who joins Cedric Maxwell and Wes Unseld as the only NBA Finals MVPs not to make the All-Star team the following season. (Although we will concede that Billups would have been the best story -- as a returning Denver native ... and with the locals needing a rooting interest in Sunday's game.)
Small forward: Jim Jackson
He's not an All-Star contender anymore, but he's a dependable vet who should be remembered for more than refusing to report to New Orleans ... or playing for more teams than anyone except Tony Massenburg and Chucky Brown.
Don't forget Jackson, now 34, averaged nearly 26 points a game in 1994-95, and be advised that his career scoring average is still a healthy 15.1 points.
We could have fudged a little and put Golden State's Jason Richardson here, but Richardson still has a decent shot to make an All-Star Game someday. That's even more true for Carmelo Anthony, who can't really be dubbed a snubee after just a season and a half in the pros.
Power forward: Jalen Rose
You knew there was going to be a lefty on this squad, but we didn't have to pick Rose. Toni Kukoc was another option, as was Keith Van Horn -- a pretty qualified righty whose career scoring average (17.1) is tied for third with Richardson's on the list of active All-Star snubees.
Chris Bosh, who looks as though he'll be an All-Star by next February, is the real power forward in Toronto, but Rose, at 6-8, will do in a pinch.
Yet the real reason Rose wins out is because I've always felt he has a worse-than-deserved rep. He has a point when he says, "The only way I'm going to make it is if my team goes 82-0 and I'm playing pretty good."
Center: Pau Gasol
Now that Antawn Jamison will be making his first All-Star appearance, Gasol has inherited Jamison's spot as the top scorer on the list of active snubees (with a minimum of 250 games played) at 18.2 ppg.
That puts Gasol ahead of Hamilton (17.3), and -- worse yet -- it's tough to see how the Spaniard is going to make his All-Star breakthrough in the loaded West. The conference is teeming with quality forwards, as everyone knows, and even if you consider Gasol a center, he's going to have (serious) trouble displacing Yao Ming or Amare Stoudemire.
Sad but true: Until he becomes a better rebounder, Gasol probably will be stuck waiting on All-Star injuries.