The NBA All-Star Game is probably the greatest All-Star Game in all of the American professional sports. It’s not just the game, but an entire weekend of festivities and competitions highlighting the incredible athletes that play the game.
Despite all the stars and the pageantry surrounding the event each February, there are always the players that get in that make you scratch your head. Maybe they’re aged stars trading on past glories and rabid fan-bases. Maybe they’re guys who look good because they’re on good teams. Either way, they just don’t belong.
This list has 25 of the most undeserving of those guys. Flip through hand see what you think.
25. Dick McGuire
OK, to be fair to McGuire the NBA was a much different place in the ‘50s. Teams weren’t putting up the points totals that they are today, there was no 3 point line, and the game was just played differently.
Those are all great excuses for why Dick McGuire’s numbers could possibly be ignored when discussing his All-Star credentials. That is until you find out that he was also shooting just 34.7 percent from the field. The guy just wasn’t very good that year.
Team: New York Knicks
Stats at All-Star Break: 6.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.8 APG
24. Julius Erving
Keep in mind this was not peak Dr. J. This was the good Doctor’s final season in the league. The dunks weren’t quite as spectacular and the hair wasn’t quite so high. He wasn’t even the best player on his team anymore. He had passed that torch on to Charles Barkley and Maurice Cheeks.
Despite all this, the fans wanted to see Erving one last time, and the fans get what they want. At age 36, this was Erving’s 16th and final All-Star Game appearance, when you add in his selections to the ABA showcase.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Stats at All-Star Break: 15.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.7 BPG
23. Antonio Davis
If you asked Antonio Davis about his career he would probably tell you he did just fine, and he would tell you while fanning himself with all the money he made over 13 seasons in the league. However, he wouldn’t tell you he was a star. No one would. He’s a guy who had it all come together for one season.
Well, almost. Sure he was averaging a double-double, but neither of the totals was very high. Just let him have it, it was his only trip to the All-Star game. Besides, he seems like a nice guy.
Team: Toronto Raptors
Stats at All-Star Break: 13.7 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.9BPG
22. Rickey Green
Rickey was having himself a nice little season when the All-Star game rolled around in 1984. Averaging nearly a double-double and shooting almost 50% from the field, not bad. The counter-argument is that he was doing it for a lackluster Utah Jazz team that would finish barely above .500 on the season.
Was this the guy who fans wanted to see playing in an All-Star game? Probably not. After all, Green averaged 9.4 points and 5.5 assists per game for his career. Not exactly a “putting butts in seats” kind of career.
Team: Utah Jazz
Stats at All-Star Break: 13.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 9.2 APG, 2.7 SPG
21. Kyle Korver
With this All-Star selection, Korver became the fourth-oldest first-time selection in NBA history. Ok, that’s a pretty niche stat but it illustrates the point that Korver never really was an All-Star caliber player.
He made this team as he aged and carved out a second act as a 3-point specialist. Still though, 12.9 points per game and just a handful of rebounds. It’s not exactly a breakout performance to earn your first ASG selection. 3-Point Contest participant? Sure, why not.
Team: Atlanta Hawks
Stats at All-Star Break: 12.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.5 BPG
20. Lionel Hollins
No, the numbers aren’t exciting. Hollins was putting up an average season in pretty much all statistical categories. So why was he selected to an All-Star Game? Hollins was selected to the All-Defensive team at years end. The guy was a stud on defense.
Did someone forget to tell the voters that there’s no defense played in an NBA All-Star Game? Apparently, they did because this guy got in. It also helped that he was on a truly great Trailblazers team that included future Hall of Famer Bill Walton.
Team: Portland Trailblazers
Stats at All-Star Break: 15.9 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 1.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG
19. Steve Johnson
If you look across the league at the number of players averaging 15 and 5 per game you’ll find probably 30 guys who are putting up those numbers. Those guys aren’t getting invited to play in the All-Star Game.
Poor Steve Johnson didn’t even get to play in the one ASG he was selected to due to an ankle injury. Maybe that was the basketball god’s way of saying he didn’t deserve to be in the game.
Team: Portland Trailblazers
Stats at All-Star Break: 15.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.7 BPG
18. Theo Ratliff
Theo Ratliff was rewarded for having a career year, but a career year for Theo Ratliff is hardly All-Star quality. Looking through the rest of the big men selected for the EAST in 2001 makes us wonder if it was just a weird year for big men.
Ratliff’s fellow ASG teammates included Anthony Mason, Antonio Davis, and an ancient Dikembe Mutombo. In the context of those selections, Ratliff makes more sense. Unfortunately for Theo, he was unable to play due to injury.
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Stats at All-Star Break: 12.4 PPG, 8.3 RPG, 1.2, 0.6 SPG, 3.7 BPG
17. Tyson Chandler
Believe it or not, this was Tyson Chandler’s first All-Star Game appearance. It seems like he should have been selected more often, but it’s sometimes hard to put into statistics what a good rim protector looks like.
Chandler’s double-double numbers are good, not great. The true powerhouse big men are averaging far more than 11 PPG to go with their 11 rebounds. This is a great example of why Tyson Chandler is a good, not great NBA basketball player.
Team: New York Knicks
Stats at All-Star Break: 11.4 PPG, 11.1 RPG
16. Kevin Garnett
This is not the angry man-eating KG that dominated the NBA and was part of the original Big-3 that won a title with the Celtics. This was “just before the Nets trade” Garnett. The ASG selection was his 15th and final selection and by this point, he was putting up modest numbers.
It’s great for KG that he got one last chance to say goodbye to an All-Star crowd, but who could that spot have gone to that would have been more worthy. A young Steph Curry was averaging 20 and 6, he could have gone. Fellow big man Brook Lopez was averaging 18 and 7, he could have taken Garnett’s spot.
Team: Boston Celtics
Stats at All-Star Break: 15.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG
15. Dale Davis
Dale was doing fine. The guy was averaging 10 and 10 and playing decent defense. But nothing about those numbers screams All-Star. So why did he make the mid-season classic? We couldn’t tell you.
It’s possible it’s because he was on a great team and the league figured they needed more Pacers than Reggie Miller to be represented. Be honest though, can you name any other Indiana Pacers from that generation of Pacers teams? Unless you live in the Hoosier state, probably not. This was Dale Davis’ only All-Star game appearance, so hopefully, he enjoyed it.
Team: Indiana Pacers
Stats at All-Star Break: 48G, 11.2 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.4 BPG
14. Joe Barry Carroll
A number 1 overall pick making an All-Star Game, not a surprise. The fact that this number 1 overall pick made an All-Star Game, now that is a surprise. The Warriors acquired him with the pick that they got in the trade that sent Robert Parrish to the Celtics. Clearly, one team got the better end of that deal.
Back to JBC though. The biggest disappointment from these numbers is the rebounds. Surely a 7-footer should be gathering in more than 7 rebounds a game. We’re talking about the rough and tumble era of the NBA too. If you weren’t bumping and grinding in the paint you weren’t making it. Seems like Joe wasn’t.
Team: Golden State Warriors
Stats at All-Star Break: 49G, 20.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.5 BPG
13. Isiah Thomas
This selection is a great example of a lifetime achievement selection. Don’t get us wrong, Isiah Thomas was a great player. He’s in the Hall of Fame, but his 1993 selection was based on previous merits.
The numbers are fine, and the Pistons were still good, but it was definitely time to let a younger generation shine. The fans disagreed though, and Thomas was voted an All-Star starter yet again. The feisty guard put up 8 points and 4 assists in the game that the East lost in overtime.
Team: Detroit Pistons
Stats at All-Star Break: 47G, 16.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 8.9 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3, BPG
12. Jamaal Magloire
Jamaal Magloire had a fine NBA career and probably made millions of dollars as a result of it. However, did anyone ever look at him and go, “That’s a guy we need to see in an All-Star game?” Probably not. However, when you look at the big man talent in the Eastern Conference at that time, his selection makes more sense.
While the Western Conference touted talents like Shaq, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, the East pretty much just had Ben Wallace and Jermaine O’Neal. It makes sense now, doesn’t it? Magloire made the most of his one trip to the All-Star game though as he scored 19 points and grabbed 8 rebounds.
Team: New Orleans Hornets
Stats at All-Star Break: 52G, 12.1 PPG, 9.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.6 SPG, 1.3 BPG.
11. B.J. Armstrong
Think back to the ‘90s. Remember how popular the Chicago Bulls teams were in those days? They were basketball in the NBA. So, when Michael Jordan abruptly leaves basketball that adoration has to shift to someone else wearing red and black. Enter B.J. Armstrong.
Yes, B.J. did set career highs in all the major offensive categories that season, but we aren’t talking about massive numbers here. They were good for B.J. but weren’t blowing away the rest of the league. Unsurprisingly, this was his only All-Star game selection and you all know what happened when MJ came back to basketball.
Team: Chicago Bulls
Stats at All-Star Break: 47G, 15.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.1 BPG
10. A.C. Green
A.C. Green was not a player meant for the spotlight, despite playing for the “Showtime” Lakers. Green was the grinder, the defensive stopper, the enforcer in the paint. Apparently, the fans thought it was time for Green to get some recognition and they voted him a starter.
He didn’t exactly take the opportunity to show off. Green played just 12 minutes, missed all three shots he took and grabbed just 3 rebounds. That was, unsurprisingly, Green’s only All-Star game appearance.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Stats at All-Star Break: 46 G, 13.3 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.8 BPG
9. Vlade Divac
Without a doubt, Vlade Divac is one of the greatest Sacramento Kings to ever play the game, and one of the best European imports to grace the NBA. Divac’s had his number 21 retired in Sacramento after playing six seasons with the team. He’s just one of seven players to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, and 1,500 blocked shots.
It’s a remarkable list he’s on, yet this was his only All-Star Game appearance. However, this nob seems like more of a lifetime achievement selection rather than a worthy selection. 10 and 6 isn’t bad, but it also isn’t setting the league on fire either.
Team: Sacramento Kings
Stats at All-Star Break: 46 G, 10.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.0 BPG
8. Tyrone Hill
Tyrone Hill is a great example of the “Lunch pail and hard hat” guy getting respect from the fans. Look, he was averaging a double-double at the time of his selection. However, he was selected alongside future Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Patrick Ewing, and Alonzo Mourning in the East backcourt.
This was Hill’s one trip to the All-Star Game, and he proved he didn’t need another trip. Hill played six minutes and took just one shot. He didn’t leave the fans clamoring for more.
Team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Stats at All-Star Break: 44G, 13.6 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.6 BPG
7. Kevin Duckworth
Duckworth actually wasn’t voted in as an All-Star. Right before the All-Star break, Houston Rockets star Hakeem Olajuwon took a vicious elbow to the face that left him with several broken bones around his eye. Obviously, Olajuwon was not able to play in the exhibition game as he recovered, so in steps Kevin Duckworth.
Duckworth was playing well on a great Trailblazers team, lead by Clyde Drexler. The league figured why not get another Trailblazer in there? He must be good if his team is that good. He scored 6 points in 19 minutes of action.
Team: Portland Trailblazers
Stats at All-Star Break: 47 G, 16.1 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG
6. Shaquille O’Neal
The number of games played in the above stat line should prove the point enough, Shaq shouldn’t have been in the game. Can you really blame the people for wanting to get as much of Shaq as they could though?
Shaq was coming off of knee surgery and had only played 13 games in a season for the Heat that was dominated by injuries for both of the stars, including Dwayne Wade. Surely the Heat front office couldn’t have been too pleased that the Big Aristotle was playing in a meaningless game so soon after his surgery, but he didn’t get injured in the game so no harm no foul, right?
Team: Miami Heat
Stats at All-Star Break: 13 G, 13.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.3 SPG, 1.8 BPG
5. Allen Iverson
For a lot of NBA fans of a certain age, AI is and always will be the king. Despite his size disadvantage Iverson used his dogged tenacity to carve out a Hall of Fame career for himself. However, the AI that showed up to the 2010 All-Star game was a shadow is his previous self.
2010 AI was on his fourth team in 3 seasons and his last in the NBA before heading off to Turkey for a final season. This wasn’t the AI that was breaking ankles with his deadly crossovers. This AI was just looking to boost his points total and climb the rankings before he headed into retirement.
Team: Philadephia 76ers
Stats at All-Star Break: 25 G, 14.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 4.2 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG
4. James Donaldson
James Donaldson is just one of 2 players on this list who were averaging less than 10 points per game when they were selected. The other, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has scored more points than anyone in history so he gets a bit of a pass.
Obviously, basketball is more than just scoring points, but the rest of his numbers aren’t great either. In reality, Donaldson was an injury replacement so people weren’t actually that excited to see him in the game. He played like a guy scoring 7.1 PPG in the All-Star game too when he didn’t even attempt a shot.
Team: Dallas Mavericks
Stats at All-Star Break: 43 G, 7.1 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 0/6 APG, 0.4 SPG, 1.1 BPG
3. Kobe Bryant
Play 6 games and make an All-Star game, pretty sweet deal if you can get it. Of course, for Bryant, this was just 1 of 18 All-Star game appearances and the 15th in a row. There was a streak at stake despite Bryant coming off a significant knee injury.
Alas, Bryant didn’t play in the game due to the injury and was replaced on the roster by an up and coming Anthony Davis. He was replaced in the starting lineup by James Harden. Yes, that’s right. Kobe was voted an All-Star game starter despite playing in just 6 games. The Kobestan’s were out in force that season.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Stats at All-Star Break: 6 G, 13.8 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem The Dream was on a victory lap. It was his final season, and this was his record 19th All-Star game selection. He’s one of the all-time greats and it was nice he got one last time in the spotlight before he hung it up. Did he deserve to be in the game due to his play on the court though? No way.
The skyhook had begun to droop, and so had his importance to the Lakers. Magic and James Worthy were carrying the team in those days and Kareem was more of a role player.
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Stats at All-Star Break: 39 G, 9.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.4 SPG, 0.9 BPG
1. Yao Ming
No, the 5 G listed above is not your cell coverage provided by Verizon, that’s Yao Ming playing in 5 games before the All-Star break. Utterly ridiculous, but as long as fans have a vote, we will continue to get selections like this.
Yao wasn’t even able to play in the game due to injury, so Kevin Love took his spot. Wouldn’t it be better if players who were injured weren’t eligible to be selected so replacement guys like Kevin Love didn’t have an asterisk by their selections? Maybe, maybe not.
Team: Houston Rockets
Stats at All-Star Break: 5 G, 10.2 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.0 SPG, 1.6 BPG