Charles Barkley called it a "travesty" that Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard are All-Stars this season. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Never shy from speaking his mind, Charles Barkley went on record about his feelings towards fans voting for NBA All-Star starters.
Barkley, an 11 time All-Star, said he thinks people should not be allowed to vote for who starts in an All-Star game, pointing to the selection of Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard this season as a "travesty" committed by the fans.
Howard, a six-time All-Star, is in the midst of a sub par season, though even at less-than-full-strength he is widely regarded as one of the top centers in the Western Conference. He is averaging 17.3 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in his first season with the Lakers and hasn't missed a game despite claiming he still hasn't recovered 100 percent from lingering back problems. Garnett, 36, though certainly no longer "da kid," a nickname given to him in his earlier years, is still among the better power forwards in the Eastern Conference. A 14 time All-Star, he is averaging 14.6 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Celtics, his worst stats since the 2009-10 season.
Voting ends in the middle of January but Barkley said he won't approve of some of the players who are likely to appear at the game in Houston in February, according to comments he recently made on South Florida's 104.3 The Ticket WMSF-FM. Hat tip to Chris Tomasson of Fox Sports for the transcription:
"I don’t think the fans should ever vote is because they just vote for their favorite players,’’ Barkley told WMSF-FM. “I’m a big Kevin Garnett fan. But there’s no way in the world he should be starting the All-Star game right now. And the same way with Dwight Howard. Those fans who have penciled those two guys in (to) start… that’s a travesty to be honest. I like Dwight Howard but he ain’t played like no All-Star this year and Kevin Garnett (the same)."
As of Dec. 27, Howard has received 616,150 votes, second-most in the Western Conference behind Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Garnett has received 328,716 votes, third in the Eastern Conference behind Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks and LeBron James of the Miami Heat, who received the most of any All-Star with over 970,000 votes.
Two significant changes to the ballots this year are the exclusion of the center position -- it is now three forwards and two guards -- and for the first time ever, the opportunity for fans to use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to cast a vote.