• NBA teams are known to get creative when it comes to campaigning for their players to make the All-Star game. The Crossover ranks the five best for 2017.
By Rohan Nadkarni
January 09, 2017

NBA All-Star campaigns tend to reach ridiculous heights—see Bosh, Chris—this time of the year. 

Fan voting is underway for the 2017 All-Star Game in New Orleans and runs through Jan. 16. As is customary around the Association every year, some teams try much harder than others to earn your vote and get their players to the game, especially when it comes to first-time selections. 

While some campaigns get absurdly creative, others trade spectacle in for sheer quantity with social media posts. With that in mind, let’s rank some of the more notable All-Star campaigns we’ve seen so far this season.

5. Milwaukee Bucks: #VoteTheFuture

The Bucks have gone on an all-out social media blitz in an attempt to get Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker to New Orleans for what would be their first All-Star games. It feels like almost every third tweet on the Bucks’ timeline is asking you to vote. This isn’t a bad campaign, and though Giannis should be an All-Star easily on merit, his small-market status makes it understandable why the Bucks feel the need to stump for him so aggressively. My issue here is the inclusion of Parker, who frankly feels like a throw-in. Jabari is certainly having a career year and he’s worthy of some mild All-Star consideration, but his chances are slim with big names like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love also in the running. Also, the Bucks are hovering around .500! You don’t get two All-Stars for that. Focus the efforts solely on Giannis (who is looking great on the cover of SI) and make that hashtag something like #VoteTheFreak (#FreakTheVote..?) and you have a much better campaign. 

4. Dallas Mavericks: The Harrison Barnes All-Star Burger

I love this move from the Mavs, because I don’t think it even counts as a campaign. Dallas is sending out some perfunctory tweets about getting Barnes elected as an All-Star, but the cornerstone of the Mavs’ campaign for Barnes is a burger they are selling at home games. I’m pretty sure Barnes doesn’t receive any votes for the number of burgers sold. Dallas could argue this is some kind of way to raise awareness, but let’s call this what it is, a shameless attempt to wring more money out of fans. The burger does sound kind of tasty—it’s got a pepper jack, pickled-jalapeno cheese spread, cajun spice aioli, lettuce and tomatoes on a 1/3-pound patty, all resting on a corn-dusted brioche bun. Served with fries for only $12, that’s really not an awful deal. Ultimately, this is really only a half-hearted measure to actually get Barnes voted in as an All-Star. But as someone with an entrepreneurial spirit who loves watching Shark Tank marathons on CNBC, I’m ranking Dallas over Milwaukee. 

3. Charlotte Hornets: “Walker, Charlotte Ranger”

The Hornets really kicked off campaign season with their spoof of the Chuck Norris show Walker, Texas Ranger. Subbing in Kemba Walker for Chuck and Charlotte for Texas, we ended up with “Walker, Charlotte Ranger,” which features Kemba wearing a cowboy hat as the sheriff of the department of getting buckets. This is a solid campaign, and one that really channels the absurdity we’ve come to expect in these situations. Charlotte also gets bonus points for letting Spencer Hawes write the theme song for the campaign. The only issue I have here is that we’re reaching a oversaturation point on goofy, nostalgic videos as All-Star campaigns. Next season, I want Charlotte to mix it up and go Real World style. It’s all fun and games when Hawes is writing a theme song for Kemba, but I’d rather see what happens when Walker, Hawes and Frank Kaminsky are forced to live in a house together for two months and things stop getting polite. 

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2. Sacramento Kings: Mikuni Sushi

I don’t know if this is even affiliated with the Kings, but Mikuni Sushi in California is offering 50% off their DMC roll if you show them proof you voted for DeMarcus Cousins. Mikuni has been doing this for years, but what this campaign lacks in originality or newness, it makes up for in discounted sushi. And the DMC Roll isn’t your run-of-the-mill, one-fish wonder. The contents of the DMC—lobster tempura, white tuna, avocado, crab—sound like a year-round treat to me. I would vote for practically anyone to make the All-Star game if it meant I could get cheaper sushi on Seamless. This is the kind of campaign that could really swing some of you who are undecided (and live in the midtown Sacramento area).

1. Joel Embiid, Grand Romantic Gesture

Joel Embiid is running his own campaign to get selected to the All-Star game, and his story begins two years ago, when a celebrity crush rebuffed his advances and told him to get back to her when he became an All-Star. Well after two seasons of inactivity, Embiid has been a revelation for the 76ers this year, and could very well earn a spot for the East squad in New Orleans. Embiid’s blatant thirst—as well as our curiosity about this allegedly famous mystery woman—makes this easily the best All-Star campaign of 2017. TMZ reports Embiid’s crush is none other than Rihanna, who has been a frequent subject of the big man’s social media posts. But the only way we’ll find out for sure is if Embiid makes the team. 

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