KG, Rondo Voted in as NBA All-Star Starters
BOSTON – The world proved over the past two months that it adores the Boston Celtics. It made sure that Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo will make up 40 percent of the Eastern Conference’s All-Star starters on February 17 in Houston.
Fans were provided the opportunity to vote their favorite players into the All-Star game from Nov. 13, 2012, until Jan. 4, 2013. TNT announced Thursday night that Garnett and Rondo will represent the Eastern Conference at the tip-off of the All-Star game alongside Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony.
This is old hat for Garnett, who has now been chosen as an All-Star 15 times. This will be the 12th time he has started in the All-Star game and he is appreciative of the fact that fans continue to support him in his 18th NBA season.
“You don’t put yourself there,” Garnett said Monday night. “Everything is voted on and any time you can say that you’ve been playing for countless years and the fans still appreciate you for what you do, that says a lot.”
Fans have been showing love to Garnett for the better part of two decades. Rondo, on the other hand, is just entering his most popular years as an NBA player.
Next month’s All-Star game will be the fourth of Rondo’s seven-year career. This, however, will be the first in which the fans have voted him in as his conference’s starting point guard.
Hours before he learned about being voted in as a starter for the first time, Rondo addressed the possibility of it happening. He said that he would be thankful if it happened and that it would confirm that fans enjoy watching his unique brand of basketball.
“Because that’s what I do. I’m an entertainer,” Rondo said. “I play for myself, my family and the fans. I try to put on a show and obviously they like what I’ve been doing the past couple of years.”
Becoming a starter in the All-Star game cannot be brushed aside as a minimal achievement. All 10 players who reach that feat each season possess a rare combination of skill, popularity and marketability. Rondo has rapidly ascended in the latter two categories over the past few seasons thanks to a dramatic increase in his fan interaction.
“Obviously you’ve got the social networks, you’ve got Twitter, you’ve got Facebook,” Rondo said. “A lot of fan interaction with those things. And I did to a lot of traveling, so I’m sure that probably helped as well.
“I like to do [interact] more in public. Like I said, when I travel in the summertime that’s when I try to interact with my fans the most, more on a personal level.”
Rondo’s recent growth in popularity and Garnett’s longstanding fame resulted in millions of fans rushing to their Web-enabled gadgets to vote them into the All-Star game. Votes were tallied through three different avenues: tweets on Twitter, a Facebook app, and an NBA.com submission app.
The social media plarforms certainly helped these two become All-Stars again. Garnett is approaching 2 million fans on Facebook and Rondo is heading toward 1 million followers on Twitter. Additionally, the Celtics, who have nearly 7.8 million combined followers on Facebook and Twitter, promoted the duo throughout the voting process.
Fans love the Celtics enough to vote two starters into the game and now it’s up to the league’s coaches to involve more of the team in All-Star weekend. The NBA’s 30 head coaches will submit votes for All-Star reserves and one would think that Paul Pierce, who is tied for 11th in the league in scoring, has a great shot at being invited. The league’s assistant coaches will decide whether Boston’s youngest player will participate in the weekend as well.
Jared Sullinger has been on the uptick in terms of NBA rookies over the course of the past month. NBA.com recently ranked him at No. 5 in their rookie rankings. Sullinger’s teammates and coaches have been lobbying for him to be invited to the Rising Stars game, which mixes the game’s top rookies and sophomores for their own All-Star game.
Boston hasn’t had a player involved in that game since Rondo appeared in it back in 2008. He played that game in front of some of his teammates, and he plans to have the same situation take place for Sullinger next month.
“KG came and supported me in my sophomore game, so I’m going to do the same for Sully hopefully if he makes it,” Rondo stated. “He should make it.”
The jury is still out as to if the league’s coaches will send Pierce and Sullinger to All-Star weekend, but the world has already decided that Garnett and Rondo will be there. Basketball fans across the globe spoke loud and clear over the past two months, and their message was that they love the Boston Celtics.