For the last eight years, Rockets fans have gotten an inside look at certain biases in the sports media. Sportswriters across the country heralded Yao's NBA arrival in 2002 with ridiculous scorn (including the statement "There's no Chinese word for "slam dunk"), while Shaq greeted Yao with a racist caricature. And, as part of some sick annual tradition, every January since includes legions of sportswriters and fans bellyaching about the "Chinese vote" in the all star game.
Apparently, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is considering changing up their induction process:
Fan involvement may begin as soon as next season with the groundbreaking move to include public balloting. That may spark an emotional connection that didn't exist before, but it will come at the risk of turning off insiders worried that the Hall of Fame will turn into a popularity contest.
Colangelo's solution: The fan balloting (Colangelo hopes it will top a million votes the first year) will count, but with less value than the returns from past inductees, people within the game and media members that have traditionally made the decision. Colangelo has yet to determine the level of the fan voice in the compromise, and other details must still be worked out before the board of directors signs off. But the plan is expected to be approved and could become part of the process as soon as the 2011 vote.
"It still has to be weighted very, very heavily to people within the industry," Colangelo said. "But I'm trying to push more focus, more participation with fans. That's a very good thing."
Tom Weir has a problem with this. Of course, he also ignores the final two paragraphs of that quote and adds a healthy dose of racist scare-mongering and a historical comparison that is, frankly, disgusting.
I'm sorry -- Chairman MAO? The guy who murdered and starved millions of Chinese citizens? The dictator who engineered such murderous programs as the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution? Orchestrator of Tibet's continued occupation? That dude?
Basketball's Hall of Fame is about to make a move that Chairman Mao no doubt would have loved
Are you shitting me?
This is ridiculous. This is insensitive. It's insane! And it's goddamn STUPID, even beyond the callousness displayed towards Mao's millions (arguably 1+ billion) of victims
So Weir's argument is that adding a popular vote to the basketball hall of fame would have made Chairman Mao - dictator, Stalinist (Maoist, too; can't forget them), totalitarian - proud. Amazing. Fucking amazing.
Why add this into your article, Weir? Oh, right, because you wanted to tie this into the GREAT CHINESE HORDE that will soon be destroying American Basketball.
To understand why this is a bad move -- and to also understand why the Hall should reserve a spot for Yao Ming right now -- just look at the NBA All-Star voting.
Yao has been voted an All-Star starter in all seven of his seasons even though he has taken the Houston Rockets past the first round of the playoffs only once and has missed significant time to injuries for five straight seasons.
Why? Because a whole lot of Chinese people are on the Internet and enjoy clicking Yao's name in a show of national pride. China's love for Yao's team also led to huge numbers for an undeserving Tracy McGrady.
Okay, so the BBHOF is going to be adding a popular vote as a part of the induction process, so this means that Yao is a guarnfuckingteed lock for the Hall. Weir knows this, because he apparently failed to read the article on which he's ostensibly commenting. Anybody who read the article would understand that the hall members and sportswriters (presumably including guys just like Tom Weir) will still constitute the vast majority of the process.
Now, I'm not going to defend Yao's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. I think he's a great player, and I hope by the time he's done that he'll deserve a spot regardless of his contributions to the game off of the court. Personally, I think he'll be deserving, regardless of what happens between now and then. But that's not really an issue, because the end of his career is several years away (knock on wood) and voting for his candidacy wouldn't happen for many years after that.
To be fair, Weir throws in Allen Iverson as a case of American fans being stupid, but that is an afterthought. The clear thrust of his argument is CHINA BAD, a narrative employed every year when it comes to the ASG, and now employed by Weir in a heavy-handed attempt to make sure that his super special secret club of professional sportswriters continue to have a relative monopoly on the Hall's induction process.
Look, I'm tired of this narrative. It relies upon the idea that Chinese fans, because they are Chinese, aren't knowledgeable enough to vote for players. I've met a lot of Chinese basketball fans over the past few years. Granted, those are all college students studying in the USA, but they know their stuff. And they know it better than a lot of American fans. Why is that?
Because, ultimately, American fans aren't too bright, either. They'll vote for their favorites, regardless of whether or not they're particularly deserving. That's what fans do. (I'd also like to note that sportswriters are often pretty stupid, as well. See: Weir's article, and - as I'm sure some of you will remind me in the comments section - me ).
But that doesn't matter. American fans are apparently more deserving of participating in that behavior - the problem is ultimately that China and Chinese fans are unworthy because they're Chinese and therefore unknowledgeable.
In other news, I don't particularly care either way how the HOF inducts members. It usually gets it right, anyways. And if sportswriters can figure out who's deserving, so can fans.