10. Wally Szczerbiak, 2002
Largely a one-dimensional scorer with a shaky reputation on defense, Szczerbiak (or however it’s spelled) snuck into the ’02 game with his bloated role in Minnesota’s KG-strapped lineup.
Wally World’s “Flash in the Pan” impact on the NBA not only got him invited to the midseason classic by some of the dumber coaches, but garnered a ludicrous contract extension and gave Szczerbiak the gall to call out Garnett years later, after his own career had fizzled.
9. Tyrone Hill, 1995
A gritty defense-first role player for the Cavs – who weren’t exactly killing it back in ’95-’96 – Hill stumbled into Phoenix’s All-Star game by averaging a weak double-double on one of the most offensively-challenged rosters in recent memory.
Tyrone understandably spent most of the contest on the bench; his game was about as pretty as his face, and David Stern – ever the marketing and damage-control genius – managed to avoid having any viewers turn to stone.
8. AC Green, 1990
Good ‘ol AC Green is a legendary NBA Iron Man, not only having played in 1192 consecutive games, but having spent a good deal of that time abstaining from sex while Magic was playing Caligula in the next hotel room.
Much less known is that Green also carries the title of “All-Star” thanks to standard “fan” stupidity, as the NBA’s most popular team cruised to 63 wins in ’89-‘90 following Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s retirement. The next season, Magic’s tragic HIV announcement forced him to retire as well, the Lakers fell off, and Green thus abstained from further All-Star appearances.
7. Dale and Antonio Davis, 2000 & 2001
Back when at least two centers had to be selected for each All-Star team, and a lot of really bad centers played in the East, there was an awkward stretch where the Leastern Conference annually offered up laughable inclusions.
Hit hard by the demise of Patrick Ewing’s knees and Shaq’s escape to L.A., the East’s reserve center spot could be had by any competent starter on a decent team. This was first demonstrated by the Davis’ inclusions in back-to-back seasons, as solid-but-unspectacular bigs on the Pacers and Raptors, who owed their star-studded prefix to a procedural flaw.
6. Anthony Mason, 2001
The beneficiary of an injury-ravaged East frontcourt in 2001, Mason’s ugly mug somehow found itself on the squad that pulled off the greatest comeback in All-Star Game history. Down 20 in the fourth quarter, the team rallied – behind renowned charismatic leaders Allen Iverson and Stephon Marbury – to a one-point victory.
Mason logged a staggering 20 minutes on a roster that desperately lacked for size, truly making the most of what he must have known was an opportunity to seize. 2001 marked the last time Mason averaged double-digits in scoring, his career falling victim to Jerome James Syndrome.
5. Jamaal Magloire, 2004
Another Default East Center, Magloire’s brief prime coincided with an unfortunate era for All-Star voting; the only reason he received the honor, like so many East centers in the 2000s.
Magloire lumbered his way to 15/9 for the .500 New Orleans Hornets, who still hadn’t moved to the Western Conference, allowing him to duck the Yao Ming/Shaq tag-team that should have killed his chances as a center (more on that in a moment). The following season saw order restored: Charlotte got the Bobcats (ok, maybe order wasn’t restored for everyone), the Hornets moved West, and Magloire never came close to the All-Star game again.
4. BJ Armstrong, 1994
The result of many All-Star voters likely having unconsciously penned in a guard from the Chicago Bulls for the past decade, Armstrong crashed the All-Star party during Jordan’s sabbatical.
Armstrong fed off a combination of MJ’s absence, Scottie Pippen’s brilliance, and the stupidity of the general public, somehow riding his career-high 14.8 ppg to the most votes of any Eastern Conference guard.
The only consolation BJ can take from this empty declaration is that it was only the second-most mocked product of MJ’s baseball career.
3. James Donaldson, 1988
Who? Yeah, exactly.
Despite being an injury replacement, Donaldson’s paltry 7/9 averages in ’88 leave him as the most suspect single All-Star, and likely the most obscure name the Game has seen.
All you really need to do is look at the photo above; he’s the guy you can’t recognize who’s clearly happy just to be there.
2. Brad Miller, 2003 & 2004
Yet further evidence of why the NBA eventually scrapped the mandatory inclusion of centers, Brad Miller stood out as a weak spot on the 2003 East roster. While he was an effective pivot on a good Pacers team who excelled as a passer and stretch-big, the term “All-Star” seems hilariously hyperbolic.
Miller sits this high on the list as a repeat offender the following season, after being traded to the Kings and inexplicably squirming onto the 2004 team as a third center behind Yao and Shaq, in what may have been the most loaded conference of power forwards in NBA history.
1. Yao Ming, Lifetime Honoree
Yao stands alone, for better or worse (mostly worse) as the single most influential player in All-Star voting history. In his prime, he was unquestionably one of the NBA’s premier centers, but earned the West’s starting center spot every season he played, often erroneously.
Yao’s NBA arrival in 2002 coincided perfectly with the rapid proliferation of basketball and basic technology in his native country China. You know, the one with 1.4 billion people.
As a result, Yao’s ballot boxes were stuffed annually by Chinese faithful who were not only excited about a national hero, but the opportunity to vote. Regardless if he was deserving, or had even played that particular year, Yao was just automatic, making his place among the NBA’s Worst All-Star Selections unrivaled.