I know I said I didn't care whether Zach makes the All-Star game or not, or how many rookies go, or whatever. And I hold to that position. The only one we really, really want to send to the game is Nate. If we manage that the rest will follow.
However, even I am a little disturbed by the selection of Mehmet Okur over Zach. I know there was sentiment for a Jazz player but...
A. Had Zach originally been selected and not been able to go Brandon Roy would not have been chosen to take his place no matter what our record was.
B. I cover the Jazz as part of the weekly Northwest Division roundup for About.com's basketball section and even a cursory glance shows that Okur has been inconsistent this year and hardly All-Star material.
C. At LEAST Stern should have covered his bases by saying, "Since Nash and Iverson were guards and we need some guards on the squad I'm taking Ray Allen and Deron Williams." I'd understand that better.
I strongly suspect that part of the reasoning came from indiscretions...some by Zach this summer, some by the team in recent years. Like it or not the image thing stays with us even after the infractions have ceased. And I can understand that a little. For a couple years there we got credit for being a good/classy team when we really weren't, so the reverse is likely to be true. The news that this is a different era will be slower to get out than the salacious stories that heralded our fall from grace were. I can accept that, I guess. I can even look at Commissioner Stern and say, "OK". But even as I say that, I would ask this:
I know that part of this is us paying for past sins, and that's fine, but let this be the last of it. With this, let our account be full and let us begin with something new again. If Zach keeps his nose clean and his stats up, let him go next year. If our young guys keep playing well and have great character give them a chance to showcase that a little on the national stage. A little penance beyond the time of infraction can be a reminder of its seriousness, but overdoing it only leads to discouragement and defeatism. Here's our apology for any embarrassment caused, here's our good faith effort at being better. We've spent some time on the stool in the corner thinking about what we've done and we missed catching the ice cream truck when some of our friends got to. Can we go play now? Please?