Only 24 players get selected to the prestigious All-Star game every year, twelve from the East and twelve from the West. An All Star appearance is the equivalent of becoming a nominee for an Oscar in the world of the NBA. It is the highest stage in the NBA outside of the NBA Finals, as celebrities are present, the media quadruples, and the lights are turned on brightly. Some say that the All Star game is more of a popularity contest than a talent contest, and it is. For example, if the All Star voting was not opened up to the entire world and just limited to the United States, there is no way that Yao Ming would have started ahead of Shaquille O’Neal. So, there is certainly a sense in which the All Star game is about popularity. However, no scrubs are going to make the All Star team just because they are popular.
The only people that make the All Star team are the upper tier of the NBA. Of course, there are always talented players that get snubbed time after time, and some for their entire careers. Unfortunately, with the way that the All Star selection is set up, some players happen to play positions where there is an abundance of talent. For example, there are so many talented point guards in the NBA, it is nearly impossible to make the All Star team in the Western Conference unless your name is Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook.
A few years ago, the NBA did alter the position-by-position allocations by making the All Star game solely of guards and forwards. The center position, for example, is now entirely gone, and big men have to fight for a spot with small forwards and power forwards. This inevitably eliminates many centers that could have made the All Star team a few years ago, who weren't talented enough.
Whether the All Star voting system changes or not is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure, there will always be players that are snubbed year after year. This is a list of the top players that were never able to make it and some might shock you.
10 Toni Kukoc (1993-2006)
Toni Kukoc was the best player in Europe prior to coming to the NBA, but at the age of 25, Toni made the jump to the best team in the NBA – the Chicago Bulls. Kukoc only averaged 11.6 points per game, but during the best season of his career, he averaged 18.0 points per game in the 1998-1999 season. Not to mention the fact that he won 3 NBA Championships, which is really the reason why Kukoc was never able to make the All Star Game. Toni played with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, so there was never enough room for a fourth player on the team to make the All Star Team.
9 Isaiah Rider (1993-2002)
With a career average of 16.7 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game, Isaiah Rider made his presence felt during All Star weekend when he won the dunk contest by putting the ball through his legs. This through the leg dunk might cause yawns today, but it was very original for its time and Rider put it on the map in the NBA. Rider’s best season came early on in his career during his second season when he averaged 20.4 points per game, 3.3 rebounds per game, and 3.3 assists per game. Rider possessed a great amount of strength at the shooting guard position and he was also very explosive when he got to the rack. Four out of his nine seasons, Rider almost averaged 20 points per game, yet he was overlooked every season of his entire NBA career.
8 Byron Scott (1983-1997)
Byron Scott’s career was helped and hurt by playing for one of the best teams in NBA history. In almost every season of Scott’s career in Los Angeles, there were at least two All-Stars and sometimes even three. Of course, that made it difficult for a fourth member on the same team to also make the All Star Team. Scott averaged 14.1 points per game, 2.8 rebounds per game, and 1.1 steals per game during his 14-year career. His best season was in 1987-1988 where he averaged 21.7 points per game, 4.1 rebounds per game, and 1.9 steals per game. However, those impressive numbers were not enough to get yet another Laker into the All Star game, but he probably could have made it if he had played for another team.
7 Orlando Woolridge (1981-1994)
Orlando Woolridge had a fantastic 13-year NBA career. He did bounce a round the league quite a bit, but he was always effective wherever he played. During his career he averaged 16.0 points per game and 4.3 rebounds per game, however, during his best season he averaged 25.1 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per game. It is hard to believe a player that averaged 25 points per game could be omitted from the All-Star game, but Woolridge was never a fan favorite due to bouncing around the league so much. At 6’9”, Woolridge possessed great size and athleticism, but despite his high-flying dunks, he was never able to win the hearts of fans across the nation. Maybe if NBA League Pass was around in the ‘80’s fans would have had a greater appreciation for how good he really was.
6 Derek Harper (1983-1999)
Derek Harper had an excellent 16-year career and was a veteran presence for the teams that he played for towards the end of his career. Harper had a career average of 13.3 points per game and 5.5 assists per game. However, his best season was in 1990-1991 where he averaged 19.7 points per game and 7.1 assists per game. Seven of the sixteen seasons that Harper played in the NBA, he averaged over 16 points per game and in five of those seasons he averaged over 7 assists per game. But Harper’s greatest skillset was as a leader. Harper was a great floor general on the offensive end and he was also very tenacious defender on the defensive end.
5 Rod Strickland (1988-2005)
Rod Strickland had a very long 17-year NBA career. Strickland’s career average was 13.2 points per game, 7.3 assists per game, and he shot a respectable 45% from the field. During the 1994-1995 season, which was Strickland’s best season, he averaged 18.9 points per game, 8.8 assists per game, and 5.0 rebounds per game. Strickland also led the league in assists in 1997-1998 where he averaged 10.5 assists per game, yet he was still left the All-Star team for some reason. Strickland has never been popular with NBA fans, but amongst NBA players, everyone knew what kind of player Strickland was.
4 Mike Bibby (1998-2012)
Mike Bibby had a career average of 14.7 points per game and 5.5 assists per game. Bibby’s best season in the NBA was during the 2005-2006 season, where he averaged 21.1 points per game, 5.4 assists per game, and 2.9 rebounds per game. Bibby was a deadly shooter from the outside and always ranked in the top ten in 3-point attempts during the regular season. During the 2010-2011 season, he averaged 44% from downtown. Additionally, Bibby was frequently a contributer for many of the playoff teams that he played for, even though he never won a ring. Therefore, he was always undervalued as a player, which was great for general managers who wanted to sign a solid point guard for real cheap.
3 Lamar Odom (1999-2013)
Lamar Odom had a career average of 13.3 points per game, 8.4 rebounds per game, and 3.7 assists per game. However, during the 2003-2004 NBA season, he averaged 17.1 points per game, 9.7 rebounds per game, and 4.1 assists per game. Odom did win 6th Man of the Year, but he was never recognized as being anything more than a glorified bench player. But anyone that knows the game of basketball is quite aware that Odom was capable of playing up to 5 positions. He had the handles that enable him to put the ball on the floor, and he had the size to even play center. He was truly one of the most versatile players in the NBA.
2 Jalen Rose (1994-2007)
One of the original members of the Fab Five and current ESPN broadcaster, Jalen Rose has had success on every level since high school. However, the one of the things that he was never able to achieve was an All Star appearance. Rose had a career average of 14.3 points per game, 3.8 assists per game, and 3.5 rebounds per game. But during his best season in 2002-2003, he averaged 22.1 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, and 4.3 rebounds game. The only people that ever held Rose back were his coaches that refused to play him or his coaches that failed to utilize his talents in the appropriate ways.
1 Marcus Camby (1996-2013)
Camby had a career average of 9.5 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game, and 2.4 blocks per game. His best year was in 2007-2008 when he averaged 9.1 points per game, 13.1 rebounds per game, and 3.6 blocks per game. Camby led the league in blocks four different times and is ranked 13th all time in NBA history. He was always one of the best weakside shot blockers in the NBA and even won Defensive Player of the Year in the 2006-2007 season. Yet, for whatever reason, Camby played 17 seasons in the NBA without making an All-Star team even once.