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Eric Walden: Introducing the 'They Were All-Stars?!' All-Stars

Published February 15, 2014 7:09 pm

These guys were once considered among the best in the league. No, really.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Joe Johnson? Seriously? An NBA All-Star? In 2014? Are we sure this isn't a mistake? A typo? A clerical error? A practical joke? A segment on "Punk'd"?

Look, I know the Eastern Conference is bad, poor, awful, terrible, horrible, shoddy, deficient, loathsome, egregious, amateurish, quite possibly the worst thing to befall a set of human eyeballs since Joel Schumacher's "Batman & Robin" …

But surely there must have been a better option than Joe Freaking Johnson, who is averaging 15.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, shooting 43.8 percent for a team that is 24-27.

Perhaps the Eastern Conference coaches who selected him as a reserve for Sunday's All-Star Game all headed down to New Orleans a bit early and consumed a few too many hurricanes? I mean, we've all heard the stereotypical stories of bar-patron hookups taking place because people start appearing increasingly attractive with every drink. But really, how much alcohol is necessary to make Johnson's season look good?

OK, so we all agree that his inclusion among the Eastern Conference All-Stars is unquestionably indefensible. Now, let us agree with equal fervor that one team he IS eminently qualified for is the "They Were All-Stars?!" All-Stars.

It takes some serious talent to be the worst of the best, to ascend beyond mere one-year aberration and to inspire levels of stupefaction that no amount of introspection, retrospection or hindsight can resolve

So, without further ado, 10 of the best "They Were All-Stars?!" All-Stars …

B.J. Armstrong • A beneficiary of mid-'90s Bulls' popularity, he averaged an underwhelming 14.8 ppg and very underwhelming 3.9 apg in 1994. Thank you, Michael and Scottie.

Dana Barros • He averaged just 10.5 ppg and 3.3 apg for his career, but inexplicably exploded for 20.6 ppg and 7.5 apg in 1995, which would make perfect sense had he played baseball.

Dale Davis • So, in 2000, he blew the coaches away with his monstrous near-double-double of 10.0 ppg and 9.9 rpg — numbers that say to me "serviceable big man" rather than "All-Star." But what do I know?

James Donaldson • Perhaps the biggest head-scratcher of all time, he put up 7.0 ppg and 9.3 rpg in 1988. But I'm sure adding a slow, unathletic, ground-bound plodder to an All-Star Game seemed sensible at the time.

Chris Gatling • He put up 19.0 ppg and 7.9 rpg in 1997, but just 10.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg for his career. Perhaps he caught whatever Dana Barros had.

A.C. Green • Look, Jazz fans, just because he averaged 12.9 ppg and 8.7 rpg while Karl Malone put up 31.0 and 11.1 in 1990, it doesn't mean Green was an undeserving starter over The Mailman. OK, you're right, it does.

Tyrone Hill • Sure, he put up 13.8 ppg and 10.9 rpg in 1995, but it says something about a guy that he's best remembered for being punched in the face one night by Charles Oakley — before their game.

Chris Kaman • The 18.5 ppg and 9.3 rpg he averaged in 2010 not only far exceed his career numbers (11.7 ppg, 7.9 rpg), they seem all the more impressive given the sweet mullet he was rocking for a time.

Jamaal Magloire • Hard to see how a man with career averages of 7.2 ppg and 6.5 rpg was ever an All-Star, but apparently a double-double (13.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg) was pretty epic back in 2004.

Anthony Mason • Mase notched only 10.9 ppg and 8.3 rpg for his career, but boosted those numbers to 16.1 and 9.6 in 2001, presumably thanks to the accumulated beneficial effects of having his barber shave words into the side of his hair.

ewalden@sltrib.com

Twitter: @esotericwalden