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First and Last: How Big of a Deal is Marc Gasol's Selection as an All Star Starter?

It's a big freaking deal. Here's why.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA All-Star Game was first held in 1951. Being the brainchild of then-NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA Publicity Director Haskell Cohen, and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown, the All-Star Game was patterned after the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and designed to spotlight the most talented players in a fledgling league of a sport in the fog of controversy due to the recent college basketball point shaving scandal that centered at City College of New York. Brown was so enthusiastic about the idea of a players' spotlight that he offered to host the game at The Boston Garden and cover all expenses and losses. Players were chosen by sports writers from the various NBA cities, and players were not selected based on position. Each team also had to be recognized with a representative (this continued until 1973). Played on March 2nd, 1951, the first ASG showcased such future Hall of Famers as Bob Cousey, Dolph Shayes, and George Mikan in front of almost 11,000 people, which doubled the average attendance of NBA games at the time. The East would defeat the West 111-94 with Ed Macauley being named the All-Star MVP.

The selection process stayed the same until 1975, when fans in arenas were allowed to vote for the starters of the ASG, while the coaches voted on the reserves. Players were also selected for the starting lineup in each position (2 guards, 2 forwards, and 1 center). Now, the ballots have 2 guards and 3 forwards, leaving off the designation of a center. Fans now can vote via text message, Twitter, and Facebook.

Here are the team by team results of All Star Starters since 1975:


-The 1999 All-Star Game was cancelled due to the strike during that season

-Kobe Bryant has been elected the most times as a starter (14)

-The Lakers have had an All-Star Starter for 33 of the 40 All-Star Games, with the only exceptions being the years directly before Magic Johnson (1978-1979) and the years between Magic's retirement and the Kobe/Shaq era (1993-1997).

-Has any team done less with more talent than the Philadelphia 76ers? Dr J., Moses Malone, and Barkley followed by almost a decade of Allen Iverson…man…

-Speaking of Dr. J, it's been a rough go for the New Jersey Nets. When the ABA collapsed, four teams became expansion teams in the NBA: San Antonio, Denver, Indiana, and New Jersey. The expansion fees were steep for the time (3 million dollars), and in order to keep the franchise afloat, the Nets sold the rights to Erving to Philadelphia. Dr. J would start eleven NBA All-Star Games. The Nets have had three.

- Dallas has only had one All-Star starter (Jason Kidd in 1996). How has Dirk Nowitzki not been voted to start an All-Star game???

-Speaking of Dallas, the last time a team had zero All-Star starters and won the NBA Finals? The 2011 Dallas Mavericks. Before that? The 1979 Seattle Supersonics.

-The Milwaukee Bucks have the longest running drought of not having a player start the All-Star game (31 years).

- Finally, of matters first and last and of local interest: Marc Gasol is the first All-Star starter in the All-Star Game in franchise history. The Grizzlies are also the last franchise in the NBA without an All-Star starter. At least until Seattle gets another team...or Vancouver...or London....Beijing....Jerusalem...Kabookastan....