LaMarcus Aldridge became an all-star for the second time Thursday. Good for him. Happy for him.
But I couldn't help remembering what an NBA coach, a man who has retired from coaching, told me about his players and their participation in the All-Star Game. What originally got the coach fired up was a campaign his team's front office was waging to get a player in the game.
"I've got about five players in my locker room who think they should be all-stars," he said with a smile. "I'm not sure how they're taking it that we're pushing this one guy and not them. And I'm not sure how they're going to take it if he makes it and they don't. There's money involved, too. And the funny part about it is that the team has to pay a guy a bonus if he makes the team, too. So it's going to cost us money.
"For me, I'd just as soon none of them made it. I'd rather they all go someplace for three or four days and relax. The All-Star Game is one big hassle. And sometimes being an all-star enlarges a player's ego a little more than it should. I hope he comes back from the game with the same work ethic."
Believe me, playing in the game is a grind. LaMarcus will come out of that weekend worn out, I would guess. It's not the game, it's all the activities the players have on their schedule. The time off, given the load he's carrying for the Trail Blazers, would probably be better than having him be in that game -- as far as the team is concerned.
Of course there are franchise benefits to being in the game. You acquire a certain stature within the league. The franchise now has an all-star to build ticket sales and sponsorships around. I'm certain that neither LaMarcus nor the Trail Blazers are going to feel anything but positive about him being named to the team. So enjoy yourself, Mr. Aldridge. And take it as easy as you can.