The pre-game questioning was over, but Lionel Hollins had one more thing to say: Kevin Garnett should be an All-Star.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver had recently discussed potential expansions to the All-Star Game format, specifically expanding the rosters up from the NBA’s current model of 12.
Hollins is in favor of the current model, which includes both the fan vote and the coach’s vote, but said unprompted that he wants the league to expand even further, advocating for Silver to add three players for what appeared to be akin to a lifetime achievement award.
“I think that more than expanding the All-Star to a larger roster, is that you still have the fan vote, you still have the coach’s vote, and then the commissioner gets to add three guys,” Hollins said.
“I think a guy like Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, who helped build this league and sustain this league, when they get to the end, they should have the opportunity to be a part of the All-Star experience.”
Duncan is already on the Western Conference’s All-Star team, but the sentiment remained.
Hollins wasn’t suggesting that Garnett should be an All-Star on merit: after all, the 20-year veteran has only averaged 6.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this season. But with stars like Garnett, Duncan, and Kobe Bryant in the twilight of their career, Hollins wants to see the league reflect on their greatness. Garnett, the 2004 MVP and a key member of the Boston Celtics’ 2008 NBA Finals team, is one of just three players in NBA history in the 25,000 points-10,000 rebounds-5,000 assists club, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
Putting past greats in the game is a difficult proposition, particularly if you don’t know when a player’s going to retire. (Is every great player headed to the All-Star Game after he hits 36 until the day he retires?) But Hollins wants to see some form of recognition nonetheless. “I’m going to throw my two cents in,” Hollins said with a smile. “Since I’m in New York, I know it’ll go all over America.”