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Hassan Whiteside calls All-Star fan voting ‘more of a popularity thing’

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside was bumped out of the top-10 Eastern Conference frontcourt players in this week’s update of All-Star Game fan voting, with Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson taking his place. And Whiteside doesn’t seem too happy about it.

“I really don’t even want to talk about,” Whiteside told reporters after Heat practice, via the Sun-Sentinel.

Whiteside went on to bemoan how the fan voting process is “more of a popularity thing” instead of being merit-based.

While Whiteside didn’t single out Thompson, it’s interesting to note how this situation all played out. Let’s just say it might have something to do with who has been campaigning for Thompson:

Khloe Kardashian.

The reality star has been dating Thompson for a few months now — much to LeBron James’ purported chagrin — and she took to Twitter last week to promote his All-Star push.

Fans can cast an All-Star vote for their favorite NBA player by using the hashtag #NBAVOTE on social media. Kardashian, you see, has 22.9 million followers. The ability to promote Thompson’s All-Star bid to such a vast audience cannot be undervalued. Kardashian’s post has also been retweeted over 3,000 times with each one representing a vote for Thompson.

Kardashian’s tweet was then retweeted by mom Kris (8.1 million followers) and sister Kourtney (21.7 million followers). The social media blitz got Thompson up to 114,759 votes this week, good enough for 10th place while knocking out Whiteside.

“People are going to vote for who they like,” Whiteside said. “It’s more of a popularity thing. I mean, I can’t really focus on that. I’m going to focus on coming out here and doing what’s best for my team.”

Whiteside, who is averaging 17.5 points, a league-high 14.4 rebounds and 2.2 blocks, bemoaned how some players (perhaps Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid?) — not to mention NBA teams — go about campaigning for votes.

“It’s more so a gimmick,” he said. “I look at guys and they just do stuff to win the fans over, make jokes on Twitter to get people to vote for them. It ain’t got nothing to do really with talent.”

[Ball Don’t Lie]