A huge voting push from the K-pop star helped the Warriors’ Andrew Wiggins earn a spot as an NBA All-Star starter

After the first phase of his NBA career with the Minnesota Timberwolves was deemed disappointing, former No. 1 NBA draft pick Andrew Wiggins has blossomed as a member of the Golden State Warriors. His effectiveness exploded in a less bulky offensive role, as he became a vital member of the Warriors’ top-ranked defense as he rose to the challenge of guarding the opposition’s leading perimeter scorer every night.

All of Wiggins’ progress culminated Thursday with his selection as a Western Conference starter in next month’s NBA All-Star Game, the first All-Star selection of his eight-year career. The news turned heads – and perhaps rolled eyes – as there were several other worthy frontcourt players on the list, including Wiggins Warriors teammate Draymond Green, who is likely the leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

When the vote breakdown was released, it became clear that fan popularity was the determining factor in Wiggins being selected as a starter – the fan vote counts for 50%, and media and player choices are weighted at 25% each. . Wiggins’ fiercest competition for the starting spot came from Green, Clippers forward Paul George and jazz center Rudy Gobert. While Green and Gobert each received significantly higher player and media ratings than Wiggins, neither was able to come close to their fan vote totals.

Andre Wiggins

3,452,586

46

4

Paul George 2,805,203 36 3

Draymond Green

2,421,934

58

20

Rudy Gobert

767,505

52

65

So how did Wiggins dominate the fan vote so well, finishing third in the Western Conference frontcourt behind Lakers star LeBron James and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic?

Some research from Anthony Slater of The Athletic gives us a clue. According to Slater’s report, the Warriors’ social media team leveraged their partnership with Thai singer BamBam, a massive star in the K-pop world. The NBA allows fans to vote using hashtags on Twitter, so Golden State tapped BamBam to solicit votes for players like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green.

But regarding the tweet promoting Wiggins, the Warriors specifically asked BamBam to send it on Jan. 7, according to Slater, when the NBA held a “2-for-1” special in which all votes from that day counted double.

The tweet was sent to BamBam’s more than 9 million global followers, garnering nearly 37,000 retweets, 69,000 likes and 3,000 replies. That’s not even counting potential fans who saw BamBam’s post and tweeted #AndrewWiggins #NBAAllStar from their own accounts. According to Slater, the tweet became the No. 1 trending topic in Thailand, and given each vote counting as two, the strategic push could have earned Wiggins hundreds of thousands of votes, enough to eclipse George in the fan vote. and outrank Green overall.

Considering Green and George’s injuries, it’s certainly possible that Wiggins was selected as a Western Conference All-Star reserve given his impressive play and the Warriors’ success this season. As our Brad Botkin wrote, its merits were considerable. But he’ll start his first All-Star Game next month thanks in part to shrewd organizational strategy and the massive reach of a K-pop star.

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