This year’s NBA All-Star game has Joel Embiid as the biggest name missing out in the Eastern Conference team’s starting line-up due to an odd rule in the voting process, as the announcement was made on the third anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Embiid all knew well ahead of tonight’s revelations of both conferences’ starting line-ups that they were not going to feature on the court together in Salt Lake City, Utah, on February 9th due to the the league determining what position each player plays on the ballot.
The NBA gets to determine that the annual All-Star game needs to have two guards and three frontcourt players from each conference, meaning only one center, and two forwards can feature from tip off.
There was no room in this year’s Eastern Conference All-Star lineup for Philly’s Joel Embiid
Kevin Durant was not named as this year’s captain for the East, as many expected, but he starts
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the Eastern Conference All-Star game captain on February 19
Jayson Tatum will play in his fourth All-Star game after leading the Celtics to top of the East
Giannis, who received his seventh All-Star nomination and LeBron James, of the L.A. Lakers, were announced as the two captains for the game, respectively for the East and the West.
James is closing in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career scoring record. And now, he has caught Abdul-Jabbar on another page of the All-Star record book. ‘The King’ was announced as an NBA All-Star for the 19th time, the four-time NBA champion star tying Abdul-Jabbar for the most selections in league history.
This is the sixth year the NBA has used the captain format for the All-Star Game; James has been a captain every time and has never lost, taking a 5-0 record into this year. Antetokounmpo is a captain for the third time, after also earning that right in 2019 and 2020.
James and Antetokounmpo will pick their teams shortly before the game in Salt Lake City, a newly announced twist and a departure from past years in which the captains picked a week or two in advance of All-Star weekend. It’s highly unlikely that Embiid gets selected to start despite the small possbility that he could if an injury occurs to Durant and Tatum.
Lebron James, 38, tied Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s record number of All-Star Game appearances
Stephen Curry, ejected on Wednesday, will be the West’s starting PG in his ninth All-Star Game
Pelicans starting Center Zion Williamson will start at an All-Star Game for the first time ever
The other six starters that Giannis and James will be choosing from – other than Tatum and Durant – barring any changes because of injury beforehand, are: Denver’s two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, NBA scoring leader Luka Doncic of Dallas, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving, Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson.
Starters were selected by a combination of three different votes: fan balloting counted for 50 percent, media balloting was worth 25 percent and voting by the NBA’s players made up the final 25 percent.
The reserves, which are chosen by votes from the league’s coaches, will be announced February 2. Among the players certain to merit strong consideration: Portland’s Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Memphis’ Ja Morant and Miami’s Bam Adebayo.
James is 157 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s career scoring total of 38,387 points. At his current average of 29.9 points per game, James will need just over five games to break the record – and, if he doesn’t miss any games in the interim, would be on pace to pass Abdul-Jabbar in a February 7 home game against Oklahoma City.
And that means the All-Star weekend, if James passes the record beforehand, could be a celebration of his breaking a record that Abdul-Jabbar has held for nearly 40 years.
Portland’s starting PG Damian Lillard is likely to be chosen as a reserve player for the West
Bam Adebayo, of the Heat, is also within a shot of being chosen as a reserve player for the East
There was no room in the West for Memphis’ Ja Morant to start instead of Curry & Luka Doncic
‘Calculating out when it might happen, it seems at this point it’s likely to happen before our All-Star break,’ NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week in Paris. ‘If it were to happen before our All-Star break, it seems like the All-Star Game this year, which is in Salt Lake City, may be the perfect opportunity to honor him.’
James is now tied with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star selections, and if James plays in Salt Lake City he will become the first player in NBA history to actually appear in 19 All-Star games. Abdul-Jabbar was selected to the 1973 game but did not play.
That’ll be just another entry on a long list of All-Star records for James. He’s the first player to be selected to 19 consecutive All-Star games – until Thursday, he shared that record with 18-time-selection Kobe Bryant, the Lakers legend who died January 26, 2020, exactly three years to the date from Thursday.
If he starts, it’ll be James’ 19th time doing so, four more than Bryant. The 19 starts in a row extends another All-Star record; Bob Cousy has the second-longest such streak, having started 13 straight. James also is the career All-Star leader in minutes, points, field goals made and field goals attempted.