As LeBron James nears Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time NBA scoring record, he made the All-Star team for the 19th time on Thursday, tying Abdul-Jabbar for most in league history, was named a starter for a record 18th time and set a league record with his 19th consecutive All-Star selection.
And if healthy and plays, James will pass Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star games played at 19.
James, who is averaging 29.9 points this season, is 157 points from tying Abdul-Jabbar’s record, and if his scoring pace continues, he should set the record in the first week of February.
Let’s take a look at who was named a starter, how the starters were named, when the reserves are picked and when the game will be played:
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Who are the East starters?
Backcourt: Kyrie Irving, Donovan Mitchell
Frontcourt: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant
Who are the West starters?
Backcourt: Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic
Frontcourt: LeBron James, Zion Williamson, Nikola Jokic
How are starters selected?
Fans, players and selected media vote for All-Star starters with the fan vote counting 50% and the player vote and media vote each accounting for 25% of the vote. Players and media joined the process in 2017. Per the NBA: “Once votes are tallied, players are ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups. Each player’s score is calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fans, players and media. The two guards and three frontcourt players with the best score in each conference are named starters. Fan votes serve as the tiebreaker for players in a position group with the same score.”
When and where is the All-Star Game?
This year’s game is Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah at Vivint Arena (8 p.m. ET, TNT). The Rising Stars game is Feb. 17 (9 p.m. ET, TNT), and the Skill Challenge, 3-point Contest and Slam Dunk event are Feb. 18 (8 p.m. ET, TNT).
Who are the captains? Who had the most votes?
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is one captain, and Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo is the other captain.
How are the teams chosen?
For the first time, the All-Star teams will be selected by the two team captains just before the game as part of TNT’s pregame segment. The NBA has used this manner of picking teams starting in 2018, but it was usually done days in advance. The players voted in as starters are selected first, then the reserves are selected. James’ teams are 5-0 with him selecting a squad.
Were there any snubs?
In the East, Durant, Tatum, Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid are all worthy starters. But it was a numbers game. Just three could be voted in as frontcourt starters. It’s not like someone undeserving made it from that group. Embiid just happened to be the one left out.
At the guard spot, Irving is a fan favorite, but Boston’s Jaylen Brown is having the better season. That would’ve been a better choice.
In the West, Memphis’ Ja Morant could’ve easily been a starter in the backcourt alongside Doncic, but there’s no problem with Curry. Morant will make the team as a reserve.
In the frontcourt, you can argue Williamson has not played enough games (just 29) and that either Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis or Utah’s Lauri Markkanen should’ve been named as one of the starters.
But as long as they make it as reserves … no harm, no foul.
When will the reserves be announced?
The reserves will be revealed Feb. 2 (7 p.m. ET, TNT)
Who picks the reserves?
Coaches select the reserves from their own conference but cannot select a player from their team. Each coach selects seven players – two guards, three frontcourt players and two players at any position.