NBA All-Star returns to East-West format in LeBron's 20th game

February 17, 2024 2:51 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James will face off as All-Star captains for the fourth time when the best players from the Eastern and Western conferences square off against each other at the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday evening in Indianapolis.

The game will mark another milestone in James’ storied career. The 39-year-old is celebrating his 20th All-Star selection, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most all-time.

James is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season. He earned 10 All-Star selections with the Cleveland Cavaliers, six with the Los Angeles Lakers and four with the Miami Heat.

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“I give credit and a lot of respect to my fans who have been along with me through this whole 21-year journey,” James said. “And voting me in as an All-Star starter for the 20th consecutive time, (I’m) just very humbled. Very blessed to be able to do what I love to do and just try to give back, give back to the game that’s given (to) me over two decades.

“So, to be able to know this is the first time ever in NBA history to have this many All-Star starts or whatever the case might be, it’s very cool.”
James will start for the Western Conference alongside Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant and Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

The Eastern Conference starting lineup features a pair of Milwaukee Bucks players with Antetokounmpo and guard Damian Lillard. Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum also are slated to start.

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid was voted in as an All-Star starter, but he will be sidelined by a knee injury. All-Star reserve Julius Randle of the New York Knicks also is out with injury.

The Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young and the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes were named as injury replacements for Embiid and Randle.

The Eastern Conference team’s head coach will be Bucks coach Doc Rivers, and he will decide who takes Embiid’s spot in the starting lineup. Some of the top frontcourt options include Paolo Banchero of the Orlando Magic and Bam Adebayo of the Miami Heat.