The 72nd edition of the NBA All-Star Game will return to Salt Lake City, Utah for the first time since 1993, on the 30th anniversary of the 1993 edition of the contest. The game, alongside other All-Star events such as Three Point Contest, Slam Dunk Contest, Skills Challenges, etc. will be hosted by Utah Jazz and played at the Vivint Arena this weekend. The NBA had already announced teams captains for the highlight of the NBA All-Star Weekend, the NBA All-Star Game, with Team LeBron and Team Giannis facing each other for the hat-trick of times in the annual competition.
LeBron’s a Six-Time Captain
Just days after becoming the all-time leading scorer of the NBA, LeBron James created another impressive record of becoming the team captain in the latest format of the All-Star Game for the sixth time in a row. Since its inception back in the 2018 Season, LeBron’s team had been victorious in the previous five occasions and will look forward to a sixth straight win and remain undefeated during this span. Furthermore, LeBron’s selection to this year’s All-Star Game is his 19th time since coming into the league in 2003, tying him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the player whose all-time leading scoring record was broken by LeBron last week, for the most NBA All-Star selections.
Who Are the Starters and Reserves?
The remaining eight starters would be picked from the group of players that included Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks), Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets), Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans), Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks), Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers), Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics). Nonetheless, as Curry, Williamson and Durant are currently nursing their injury issues, their starting positions will be replaced by Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies), Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz) and Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers).
As for the reserves, Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento King) and Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors) are set to take the injured players’ place in the All-Star Game. The trio will also be joined by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers), Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies), Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls), Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers), Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks), Julius Randle (New York Knicks) and Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat) in their respective teams.
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All-Star Draft to Take Place Right Before Tip-Off
For the past five seasons, the draft for the new format of the NBA All-Star Game had all taken place days before the actual event, but things are taking a change this year as the selection process by team captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will happen on the game night itself, adding more excitements and surprises to fans and even players themselves. Being the leading vote-getter among all players, the 38-year-old Los Angeles Laker LeBron James would go first to pick his team, before going back-and-forth with the Greek Freak to complete the squad named after themselves.
Malone and Mazzulla the Coaches
Coaches for the NBA All-Star teams traditionally came from the current best teams in the Western and Eastern Conferences respectively, and Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets and Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics will assume the coaching role for Team LeBron and Team Giannis as things stand. The selection meant the 51-year-old Malone will be leading an All-Star team for the second time in his managerial career, while it would be the 34-year-old Mazzulla’s inaugural time doing so.
LeBron to Remain Undefeated?
Team LeBron and Team Giannis will be battling out in the first three quarters under the usual NBA scoring system and start the game with a 0-0 score line. At the start of the fourth quarter, a Final Target Score will be added and the shot clock will be turned off. This designated score is determined by using the leading team’s total collected score over the first three quarters and adding 24 points to honour the tragic passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who sadly died in a helicopter accident three years ago. The player of course wore the no. 24 jersey of the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of his playing career.
Which team do you think will win it all in this year’s NBA All-Star Game? Will Team LeBron finally be defeated in the new format? Tell us in the comment section.