For the 17th time in his 18-year career, LeBron James has been named as an NBA All-Star, the league announced on TNT’s pregame show on Thursday. The Los Angeles Lakers forward may not have wanted the game to even happen, but he still received the most votes from fans of any player in the league (5,922,554 votes), and will thus be a team captain for the game for the fourth year in a row (all the years the NBA has used the captains format).
The 2021 Western Conference All-Star starters pic.twitter.com/e2ylJH8AKf— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 19, 2021
Per the NBA, here's the Eastern Conference All-Star starters: pic.twitter.com/AGTJMpXD1I— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 19, 2021
Full fan vote tally, with Alex Caruso finishing eight in guards, pulling ahead of Klay Thompson in the final week: pic.twitter.com/RdE8urGpUM— NBA Insider Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) February 19, 2021
Final Eastern Conference All-Star starter voting, between media fans and players. Sabonis finished 8th in the front court: pic.twitter.com/xpvblijf36— Tony East (@TEastNBA) February 19, 2021
Kevin Durant (5,567,106) received the most votes in the East and will pick the opposing team.
James is a more than deserving All-Star starter after averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists so far this season, and given his enduring popularity, this is hardly a surprising development. It remains to be seen if any of his teammates will join him at the pandemic exhibition game, however.
Alex Caruso — as expected — did not pick up enough overall support to be named an All-Star starter, despite solid totals from the fan vote. But more notably, Anthony Davis also did not get enough votes from the fans (50% of the vote), players (25%) and media (25%) to be named a starter, and it now remains to be seen if he gets named as a reserve by the coaches’ vote.
Davis is of course highly unlikely to play in the game either way, as the Lakers have said he’ll probably be out until at least the end of the All-Star break with his re-aggravated Achilles injury. But this stuff still matters for resume and legacy purposes, so it will be worth watching to see if Davis is named as a reserve. Even amidst a somewhat down year by his standards, he’s still a worth All-Star for his two-way impact. Whether or not he will be will be named as one will be revealed in the weeks to come.
The league announced other key details about the All-Star game in a press release earlier on Thursday:
The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced today that NBA All-Star 2021 will be held on Sunday, March 7 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta, home of the Atlanta Hawks, where the league’s annual global celebration of the game will take place on one night for the first time, with on-court action beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET on TNT. As part of this year’s events, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced that they will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines.
TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET. Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 8 p.m. ET, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime. The game will follow the same format as last year, with the teams competing to win each quarter and playing to a Final Target Score during the untimed fourth quarter.
The rosters for the NBA All-Star Game will be determined through the NBA All-Star Draft, where the two team captains will select from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference and make their picks without regard to conference affiliation. The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.
The NBA will again honor the late Kobe Bryant at March 7 All-Star Game with incorporating 24 points into the calculation of the final target score. The same format was used in 2020.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 18, 2021
Given how opposed players still seem to “the largely unpopular plans for an All-Star Game,” we’ll see if any of this actually ends up happening, but James will go down as a 2021 All-Star in the history books either way. Soon we’ll see if Davis will too.