LeBron James will participate in his 17th straight NBA All-Star Game next month, while his Lakers co-star, Anthony Davis, still has his candidacy in limbo. But it wasn’t the voting totals of those two, or Alex Caruso finishing eighth among Western Conference guards in the fan vote that was the most surprising development of Thursday’s reveal. It was two-way player Kostas Antetokounmpo receiving the third-most votes from NBA players of any Laker.
Yes, you read that right. Kostas Antetokounmpo received more votes from his fellow players (10) than he has minutes (8) and points (0) combined this season. Only Anthony Davis (120) and LeBron James (214) got more votes from NBA players, who count for 25% of the vote to determine the starters in the All-Star Game. The fans (50%) and the media (25%) make up the rest of voting body. NBA coaches then vote on the reserves.
10 votes may not sound like that much, but to put into context how strange Kostas tally is, here are the full voting totals of everyone on the Lakers from their fellow players:
- LeBron James (214)
- Anthony Davis (120)
- Kostas Antetokounmpo (10)
- Marc Gasol (4)
- Montrezl Harrell (3)
- Dennis Schröder (1)
- Kyle Kuzma (1)
- Jared Dudley (1)
- Markieff Morris (1)
- Talen Horton-Tucker (1)
- Quinn Cook (1)
- Wesley Matthews (1)
- Alex Caruso (0)
- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (0)
- Devontae Cacok (0)
- Alfonzo McKinnie (0)
So... How did this happen? The most likely theory is that at least a few players clicked on the wrong Antetokounmpo sibling in the drop-down menu, likely intending to vote for Kostas’ brother and two-time reigning MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
But maybe it wasn’t an accident! If that’s the case, I have a few conspiracy theories:
- Kostas is the most well-liked Antetokounmpo brother and one of the most beloved players in the league.
- Kostas told a bunch of his teammates he’d vote for them if they voted for him and then voted for himself. Solid prank, Kostas!
- Giannis told his Bucks teammates that he would only re-sign on the supermax if they voted for his little brother in the All-Star Game.
- Frank Vogel should be fired, because NBA players clearly know a star in waiting when they see one.
Whatever the case, this is the continuation of the trend of players not taking All-Star voting very seriously.
AP analysis: 310 players got at least one All-Star starter vote from themselves or an NBA player peer this season, a new record for ridiculousness, topping the mark of 292 last season.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 19, 2021
For context on how many players that is:
The media voted for a total of 25 players. You're quite wrong.— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) February 19, 2021
Now look, I can’t bring myself to care too much about this, especially when Klay Thompson got the ninth-most votes of any guard from the fans and has not played a single minute this season. If players want to try and meme their friend into All-Star game, far be it from me to tell them not to have fun. It’s not like Kostas was ever actually going to make the game.
But whatever happened here, it’s just hilarious, and obviously just the latest evidence that Giannis should demand a trade to the Lakers. Because hey: If Kostas can get 10 votes in eight minutes of playing time, imagine what Giannis could do. Time to fire up the jersey swaps.