clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

LeBron James continues his masterful tampering during the 2023 NBA All-Star draft

There is truly no one like LeBron James when it comes to tampering during the NBA All-Star game and the GOAT pulled it off again on Sunday.

2023 NBA All Star Game Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

There are few traditions better than LeBron James spending the entire NBA All-Star draft tampering. While Sunday wasn’t his greatest performance, it was still a prime LeBron display.

For the first time ever, the draft was held live, in-person just ahead of the game itself. Because the NBA thinks players' feelings would be hurt by being picked last WHEN THEY’RE ALREADY AN ALL-STAR, the reserves were selected first.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had the first pick, but surprisingly did not pick his teammate Jrue Holiday, instead taking Damian Lillard. LeBron was ready to tamper from the onset and clearly thought Jrue would be the first pick, admitted he had to adjust on the fly and did so expertly as he spent the rest of the reserves draft laying the tampering roots by taking Anthony Edwards, Jaylen Brown, Tyrese Haliburton, and Jaren Jackson Jr.

He also mixed in some familiar names, including Paul George — who promptly told reporters winning a title with Team LeBron would mean more than winning with Team Giannis (obviously I’m joking) — and former Laker Julius Randle.

The upset of the draft, though, came in the opening pick of the starters as LeBron did not take Kyrie Irving, opting for Joel Embiid. Instead, he saved that for the second pick and was far from disappointed about it.

After trying to draft him in the reserve draft and being denied, Giannis selected Ja Morant before LeBron, who was clearly writing his own jokes on the night, made a not so sly hookah reference when selecting Luka Doncic.

The highlight of the draft came in the final selection of the starters. With just Nikola Jokic and Lauri Markkanen left and LeBron ready for his last pick, the Joker made it easy for him by standing up, walking to LeBron and selecting himself.

The NBA’s solution to not having players' feelings get hurt by being the last pick resulted in the lone hometown All-Star, Markkanen, being the last person selected which feels like a really silly and preventable outcome.

LeBron, though, mixed in a masterful tampering performance with a terrific draft itself with starting lineup of himself, Luka, Kyrie, Embiid and Jokic. Now, if only regular season GM LeBron for the Lakers was as talented as All-Star GM LeBron.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Silver Screen & Roll Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Los Angeles Lakers news from Silver Screen & Roll