The NBA’s elite will converge in New Orleans for the 63rd annual All-Star Game on Sunday night at New Orleans Arena.
There will be plenty of familiar faces, and several notable rising stars, as the East looks to snap a three-game losing streak to the West. While lax defense and highlight dunks have littered All-Star history, the games have been especially close the last few years with the West winning the last three by an average of just over four points.
Miami Heat megastar LeBron James was the leading vote getter with more than 1.4 million fans placing him in the East’s starting lineup, followed by Oklahoma City Thunder forward and the NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant with 1.39 million votes. James was named to the 10th All-Star game of his career, and Durant his fifth.
James narrowly beat out Durant by just over 20,000 votes, followed by Indiana Pacer forward Paul George and first-time All Star and starter in Golden State point guard Stephen Curry. The four All-Stars were the only players to garner more than a million votes apiece.
Joining James in the East starting lineup is Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving, and George.
Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant was named to his 16th career All-Star game, but due to a knee injury the four-time All-Star MVP will be forced to sit out. Bryant has now been selected to the second most All-Star games in history, three behind Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record 19.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis was named Bryant’s injury replacement by new league commissioner Adam Silver, but his selection wasn’t just a ploy to lure more local fans to the arena. Davis currently leads the NBA with more than three blocks per game, and his fifth in overall player efficiency.
The West’s starters will include Curry, Durant, Clippers dunk machine Blake Griffin, and the league’s second leading rebounder in Minnesota’s Kevin Love. Curry’s been the main reason Golden State has risen up the West standings the last two years, and this season he’s fifth in the league in scoring and second in assists.
Other first-time All-Stars include Washington point guard and former No.1 pick John Wall, Toronto swingman DeMar DeRozan, Atlanta bruising and versatile forward Paul Millsap, Portland point guard and reigning Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard, and Curry.
The full tally of votes can be found here.
Indiana head coach Frank Vogel will lead the East, and the Thunder’s Scott Brooks will main the bench for the West. Both teams had the best records in their respective conferences in games played through Feb. 2, giving Vogel and Brooks the nods.
G Kyrie Irving
G Dwyane Wade
F Paul George
F LeBron James
F Carmelo Anthony
G John Wall
G DeMar DeRozan
G Joe Johnson
F Paul Millsap
F Chris Bosh
C Joakhim Noah
C Roy Hibbert
G Stephen Curry
G Kobe Bryant*
F Kevin Durant
F Blake Griffin
F Kevin Love
G Chris Paul
G Tony Parker
G Damian Lillard
G James Harden
F Dirk Nowitzki
F LaMarcus Aldridge
C Dwight Howard
C Anthony Davis (Bryant injury replacement)*