Stars will align in the Lone Star state on Sunday as the best basketball players in the world gather for the 62nd annual NBA All-Star Game at the Toyota Center in Houston.
It’s the third time Houston will host the biggest gathering of the NBA’s most talented players, the last time being 2006 when the East toppled the West, 122-120, earning LeBron James his first All-Star Game MVP.
The Celtics' Kevin Garnett and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant will each make their 15th appearance, and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan will come off the bench for the West for his 14th All-Star berth. Bryant has won four All-Star Game MVPs, and could break the record he shares with Hall of Famer Bob Petit.
That kind of legendary talent may take a backseat to the up-and-coming East, which sports six first time All-Stars. Centers Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah are having career years, and coaches in the East took notice. Fellow Chicago Bull Luol Deng joins Noah, while the Miami Heat send their Big Three: James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
The resurgent Knicks also send hot-shooting Carmelo Anthony, who many have dubbed the early favorite for league MVP. It is Anthony's fourth straight All-Star game, and sixth overall.
Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez Celtics will replace point guard Rajon Rondo, who will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament two weeks ago. Point guards Jrue Holiday and Kyrie Irving round out the East roster, each recognized as All-Stars for the first time.
Along with Bryant, four players from Los Angeles will start for the West. The Clippers' Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will team up with Lakers center Dwight Howard and Bryant.
Oklahoma City Thunder management may have broken up their young core, but last season's star trio have found themselves on the same team again. Houston guard James Harden is the fifth leading-scorer in the NBA since the Thunder traded him before the regular season, and reunites with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook for the West.
The game tips-off at 8.pm. eastern time and will be broadcast by TNT.
The full rosters for East and West, along with their coaches can be found below, with starters voted in by fans listed first.
G Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
G Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
F LeBron James, Miami Heat
F Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
C Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics
G Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers
G Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
F Chris Bosh, Miami Heat
F Paul George, Indiana Pacers
F Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls
C Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks
C Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls
C Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets (Injury Replacement)
Head Coach: Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat
G Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
G Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
F Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
F Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
C Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
G James Harden, Houston Rockets
G Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
G Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
F LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trailblazers
F Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
F David Lee, Golden State Warriors
F Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs
Currently covering NBA, NFL, MLB, along with Real Madrid and Barcelona, focusing on trades, controversy, and injury updates. Joined IB Times in August 2012.