Captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo selected their teams for the Feb. 16 NBA All-Star Game at Chicago, and one side will have a distinct Los Angeles flavor.
James not only selected Los Angeles Lakers teammate Anthony Davis No. 1 overall for his team, but he also picked the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard. Add in his selection of Los Angeles-area native James Harden of the Houston Rockets and it leaves only his remaining pick of Luka Doncic, from the Dallas Mavericks, as the only player without a tie to the L.A. area.
Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks superstar and reigning NBA MVP, went with more of an East Coast flavor, selecting the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid No. 2 overall, He also picked the Toronto Raptors’ Pascal Siakam, the Boston Celtics’ Kemba Walker and the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young.
That selection of players was made from the pool of players who were voted All-Star starters from each conference. James and Antetokounmpo also selected seven reserve players each.
The Team LeBron reserves: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers; Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers; Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets; Jayson Tatum, Celtics; Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder; Russell Westbrook, Houston Rockets; and Domantas Sabonis, Indiana Pacers.
Team Giannis reserves: Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks; Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, Miami Heat; Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz; Kyle Lowry, Raptors; and Brandon Ingram, New Orleans Pelicans.
There are a number of changes to this year’s All-Star Game format. Teams will compete to win each quarter for their designated charities. And when the third quarter ends, 24 will be added to the score of the team that is leading and the first team to reach that number in an untimed fourth quarter will be declared the winner.
The No. 24 represents one of the numbers worn by former Laker Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna, as well as seven others.
Team LeBron will wear No. 2 in honor of the number Gianna Bryant wore on her youth team, while Team Giannis will wear No. 24 in honor of Kobe Bryant. Both teams will also wear patches honoring the crash victims.
—Field Level Media