The voters have spoken: They wished LeBron James of the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers to be an All-Star captain, once more.
So, he’s. And Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant will probably be his opposition.
James and Durant have been revealed Thursday because the main fan votegetters within the Western and Japanese Conferences for the All-Star Sport, that means they’ll be captains for the matchup in Atlanta on March 7. James will begin for the 17th time, extending his file, and Durant is an All-Star for the 11th time.
Solely Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18) have extra whole All-Star alternatives than James.
The opposite starters: Denver’s Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard be a part of James as West frontcourt picks, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Dallas’ Luka Doncic are the beginning guards from the West, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid are alongside Durant because the East frontcourt starters, whereas Washington’s Bradley Beal and Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving are the East beginning guards.
Doncic and Portland’s Damian Lillard have been tied within the NBA’s weighted system for the second West guard spot; Doncic bought the nod as a result of he bought extra fan votes. Fan votes counted for 50% of the starter choice course of; participant votes counted as 25% of the full, and votes from a media panel made up the opposite 25%.
Reserves will probably be introduced Tuesday, to be determined by voting by NBA head coaches. James _ the main total votegetter this 12 months, with greater than 5.9 million votes from followers _ and Durant will then choose their groups, with the rosters for Group LeBron and Group Durant to be revealed March 4.
James is 3-Zero because the NBA went to a player-captain format, defeating Curry’s workforce in 2018 and Antetokounmpo’s workforce in every of the previous two seasons. Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz will coach James’ workforce in Atlanta; Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers is presently the frontrunner to educate Durant’s workforce, with the standings after Sunday’s video games to resolve that spot.
The starters have been revealed on the identical day the NBA and the Nationwide Basketball Gamers Affiliation introduced particulars for the sport, saying it’ll generate greater than $2.5 million for traditionally Black schools and COVID-19 reduction efforts.
The sport has been criticized by a few of the league’s prime gamers, James included, who voiced considerations about having it throughout a pandemic. It additionally drew concern from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who made clear that followers shouldn’t come to the town for All-Star festivities since there received’t be public occasions surrounding the sport.
However the charitable parts have been a significant component within the league urgent on, and Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned the sport offers a platform to shine gentle on HBCUs and the continuing want for assets within the combat in opposition to COVID-19.
“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will proceed our annual custom of celebrating the sport and the best gamers on the planet earlier than a worldwide viewers,” Silver mentioned.
The sport is bringing again the format that was used final 12 months: a goal rating to finish the sport, one thing that may once more pay tribute to Bryant. Every of the primary three quarters will begin with a 0-Zero rating, then will probably be re-tallied for an untimed fourth quarter. The main whole rating by means of three quarters could have 24 factors _ a nod to Bryant’s jersey quantity _ added, and the primary workforce to hit that concentrate on wins the sport.
That last-shot-wins format debuted final season, when Anthony Davis made a game-ending free throw to cap Group LeBron’s 157-155 win.
The sport will companion with organizations such because the Thurgood Marshall Faculty Fund and United Negro Faculty Fund to “spotlight the significance of HBCUs and lift consciousness across the disparate affect of COVID-19 on communities of shade,” the league mentioned. HBCU musical teams are additionally being invited to carry out nearly.
“HBCUs supplied premium training to our communities at a time when entry to greater studying was denied to us,” NBPA govt director Michele Roberts mentioned. “They have been there _ and have remained there _ for us. We now stand with them.”
The league advised groups this week that it could prepare non-public journey to Atlanta for all individuals, who will proceed being examined for the coronavirus; gamers have been examined day by day all season. They are going to be unable to go away their lodges apart from All-Star occasions, a mini-bubble idea that the NBA and the NBPA agreed upon in latest days. And whereas a small variety of invited company will probably be within the stands, tickets is not going to be accessible.
James, Antetokounmpo and others have been lower than enthusiastic concerning the recreation being performed, noting each the considerations associated to the pandemic and the way it’s being squeezed into an already compressed season.
“We all know it’s occurring and we all know we’re required and anticipated to be there,” Curry mentioned. “It form of is what it’s.”
Gamers and their company must arrive in Atlanta by 7 p.m. on March 6 and can go away following the sport the subsequent evening. The three-point shootout, abilities competitors and dunk contest are additionally deliberate for March 7.