All-Star Game Preview

The NBA All-Star Game is this weekend, and the stage is set for a great game. Back in Cleveland for the first time since 1995, the game is set for 8:00 pm on Sunday, February 20.

The captains were selected first by fan vote, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant receiving the most votes in the western and eastern conferences respectively. 

As captains, James and Durant selected their teams in a schoolyard draft format that the league has used since 2018. With the first pick, James selected Giannis Antetokounmpo, star power forward for the 2021 championship-winning Milwaukee Bucks. Next, Durant selected 76ers star Joel Embiid, solidifying the center position.

James and Durant then alternated picks, choosing from a pool of 9 starters and 14 reserves. James rounded out his starting five with Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic. Durant finished out drafting his starters with Ja Morant, Trae Young, and Andrew Wiggins. Since Durant is injured, Jayson Tatum was selected as a replacement starter for Team Durant. 

In his return to Cleveland, LeBron will have his sights set on winning the newly renamed NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Given his close relationship with the late Kobe Bryant, and the importance of playing near his hometown, LeBron will have a good chance at winning the MVP award for the game.

With a star-studded lineup from top to bottom, Team LeBron looks to win its fifth All-Star Game in a row. From the impeccable shooting of Stephen Curry to the unrivaled athleticism of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Team LeBron looks to be unstoppable on both sides of the court.

LeBron (top) playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the late 2000s. LeBron makes his return to Cleveland for the All-Star Game this weekend. “Lebron James” by ben_lei is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The weekend is also highlighted with several competitions, ranging from the Celebrity All-Star Game to the Slam Dunk Contest. Starting on February 18, the Celebrity Game and the newly reformatted Rising Stars Challenge will kick off the weekend. On Saturday at 8 pm, the revamped Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest, and Slam Dunk Contest will excite crowds all weekend.

The Skills Challenge will have a new format of three teams of three, headlined by Team Antetokounmpos, an exciting team composed of three Antetokounmpo brothers. The Rising Stars Challenge will also have a new format, consisting of four teams of NBA rookies and sophomores. Another twist added to the Rising Stars game is the addition of four G League Ignite players, making this the first time non-NBA players have competed in the Rising Stars Game.

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