LeBron James is closing in on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA career scoring record. Now, he’s caught Abdul-Jabbar on another page of the All-Star record book.
James was named an NBA All-Star for the 19th time on Thursday, tying the Los Angeles Lakers star with Abdul-Jabbar in league history. James will captain one of the teams for the Feb. 19 All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, while Eastern Conference voting leader Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will captain the other.
Eastern Conference starters
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets)
- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
- Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets)
Western Conference starters
- LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)
- Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
- Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavericks)
This is the sixth year the NBA has used the captain design for the All-Star Game; James was captain each time, posting a 5-0 record on the year. Antetokounmpo is the captain for the third time, after holding that franchise in 2019 and 2020.
James and Antetokounmpo will eat Select their teams Just before the game in Salt Lake City, the newly announced turnaround and departure from past years, in which captains were chosen a week or two before All-Star weekend.
With no changes due to injury, the other eight starters they’ll select are: Denver’s two-time reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic, NBA scoring leader Luka Doncic of Dallas, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn teammates. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell and New Orleans’ Zion Williamson.
“I’m definitely blessed and humbled to be a part of this,” Mitchell said during the televised opening announcement on TNT. “To be a part of my fourth All-Star and now to be a starter, I couldn’t be happier.”
The big intrigue is the third East frontcourt spot, where Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid — No. 2 in the NBA’s scoring race Thursday with 33.4 points — is the odd man out after Antetokounmpo, Durant and Tatum take the top three spots in the voting.
The starters — three forwards and two guards from each conference — were chosen by a combination of three different votes: fan voting accounted for 50%, media voting for 25%, and the NBA’s player voting for the final 25%.
Reserves selected by a vote of the league’s coaches will be announced on February 2. Among the players who deserve strong consideration: Portland’s Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Miami’s Bam Adebayo.
James is 157 points away from Abdul-Jabbar’s career total of 38,387 points. At his current average of 29.9 points per game, James will need more than five games to break the record — and, if he doesn’t miss a game in the offseason, will be on pace to surpass Abdul-Jabbar on Feb. 7. Home game against Oklahoma City.
The #NBAAllStar Western Conference Starters:
⭐️ LeBron James
⭐️ Nikola Jokic
⭐️ Luka Doncic
⭐️ Zion Williamson
⭐️ Step Curry pic.twitter.com/3m6IER1Og1
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 27, 2023
The #NBAAllStar Eastern Conference Starters:
⭐️ Giannis Antetokounmpo
⭐️ Kevin Durant
⭐️ Donovan Mitchell
⭐️ Jayson Tatum
⭐️ Kyrie Irving pic.twitter.com/B2UDisxSv2
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 27, 2023
That means during All-Star weekend, if James had already passed the record, it could be a celebration of Abdul-Jabbar breaking the record held for nearly 40 years.
“Calculating when that might happen, it looks like it will happen before our All-Star break,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said last week in Paris. “If it happens before our All-Star break, this year’s All-Star Game in Salt Lake City seems like the perfect opportunity to honor him.”
James is now tied with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star selections, and if James plays in Salt Lake City, he will be the first player in NBA history to actually appear in 19 All-Star games. Abdul-Jabbar was selected for the 1973 game but did not play.
It would be another entry in a long list of All-Star records for James. The first player to be selected to 19 consecutive All-Star Games — until Thursday, he shared that record with 18-time Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who died on Jan. 26, 2020, exactly three years to the day. .
If he does indeed start, it would be James’ 19th, four more in league history; Bryant made 15 starts. 19 starts in a row marks another All-Star streak; Bob Cousy has the second longest streak with 13 straight starts.
James is also the All-Star leader in minutes, points, field goals made and field goals attempted.