Originally, the 2021 NBA All-Star Game was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the league has reversed course and decided to hold a one-night event in Atlanta on March 7.
On Thursday, the two captains, as well as their fellow starters, were announced following a process that was determined by a combination of voting from fans (50 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent).
The All-Star captains, one from each conference, will select their teams from the remaining All-Star reserves, in the All-Star Draft on March 4th on TNT.
The Western Conference captain is LeBron James. He has 17 all-star appearances and is currently averaging 25.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 7.9 apg in the regular season. Other starters from the West include Nikola Jokic, Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry abs Luka Doncic.
The Eastern Conference captain is Kevin Durant. He has 11 All-Star appearances and is currently averaging 29.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 5.3 apg in the regular season. Other started from the East include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, Bradley Beal and Kyrie Irving.
There was a slight amount of drama this year in determining the Western Conference starters. When the votes from all the different groups are tallied, each player ends up with a weighted score. This year Luka Doncic and Damian Lillard ended in a tie. Doncic ended up getting the starting spot because he won the tiebreaker, which is based on fan voting.
The All-Star Game will again feature an Elam Ending. Both teams will play to a target score in an untimed fourth quarter, the leading team’s score after three quarters, plus 24. The league announced that they will honor Kobe Bryant during the All-Star Game by incorporating his jersey number 24 into the determination of the final target score.
The NBA also made official its plans to host a 3-point contest, skills competition and dunk contest as part of its one-night All-Star celebration. The 3-point contest and skills competition will be held before the game.
A number of All-Stars have voiced their opposition to this year’s All-Star Game, even as the NBPA approved the plan. James told reporters earlier this month that he has “zero energy and zero excitement” for an exhibition.
As a part of the health and safety precautions, players participating in the All-Star Game are only allowed to leave their host cities for out-of-market residences during the NBA’s break from March 5-10. The league will be providing private transportation for all participants going to Atlanta on March 6 and returning after the game.