REGULAR National Basketball Association (NBA) season action takes a pause on Monday (Manila time) for the Midseason Classic All-Star festivities.
Happening at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, this year’s proceedings will be bannered by competing teams led by top fan vote-getters LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.
Starting with Mr. James in Team LeBron are Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Luka Doncic (Dallas), and Nikola Jokic (Denver).
Team Durant, for its part, has starters Bradley Beal (Washington), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), and Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers). Because of injury Mr. Durant will not be able to play and was replaced in the starting lineup by Jayson Tatum (Boston).
Last Friday, Messrs. James and Durant picked the reserves for their respective teams from the list of players who the league coaches voted in.
Playing with Mr. James are Jaylen Brown (Boston), Paul George (Clippers), Rudy Gobert (Utah), Damian Lillard (Portland), Chris Paul (Phoenix), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana) and Ben Simmons (Philadelphia).
With Mr. Durant are James Harden (Brooklyn), Zach Lavine (Chicago), Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley (Utah), Julius Randle (New York), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) and Zion Williamson (New Orleans).
Voted in and/or added but cannot play because of injury, like Mr. Durant, are Anthony Davis (Lakers) and Devin Booker (Phoenix).
To better appreciate NBA All-Star 2021, below is a by-the-numbers look to it.
3 – This is the third NBA All-Star in Atlanta, which previously hosted in 1978 and 2003.
4 – Phoenix’s Paul is the third player to be named an All-Star with four different franchises, joining Moses Malone and Shaquille O’Neal.
4 – Four first-time All-Star selections: Boston’s Brown, Chicago’s LaVine and New York’s Randle from the East and New Orleans’ Williamson from the West.
5 – Five players who have combined to win 10 of the last 12 regular-season MVP awards are All-Stars this season: James (4 MVPs), Curry (2), Antetokounmpo (2), Durant (1), and Harden (1).
6 – A record six European players were named All-Stars this season: Antetokounmpo (Greece), Doncic (Slovenia), Gobert (France), Jokic (Serbia), Sabonis (Lithuania), and Vucevic (Montenegro).
9/5 – There are a record nine international All-Stars, including a record five international players voted All-Star Game starters. The nine international All-Stars are Antetokounmpo, Doncic, Embiid, Gobert, Irving, Jokic, Sabonis, Simmons (Australia), and Vucevic.
17 – The Lakers’ James has been selected as an NBA All-Star 17 times, third most in league history behind Kareem Abdul Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18). James is also set to start the All-Star Game for the 17th consecutive year.
20 – At 20 years old, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson is set to become the fourth-youngest player to play in the NBA All-Star Game, behind Bryant, James and Magic Johnson.
27.3 – The Bucks’ Antetokounmpo has the highest scoring average in NBA All-Star Game history at 27.3 points per game.
70 – This is the 70th edition of the NBA All-Star Game, which was first played in 1951.
385 – Mr. James is the leading scorer in NBA All-Star Game history with 385 points.
7,424,951 – NBA All-Star Voting 2021 presented by AT&T set a single-day record with 7,424,951 fan votes cast on Jan. 28.
Apart from the main All-Star Game, also in the festivities are the three-point competition, skills challenge and slam dunk contest.
The NBA All-Star 2021 will be aired over NBA TV Philippines on Cignal TV and One Sports beginning at 7:30 a.m. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo