The NBA All-Star starters were announced Thursday night, and once again, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James were named the captains of each team.
The All-Star Game will be held in Chicago on Feb. 16. Both James and Antetokounmpo led their conferences in voting. The next step will be for both players to draft their team from the pool of starters and reserves on Feb. 6. The reserves will be announced next Thursday.
The Eastern Conference starters are Antetokounmpo, Kemba Walker, Trae Young, Pascal Siakam and Joel Embiid. The Western Conference starters are James, James Harden, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis. For both second-year players Young and Doncic, this is their first appearance in the All-Star Game, while Siakam is also appearing in his first.
James is appearing in his 16th All-Star Game and trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18) for most selections all-time. James told TNT that being a part of All-Star weekend is always a blessing. Although Doncic received 6.1 million fan votes, James slightly edged him with 6.2 million votes to remain the king of the West.
Doncic is the sixth-youngest player to start in the All-Star Game.
The starting spots in the Western Conference were basically unanimous between the five. The Eastern Conference proved to be tricky. The final spot was a two-man race between Jimmy Butler and Siakam, as the guard spot occupied by Young was given to Bradley Beal by the players. Ultimately, Siakam and Young were named the starters. After it was announced, Young was overcome with emotions at his home.
The Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel will coach Team LeBron while the Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer will coach Team Giannis. Both the Lakers and Bucks have the best overall records in their conferences.