Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) and LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) received the most public votes in the 2021 NBA All-Star Game. LeBron and Durant are the captains of the NBA All-Star Game, and responsible for selecting sides for Team LeBron and Team Durant, with 12 players on each roster.
LeBron had the most votes, so he got the first pick from the pool of starters, while Durant got the first pick for the pool of reserves. Jayson Tatum replaced an injured Durant as a starter in the Eastern Conference.
Atlanta is the host city for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which will be broadcast on TNT starting at 8 pm ET on Saturday, March 8. The game will tip-off at State Farm Arena, which is the home of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge and Mountain Dew 3-Point Contest will also occur on Saturday to complete the All-Star Weekend extravaganza.
|NBA All-Star Starters
- EAST: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum
- WEST: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Jokic
Gladys Knight will perform the National Anthem, while Alessia Cara will sing the Canadian anthem.
Both Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) and Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers) were originally snubbed from the All-Star Game. However, they were the first players selected as injury replacements. Booker will replace Anthony Davis from the LA Lakers, who’s still nursing a calf injury. Sabonis replaces Durant on the team, while Jayson Tatum replaces Durant as a starter.
The first look at the NBA All-Star 2021 game court in Atlanta!
All of All-Star in One Night, Sunday, TNT:
🌟 5:00pm/et: TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax
🌟 6:30pm/et: #TacoBellSkills & #MtnDew3PT
🌟 8:00pm/et: 70th #NBAAllStar Game
🌟 Halftime: #ATTSlamDunk pic.twitter.com/7au6r1xbnQ
— NBA (@NBA) March 5, 2021
The cool thing about the current format of the All-Star Game is that teams will include a mix of players from the East and the West.
With the first pick in the All-Star Game draft, LeBron selected the Greek Freak (Milwaukee Bucks). The Freak was a captain in the last two All-Star Games, but was edged out by Durant in the voting process this season.
With the second pick, LeBron selected Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors). LeBron also added Luka Doncic (Dallas Mavs) and Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets) to Team LeBron from the starters pool. On paper, Team LeBron has the best roster and a stacked starting five, including himself.
|Team LeBron Roster
- LeBron James (Captain)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Starter)
- Steph Curry (Starter)
- Luka Doncic (Starter)
- Nikola Jokic (starter)
- Damian Lillard
- Ben Simmons
- Chris Paul
- Jaylen Brown
- Paul George
- Domantas Sabonis
- Rudy Gobert
“It’s over guys,” joked Antetokounmpo. “Me, LeBron, Luka, Jokic, and Steph? Man, that’s a good starting five.”
LeBron had the second pick from the reserves pool. He filled out the rest of Team LeBron with Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers), Chris Paul (Phoenix Suns), Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Paul George (LA Clippers), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers), and Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz).
“I just try to pick players that can complement one another,” said LeBron.
With the second-overall pick from the starters pool, Durant added his teammate Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn Nets) to Team Durant. Durant went big and selected Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers) with his second pick. Durant also added Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) as starters to fill out the roster for Team Durant. With Durant out with an injury, Tatum will be his replacement.
|Team Durant Roster
- Kevin Durant (Captain)
- Kyrie Irving (Starter)
- Joel Embiid (Starter)
- Kawhi Leonard (Starter)
- Bradley Beal (Starter)
- Jayson Tatum (Starter)
- James Harden
- Devin Booker
- Zion Williamson
- Zach LaVine
- Julius Randle
- Nikola Vucevic
- Donovan Mitchell
When it came time to select players from the reserve pool, Durant snatched his teammate James Harden (Brooklyn Nets) with his first bench selection. Durant also added Julius Randle (New York Knicks), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans), Zach LaVine (Chicago Bulls), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), and Donovan Mitchell.
Coaches: Doc Rivers and Quinn Snyder
Doc Rivers from the Philadelphia 76ers will coach Team Durant. The Sixers had the best record in the Eastern Conference when coaches were selected in late February. This marks the third All-Star Game for Rivers as a head coach. He coached the Eastern Conference All-Stars in 2008 and 2011 when he guided the Boston Celtics to the best record in the east those respective seasons.
Quin Snyder, the head coach of the Utah Jazz, will coach Team LeBron in the All-Star Game. Snyder led the Jazz, the top team in the Western Conference, to the best record in the NBA in the first half of the season at 27-9. This marks Snyder’s first coaching appearance in an All-Star Game.
The officials during the All-Star Game are current NBA officials who are also HBCU alumni. The group includes Tony Brown (Clark Atlanta), Tom Washington (Norfolk State), and Courtney Kirkland (Southern). All three officials have All-Star Game experience.
Jazz Slander Drama?
Members of the Utah Jazz were the last two players selected in the All-Star Game. Neither were voted in as starters, but were the last players picked out of the pool of reserves.
Durant selected Donovan Mitchell and LeBron had no choice but to add Rudy Gobert with the final pick. Both captains were very clear to let everyone know that there was not any sort of collusion or bias against the Jazz.
“There’s no slander to the Utah Jazz,” said LeBron after the All-Star draft. “But you guys got to understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even as great as Karl Malone and John Stockton were, we never would have picked those guys. Never.”
It’s not like this is the playground when the weakest players are subject to ridicule as the last players standing on the sideline waiting to get added to a team. Then again, when Spida Mitchell gets picked last, you know it’s a super deep pool of NBA All-Stars.