LOS ANGELES (AFP) — LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline a star-studded group of starters for the 2020 NBA All-Star game that also includes second year European sensation Luka Doncic.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar James will captain the Western Conference team for the second consecutive season and Milwaukee Bucks reigning league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Antetokounmpo will once again take charge of the Eastern Conference side.
James and Antetokounmpo have the honor of choosing the sides for their respective conferences because they are the top two vote getters.
The two captains select the rosters for their own teams on 6 February from the pool of available players — regardless of conference — for the 16 February showcase in Chicago.
The polls closed with fan ballots counting for 50 percent, current NBA players having 25 percent say and 25 percent from the media panel in selecting the 10 starters — two guards and three forwards from each conference.
Doncic is the fresh face in the starters list this season as the Slovenian standout joins Houston Rockets star James Harden in the West backcourt. Los Angeles Clippers forward and 2019 finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Lakers forward Anthony Davis fill out the frontcourt.
“I remember all the years I would wake up in Europe at 3 a.m. to watch the game and now I can be in it,” Doncic said. “I just have to keep working and getting better.”
Like Doncic, Atlanta Hawks Trae Young is a rising second-year star, who secured his first all-star selection.
East backcourt by Boston Celtics Kemba Walker will join Young while Antetokounmpo will be flanked by Philadelphia 76ers Joel Embiid and Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam, another first time all-star and starter, in the East frontcourt.
James, who has helped the Lakers to an NBA best record of 35-9 this season, held off a charge from Doncic as the top vote-getter in the West.
James, with 6.27 million fan votes, and Greek superstar Antetokounmpo, with 5.90 million fan votes, led their respective conferences. Doncic had 6.11 million fan votes.
It marks the third straight year that James, averaging 25.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game this season, has led all players in All-Star votes.
The only players who have received more all-star selections than James are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18).
With his 16th start, James will top the mark he currently shares with Bryant.