NBA All-Star captains: It’s LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant

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The voters have spoken: They needed LeBron James of the reigning champion Los Angeles Lakers to be an All-Star captain, once more.

So, he’s. And Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant might be his opposition.

James and Durant had been revealed Thursday because the main fan votegetters within the Western and Eastern Conferences for the All-Star Game, that means they’ll be captains for the matchup in Atlanta on March 7. James will begin for the seventeenth time, extending his document, and Durant is an All-Star for the eleventh time.

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and Kobe Bryant (18) have extra whole All-Star alternatives than James.

The different starters: Denver’s Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard be part of James as West frontcourt picks, Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Dallas’ Luka Doncic are the beginning guards from the West, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid are alongside Durant because the East frontcourt starters, whereas Washington’s Bradley Beal and Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving are the East beginning guards.

Doncic and Portland’s Damian Lillard had been tied within the NBA’s weighted system for the second West guard spot; Doncic obtained the nod as a result of he obtained extra fan votes. Fan votes counted for 50% of the starter choice course of; participant votes counted as 25% of the overall, and votes from a media panel made up the opposite 25%.

Reserves might be introduced Tuesday, to be determined by voting by NBA head coaches. James _ the main general votegetter this 12 months, with greater than 5.9 million votes from followers _ and Durant will then decide their groups, with the rosters for Team LeBron and Team Durant to be revealed March 4.

James is 3-0 for the reason that NBA went to a player-captain format, defeating Curry’s group in 2018 and Antetokounmpo’s group in every of the previous two seasons. Quin Snyder of the Utah Jazz will coach James’ group in Atlanta; Doc Rivers of the Philadelphia 76ers is at present the frontrunner to educate Durant’s group, with the standings after Sunday’s video games to resolve that spot.

The starters had been revealed on the identical day the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association introduced particulars for the sport, saying it can generate greater than $2.5 million for traditionally Black schools and COVID-19 aid efforts.

The sport has been criticized by among the league’s prime gamers, James included, who voiced issues about having it throughout a pandemic. It additionally drew concern from Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who made clear that followers shouldn’t come to town for All-Star festivities since there received’t be public occasions surrounding the sport.

But the charitable components had been a significant component within the league urgent on, and Commissioner Adam Silver stated the sport supplies a platform to shine mild on HBCUs and the continued want for sources within the combat towards COVID-19.

“NBA All-Star in Atlanta will continue our annual tradition of celebrating the game and the greatest players in the world before a global audience,” Silver stated.

The sport is bringing again the format that was used final 12 months: a goal rating to finish the sport, one thing that may once more pay tribute to Bryant. Each of the primary three quarters will begin with a 0-0 rating, then might be re-tallied for an untimed fourth quarter. The main whole rating via three quarters can have 24 factors _ a nod to Bryant’s jersey quantity _ added, and the primary group to hit that focus on wins the sport.

That last-shot-wins format debuted final season, when Anthony Davis made a game-ending free throw to cap Team LeBron’s 157-155 win.

The sport will companion with organizations such because the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and United Negro College Fund to “highlight the importance of HBCUs and raise awareness around the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color,” the league stated. HBCU musical teams are additionally being invited to carry out nearly.

“HBCUs provided premium education to our communities at a time when access to higher learning was denied to us,” NBPA govt director Michele Roberts stated. “They were there _ and have remained there _ for us. We now stand with them.”

The league instructed groups this week that it might organize personal journey to Atlanta for all individuals, who will proceed being examined for the coronavirus; gamers have been examined every day all season. They might be unable to depart their resorts aside from All-Star occasions, a mini-bubble idea that the NBA and the NBPA agreed upon in current days. And whereas a small variety of invited company might be within the stands, tickets is not going to be obtainable.

James, Antetokounmpo and others have been lower than enthusiastic concerning the sport being performed, noting each the issues associated to the pandemic and the way it’s being squeezed into an already compressed season.

“We know it’s happening and we know we’re required and expected to be there,” Curry stated. “It kind of is what it is.”

Players and their company should arrive in Atlanta by 7 p.m. on March 6 and can go away following the sport the subsequent night time. The 3-point shootout, abilities competitors and dunk contest are additionally deliberate for March 7.

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