USA TODAY Sports Weekly

LeBron and KD to captain NBA All-Star Game

- Jeff Zillgitt

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ ubiquitous presence, two first-time starters and multiple returnees highlight the NBA’s 2021 All-Star Game starters, as determined in voting by fans, players and media.

The Eastern starters selected Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Washington’s Bradley Beal, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokoun­mpo and Philadelph­ia’s Joel Embiid. Durant won’t play because of a hamstring injury but will still serve as captain of his team.

The Western starters are James, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard.

The game is March 7 in Atlanta (8 p.m. ET, TNT; coverage begins at 5 ET). The Skills Challenge and 3-point contest are at 6:30; the slam-dunk contest is at halftime.

James is on target to increase his league-record All-Star starts to 17, and he made the All-Star team for the 17th time, trailing only former Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (19) and

Kobe Bryant (18) for most selections. James also owns the record for most consecutiv­e AllStar starts.

James, who is the all-time leading scorer in All-Star history with 385 points, also finished

KIRBY LEE/ USA TODAY SPORTS with the (5,922,554) (5,567,106).

Curry is a starter for the seventh time in the past eight seasons, and Leonard and Antetokoun­mpo are starters most fans votes ahead of Durant for the fifth time.

Jokic and Beal are first-time starters, and a record five internatio­nally born players were voted starters: Antetokoun­mpo (Greece), Doncic (Slovenia), Embiid (Cameroon), Irving (Australia) and Jokic (Serbia). The previous record was four set in 2020.

New Orleans’ Zion Williamson, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Boston’s Jaylen Brown and New York’s Julius Randle were named All-Stars for the first time as reserves, selected by NBA head coaches:

Eastern reserves: Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Brooklyn’s James Harden, Philadelph­ia’s Ben Simmons, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, LaVine, Brown and Randle.

Western reserves: Clippers’ Paul George, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, Phoenix’s Chris Paul and Devin Booker, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Williamson.

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 ??  ?? LeBron James was voted an All-Star starter for the 17th time.
LeBron James was voted an All-Star starter for the 17th time.

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