Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder edged perennial all-star starter Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors for the final West backcourt spot in this season’s NBA all-star game.
The 25-year-old from Hamilton is the league’s leader in 30-point games this season.
Meanwhile, LeBron James is now an all-star — and an all-star starter — for the 20th time, with the league unveiling the results of this season’s starter balloting on Thursday night. James is the first 20-time all-star in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whose career scoring record was broken by James last season, was a 19-time selection.
This year’s match is Feb. 18 in Indianapolis.
Also joining Gilgeous-Alexander and James in the Western Conference starting lineup: Phoenix’s Kevin Durant, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Dallas’ Luka Doncic. Durant is a 14-time selection now, one of only 11 players in NBA history to be picked that many times.
In the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo will be joined by Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid — the reigning NBA MVP, two-time defending scoring champion and current NBA scoring leader — in the frontcourt. Tatum set an all-star Game record last season, scoring 55 points in the contest at Salt Lake City on the way to MVP honors.
The East guards are Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton — who’ll be a starter on his home floor — and Milwaukee’s Damian Lillard.
“You never want to take it for granted, right?” Tatum told TNT, which broadcast the unveiling of the starters before Boston’s game in Miami. “There’s 450 guys in the league and for the fans to consistently vote me, it’s truly an honor. It’s something I don’t take for granted. I grew up wanting to be in all-star weekend every year and to live out that dream in real time is pretty cool.”
Among the notables not picked as starters: Curry, Boston’s Jaylen Brown, New York’s Jalen Brunson, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell, Miami’s Bam Adebayo, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard, Philadelphia’s Tyrese Maxey and Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards.