NBA All-Star Game
|National Basketball Association All-Star Game|
|Most recent||2021 (Atlanta)|
|Previous event||2020 (Chicago)|
|Next event||2022 (Cleveland)|
|Participants||Eastern Conference and Western Conference All-Stars|
|Organized by||National Basketball Association|
The National Basketball Association All-Star Game is a basketball exhibition game hosted every February by the National Basketball Association (NBA) and showcases 24 of the league's star players. It is the featured event of NBA All-Star Weekend, a three-day event which goes from Friday to Sunday. The All-Star Game was first played at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951.
The starting lineup for each squad is selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting, while head coaches choose the reserves, seven players from their respective conferences, so each side has a 12-man roster. Coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players. If a selected player cannot participate because of injury, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement.
Starting in 2018, the leading vote-getters for each conference are designated as team captains and can choose from the pool of All-Star reserves to form their teams regardless of conference. LeBron James and Stephen Curry became the first players to choose teams through the new format, selecting players for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in a non-televised draft on January 25. Likely due to fan interest in the draft process, captains for the 2019 All-Star Game, James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, drafted their teams live on TNT. The teams also play for a charity of their choice to help the games remain competitive.
The head coach of the team with the best record in each conference is chosen to lead their respective conference in the All-Star Game, with a prohibition against consecutive appearances. Known as the "Riley Rule", it was created after perennially successful Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Riley earned the right to coach the Western Conference team eight times in nine seasons between 1982 and 1990. The coach of the team with the next best record gets to coach instead.
The idea of holding an All-Star Game was conceived during a meeting between NBA President Maurice Podoloff, NBA publicity director Haskell Cohen and Boston Celtics owner Walter A. Brown. At that time, the basketball world had just been rocked by the college basketball point-shaving scandal.
To regain public attention to the league, Cohen suggested the league to host an exhibition game featuring the league's best players, similar to Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Although most people, including Podoloff, were pessimistic about the idea, Brown remained confident that it would be a success, and he offered to host the game and to cover all the expenses or potential losses incurred from the game.
The first All-Star Game was hosted at the Boston Garden on March 2, 1951, where the Eastern All-Stars team defeated the Western All-Stars team, 111–94. Boston Celtics' Ed Macauley was named as the first NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and the All-Star Game became a success, drawing an attendance of 10,094, much higher than that season's average attendance of 3,500.
In 2010, the NBA All-Star Game set the attendance record for a basketball game with 108,713 people attending at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This shattered the existing attendance record previously held at Ford Field on December 13, 2003, when 78,129 attendees watched Michigan State play Kentucky.
The 2017 All-Star Weekend was originally awarded to Charlotte, North Carolina. On March 23, 2016, North Carolina passed House Bill 2, also known as a "bathroom bill," which was seen as discriminatory against transgender persons. As a result, the NBA announced that it would move the game to another city if the bill was not repealed or revised. After North Carolina took no action, on July 21, 2016, the NBA announced that the 2017 game would be moved to New Orleans. In March 2017, after several provisions of the bill were partially repealed, the NBA awarded the 2019 All-Star Weekend to Charlotte.
On October 3, 2017, the NBA and NBPA announced changes to the game format, starting in 2018. Instead of being divided by conference, the top vote leaders for each conference would be team captains and hold a draft to choose among the rest of the starters and reserves, regardless of conference.
The starting five from each conference consists of three frontcourt players and two guards, selected by a combination of fan, player, and media voting. In 2017, the NBA moved from a pure fan vote to a weighted process wherein fan voting accounts for 50%, with player and media voting account for 25% each. Prior to 2013, fans selected two forwards and one center instead of generic frontcourt players. The NBA in 2003 began offering All-Star ballots in three languages—English, Spanish and Chinese—for fan voting of the starters.
NBA coaches vote for the reserves for their respective conferences, but they cannot choose players from their own team. Each coach selects two guards, three frontcourt players and two wild cards, with each selected player ranked in order of preference within each category. If a multi-position player is to be selected, coaches are encouraged to vote for the player at the position that is "most advantageous for the All-Star team", regardless of where the player is listed on the All-Star ballot or the position he is listed in box scores. If a player is unavailable for the game due to injury, the NBA commissioner selects a replacement for the roster. If the replacement is for a fan-selected starter, the All-Star Game coach chooses the replacement in the starting lineup, and is not limited to the commissioner's addition to the roster.
Multiple All-Star players can be chosen from one team, with the record being four. This has occurred nine times, the first such instance being in 1962, when four players each from the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were chosen. The most recent game with four All-Star players from one team was the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 game.
The game is played under normal NBA rules, but there are notable differences from an average game. Since the starting All-Stars are selected by fans, players, and media, players sometimes start the game at atypical positions. For instance, in the 2007 game, Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady were chosen as the starting Western Conference guards. As both players normally play shooting guard, Bryant started the game as a point guard. Gameplay usually involves players attempting spectacular slam dunks and alley oops and defensive effort is usually limited. The final score is generally much higher than a competitive NBA game.
If the score is close, the fourth quarter is more competitive. This format was changed in 2020 to use the Elam Ending. In normal Elam Ending rules, the game clock is turned off with four minutes remaining and a target score is set; whoever reaches the target wins the game. In 2020, the NBA took the score at the end of three quarters and added 24 points (in honor of Kobe Bryant, who had been killed in a helicopter crash a month prior). With Team Giannis leading Team LeBron 133–124 at the end of the third quarter, the target score was 157 points, and Team LeBron won the contest.
The player introductions are usually accompanied by a significant amount of fanfare, including lighting effects, dance music, and pyrotechnics. Special uniforms are designed for the game each year, usually red for the Western Conference and blue for the Eastern Conference. From 1997 to 2002, players could wear their normal team uniforms. The "host conference" also traditionally has light uniforms, except from 2010 to 2014. Players on the same All-Star team who wear the same number used to have the option to change numbers: Patrick Ewing, who normally wore #33, chose to wear #3 as Larry Bird also had that number. Since 1997, players can keep their uniform numbers. A major recording artist typically sings "O Canada" and "The Star-Spangled Banner" prior to tipoff.
Halftime is also longer than a typical NBA game due to musical performances by popular artists. The first such halftime show happened in the 2000 game, with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mary J. Blige, and LL Cool J performing.
All-Star Game records
All-Star Game results
This is a list of each All-Star Game, the venue at which it was played, and the Game MVP. Parenthesized numbers indicate multiple times that venue, city, or player has occurred as of that instance (e.g. "Michael Jordan (2)" in 1996 indicates that was his second All-Star MVP award). As of the 2017 All-Star Game (the 2016–17 NBA season)[update], the Eastern Conference leads with a record of 37 wins and 29 losses.
|Eastern Conference (37 wins)||Western Conference (29 wins)|
Note: Stadium names are named based on the name at the day of the All-Star Game.
|Year||Result||Host arena||Host city||Game MVP|
|1951||East 111, West 94||Boston Garden||Boston, Massachusetts||Ed Macauley, Boston Celtics|
|1952||East 108, West 91||Boston Garden (2)||Boston, Massachusetts (2)||Paul Arizin, Philadelphia Warriors|
|1953||West 79, East 75||Allen County War Memorial Coliseum||Fort Wayne, Indiana||George Mikan, Minneapolis Lakers|
|1954||East 98, West 93 (OT)||Madison Square Garden III**||New York City, New York||Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics|
|1955||East 100, West 91||Madison Square Garden III** (2)||New York City, New York (2)||Bill Sharman, Boston Celtics|
|1956||West 108, East 94||Rochester War Memorial Coliseum||Rochester, New York||Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks|
|1957||East 109, West 97||Boston Garden (3)||Boston, Massachusetts (3)||Bob Cousy (2), Boston Celtics|
|1958||East 130, West 118||St. Louis Arena||St. Louis, Missouri||Bob Pettit (2), St. Louis Hawks|
|1959||West 124, East 108||Olympia Stadium||Detroit, Michigan||Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers|
Bob Pettit (3), St. Louis Hawks
|1960||East 125, West 115||Convention Hall||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania||Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors|
|1961||West 153, East 131||Onondaga County War Memorial Coliseum||Syracuse, New York||Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals|
|1962||West 150, East 130||St. Louis Arena (2)||St. Louis, Missouri (2)||Bob Pettit (4), St. Louis Hawks|
|1963||East 115, West 108||LA Sports Arena||Los Angeles, California||Bill Russell, Boston Celtics|
|1964||East 111, West 107||Boston Garden (4)||Boston, Massachusetts (4)||Oscar Robertson (2), Cincinnati Royals|
|1965||East 124, West 123||St. Louis Arena (3)||St. Louis, Missouri (3)||Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati Royals|
|1966||East 137, West 94||Cincinnati Gardens||Cincinnati, Ohio||Adrian Smith, Cincinnati Royals|
|1967||West 135, East 120||Cow Palace||Daly City, California||Rick Barry, San Francisco Warriors|
|1968||East 144, West 124||Madison Square Garden III** (3)||New York City, New York (3)||Hal Greer, Philadelphia 76ers|
|1969||East 123, West 112||Baltimore Civic Center||Baltimore, Maryland||Oscar Robertson (3), Cincinnati Royals|
|1970||East 142, West 135||The Spectrum||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2)||Willis Reed, New York Knicks|
|1971||West 108, East 107||San Diego Sports Arena||San Diego, California||Lenny Wilkens, Seattle SuperSonics|
|1972||West 112, East 110||The Forum||Inglewood, California||Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers|
|1973||East 104, West 84||Chicago Stadium||Chicago, Illinois||Dave Cowens, Boston Celtics|
|1974||West 134, East 123||Seattle Center Coliseum||Seattle, Washington||Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons|
|1975||East 108, West 102||Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum||Phoenix, Arizona||Walt Frazier, New York Knicks|
|1976||East 123, West 109||The Spectrum (2)||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (3)||Dave Bing, Washington Bullets|
|1977||West 125, East 124||Milwaukee Arena||Milwaukee, Wisconsin||Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers|
|1978||East 133, West 125||Omni Coliseum||Atlanta, Georgia||Randy Smith, Buffalo Braves|
|1979||West 134, East 129||Pontiac Silverdome||Pontiac, Michigan†||David Thompson, Denver Nuggets|
|1980||East 144, West 136 (OT)||Capital Centre||Landover, Maryland||George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs|
|1981||East 123, West 120||Coliseum at Richfield||Richfield, Ohio||Nate Archibald, Boston Celtics|
|1982||East 120, West 118||Brendan Byrne Arena||East Rutherford, New Jersey||Larry Bird, Boston Celtics|
|1983||East 132, West 123||The Forum (2)||Inglewood, California (2)||Julius Erving (2), Philadelphia 76ers|
|1984||East 154, West 145 (OT)||McNichols Sports Arena||Denver, Colorado||Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons|
|1985||West 140, East 129||Hoosier Dome||Indianapolis, Indiana†||Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets|
|1986||East 139, West 132||Reunion Arena||Dallas, Texas||Isiah Thomas (2), Detroit Pistons|
|1987||West 154, East 149 (OT)||Kingdome||Seattle, Washington† (2)||Tom Chambers, Seattle SuperSonics|
|1988||East 138, West 133||Chicago Stadium (2)||Chicago, Illinois (2)||Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls|
|1989||West 143, East 134||Astrodome||Houston, Texas†||Karl Malone, Utah Jazz|
|1990||East 130, West 113||Miami Arena||Miami, Florida||Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers|
|1991||East 116, West 114||Charlotte Coliseum||Charlotte, North Carolina||Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers|
|1992||West 153, East 113||Orlando Arena§||Orlando, Florida||Magic Johnson (2), Los Angeles Lakers|
|1993||West 135, East 132 (OT)||Delta Center§||Salt Lake City, Utah||Karl Malone (2), Utah Jazz|
John Stockton, Utah Jazz
|1994||East 127, West 118||Target Center||Minneapolis, Minnesota||Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls|
|1995||West 139, East 112||America West Arena§||Phoenix, Arizona (2)||Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings|
|1996||East 129, West 118||Alamodome||San Antonio, Texas||Michael Jordan (2), Chicago Bulls|
|1997||East 132, West 120||Gund Arena§||Cleveland, Ohio||Glen Rice, Charlotte Hornets|
|1998||East 135, West 114||Madison Square Garden***||New York City, New York (4)||Michael Jordan (3), Chicago Bulls|
|1999||Canceled due to the league's lockout.|
The game was originally set to play at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
|2000||West 137, East 126||The Arena in Oakland||Oakland, California||Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs|
Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
|2001||East 111, West 110||MCI Center||Washington, D.C.||Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers|
|2002||West 135, East 120||First Union Center||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (4)||Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers|
|2003||West 155, East 145 (2OT)||Philips Arena§||Atlanta, Georgia (2)||Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves|
|2004||West 136, East 132||Staples Center||Los Angeles, California (2)||Shaquille O'Neal (2), Los Angeles Lakers|
|2005||East 125, West 115||Pepsi Center||Denver, Colorado (2)||Allen Iverson (2), Philadelphia 76ers|
|2006||East 122, West 120||Toyota Center||Houston, Texas (2)||LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2007||West 153, East 132||Thomas & Mack Center||Paradise, Nevada*||Kobe Bryant (2), Los Angeles Lakers|
|2008||East 134, West 128||New Orleans Arena§||New Orleans, Louisiana||LeBron James (2), Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2009||West 146, East 119||US Airways Center (2)||Phoenix, Arizona (3)||Kobe Bryant (3), Los Angeles Lakers|
Shaquille O'Neal (3), Phoenix Suns
|2010||East 141, West 139||Cowboys Stadium||Arlington, Texas#†||Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat|
|2011||West 148, East 143||Staples Center (2)||Los Angeles, California (3)||Kobe Bryant (4), Los Angeles Lakers|
|2012||West 152, East 149||Amway Center (2)||Orlando, Florida (2)||Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2013||West 143, East 138||Toyota Center (2)||Houston, Texas (3)||Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers|
|2014||East 163, West 155||Smoothie King Center (2)||New Orleans, Louisiana (2)||Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2015||West 163, East 158||Madison Square Garden (2)*** / Barclays Center||New York City, New York (5)||Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2016||West 196, East 173||Air Canada Centre||Toronto, Ontario||Russell Westbrook (2), Oklahoma City Thunder|
|2017||West 192, East 182||Smoothie King Center (3)||New Orleans, Louisiana (3)||Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans|
|2018||Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145||Staples Center (3)||Los Angeles, California (4)||LeBron James (3), Cleveland Cavaliers|
|2019||Team LeBron 178, Team Giannis 164||Spectrum Center||Charlotte, North Carolina (2)||Kevin Durant (2), Golden State Warriors|
|2020||Team LeBron 157, Team Giannis 155‡||United Center||Chicago, Illinois (3)||Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers|
|2021||Team LeBron 170, Team Durant 150||State Farm Arena (2)||Atlanta, Georgia (3)||Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks|
|2022||TBA vs. TBA||Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (2)||Cleveland, Ohio (2)|
|2023||TBA vs. TBA||Vivint Smart Home Arena (2)||Salt Lake City, Utah (2)|
|2024||TBA vs. TBA||Gainbridge Fieldhouse||Indianapolis, Indiana (2)|
- * denotes a city without an NBA team in play during that calendar year.
- ** denotes game played at the "third" Madison Square Garden on 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, which the first three NBA All-Star Games played in Madison Square Garden (1954, 1955 and 1968) were.
- *** denotes game played at the "fourth" (or current as of 2017) Madison Square Garden that runs from 31st to 33rd Streets from 8th to west of 7th Avenues above the western half of Penn Station in Manhattan that opened in February 1968, approximately one month after the 1968 game was played in the "old" MSG.
- † denotes an NBA All-Star Game that is held at an NFL or MLB stadium.
- § denotes a stadium or arena whose venue name has since changed AND the venue has hosted a subsequent NBA All-Star Game under the alternate name.
- Portland, Sacramento, Memphis, and Oklahoma City are the only current NBA cities that have not yet hosted an NBA All-Star Game.[a]
- New arenas that have not hosted the All-Star Game are Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, TD Garden in Boston, American Airlines Arena in Miami, Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis (set to host the 2024 game), American Airlines Center in Dallas (the venue did host the 2010 Rookie Challenge and All-Star Saturday), AT&T Center in San Antonio, Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, and Chase Center in San Francisco.
- Other current NFL or MLB stadiums that could host the NBA All-Star Game include Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ford Field in Detroit, NRG Stadium in Houston, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (Los Angeles metropolitan area), U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, State Farm Stadium in Glendale (Phoenix metropolitan area), and Rogers Centre in Toronto.
- # Arlington, Texas does not have an NBA team within its city limits, but it is a part of the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex that has an NBA team (the Dallas Mavericks).
- ‡ This was the first game played under the Elam scoring format, where instead of a time limit, the fourth quarter would end when either team reached the target score, defined as 24 plus whichever team had more points after three quarters. Team Giannis led 133–124 after three quarters, so the target score was 157. Anthony Davis hit a walk-off free throw to win it.
Other All-Star events
The All-Star Game is the featured event of All-Star Weekend, and it is held on a Sunday night. All-Star Weekend also includes a number of popular exhibition games and competitions featuring NBA players and alumni as well as players from the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) and NBA G League (G League).
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- MacMahon, Tim. "Jones, Cuban hoping to break 100,000". ESPNDallas.com.
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- Beck, Howard (October 24, 2012). "The All-Star Center is Officially Extinct". New York Times. Retrieved October 24, 2012.
The N.B.A., bowing to new realities in a multi-positional era, has eliminated "center" from its All-Star ballots for the 2012–13 season. Instead, fans will vote for three frontcourt players and two guards.
- Vecsey, George (January 12, 2003). "Fans in Shanghai Are Voting in the Mainstream". The New York Times.
- Stein, Marc (January 18, 2013). "1. Reserve Judgment: Stein's All-Star Benches". ESPN. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013.
- "DeMarcus Cousins to replace Kobe Bryant in 2015 NBA All-Star Game" (Press release). NBA. January 30, 2015. Archived from the original on February 2, 2015.
- "Warriors have four All-Stars for second consecutive season". NBC Sports. January 24, 2018. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
- Medina, Mark (January 23, 2018). "Klay Thompson, Draymond Green among reserves for 2018 NBA All-Star game". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
- Steele, David (December 9, 1998). "NBA Drops All-Stars — What's Left? February game in Philly latest casualty of lockout". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 17, 2008.
- "Cleveland to host NBA All-Star 2022". NBA.com. November 1, 2018.
- "Utah Jazz to host NBA All-Star 2023". NBA.com. October 23, 2019. Retrieved October 24, 2019.