The NBA All-Star Game will take place on February 19. And no one will know the star lists until that night. Not even the players themselves.
The team captains – likely LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee or Kevin Durant of Brooklyn – will make their picks in a live televised pre-game segment shortly before the start of the game in Salt Lake City.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced the format change Tuesday night.
This will be the sixth time the league has used the format in which captains choose their teams, but in each of the first five cases the rosters were selected days before the game.
The captains and starters will be announced Thursday.
James was captain in each of the first five years and, based on voting results released by the league late last week, it’s virtually certain he will be one again this year. The main vote collector in the Eastern and Western Conferences wins the right to be captain.
Durant was the early leader among Eastern players, then fell slightly behind Antetokounmpo in the last poll. He is still expected to be selected as a starter, and it won’t be known until Thursday whether he has reclaimed the voting lead in the East in the final days.
Ballots to decide the starters were due Saturday.
“I want to play,” Durant told reporters in New York on Tuesday. “I want to be part of all these events.”
James’ teams are 5-0 at the All-Star Games when he is captain.
Durant has captained as the Eastern vote leader in each of the last two games. Antetokounmpo was in the previous two games, 2019 and 2020.
The top three frontcourt players and top two guards from each conference will be chosen as starters, with each conference’s top voters serving as captains and choosing their teams.
Fan votes count for 50% of rookie votes, a media vote counts for 25%, and ballots submitted by NBA players count for the remaining 25%.
The reserves — chosen by NBA coaches, seven players from each conference — will be revealed Feb. 2.