Team captains James and Durant headline NBA All-Star selections
LA Lakers star LeBron James and Brooklyn Nets ace Kevin Durant will captain the teams in the 70th edition of the NBA's All-Star game.
Serving as a team captain for the fourth straight year, James received the most votes to earn his 17th All-Star appearance, and is joined in the Western Conference starters pool by Golden State Warriors’ three-point specialist Stephen Curry, who is selected as an All-Star for the seventh time.
Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers is named an All-Star for the fifth time, while Denver Nuggets centre Nikola Jokic makes a third appearance, and the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is called up for a second time to round off the starters pool from the west.
Durant makes his 11th All-Star appearance, named in the Eastern Conference starters pool alongside his Nets teammate Kyrie Irving, who receives the call for the seventh time, while Milwaukee Bucks’s star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo joins the group, his fifth time an all-star.
Philadelphia 76er Joel Embiid is recognised for a fourth-time with a call-up, and Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal completes the eastern pool in his third All-Star outing.
The fourth-ever All-Star draft is scheduled for March 4, as captains James and Durant choose between the remaining starters and a pool of All-Star reserves, selected by NBA head coaches and announced on February 23.
Fans accounted for 50 per cent of the staters vote, with current players and media representatives making up the remaining 25 per cent each.
The All-Star game follows the same format as last year, as teams battle to win each of the first three quarters, with the scores reset to 0-0 after each period, before an untimed fourth quarter is played with teams racing to reach a final target score.
The final target score is determined by taking the accumulated points of the leading team through the first three quarters and adding 24, representing the jersey number of the late Kobe Bryant, meaning the game will finish on a basket instead of a buzzer.
For the first time, the event will also feature the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and the MTN Dew 3-Point Contest as part of the pre-game build-up, with the AT&T Slam Dunk competition scheduled for half-time.