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NBA All-Star Game: which players have made the most appearances?

This year, LeBron James is set to make his 18th appearance - the LA Lakers star will equal Kobe Bryant in the list of players with the All-Star selections in history.

NBA All-Star Game: which players have made the most appearances?
Katelyn MulcahyAFP

The 71st anniversary of the NBA All-Star game will be celebrated at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio this weekend. The event has grown in popularity since the first time it was held at the Boston Garden in March 1951 although audience figures were down last year with an estimated 6 million viewers tuning in to follow the action.

The All-Star game has taken place every year except 1999, when it was cancelled due to the NBA Lockout. Over the years, many of the NBA’s biggest stars have made several All-Star appearances, including the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Michael Jordan, the late Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who once again will captain one of the All-Star teams, facing Kevin Durant's team for the second year running.

Having played in every All-Star game since 2005, 2022 will be Lakers star LeBron’s 18th All-Star game. He has captained teams in the last four editions, since the format was modified in 2018 and his teams have yet to be defeated.

Durant has featured in every All-Star game since 2010 except in 2020. But after last year’s hiatus, the Brooklyn Nets forward will be making his 12th All-Star appearance and hoping to get revenge for the 170-150 defeat to LeBron's team in Atlanta last year.

Most NBA All-Star selections

With 18 appearances, LeBron will be ranked joint-second in the list of players with the most All-Star selections in history. Former Milwaukee Bucks and LA Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 19 selections. Between 1970 and 1989, Abdul-Jabbar missed just one All-Star game in 1973.

Following Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is Kobe Bryant with 18 selections, in 1998 and 2000-2016, with the former Lakers shooting guard missing three of the games he was selected for in 2010, 2014 and 2015. LeBron will pull level with his old friend in Ohio this weekend.

Behind Kobe and LeBron are three players tied in fourth place with 15 selections: Tim Duncan (1998; 2000–2011; 2013; 2015), Kevin Garnett (1997–1998; 2000–2011; 2013), and Shaquille O'Neal (1993–1998; 2000–2007; 2009).

Tied in fifth place with 14 selections are Michael Jordan (1985–1993; 1996–1998; 2002–2003), Karl Malone (1988–1998; 2000–2002) Dirk Nowitzk (2002–2012; 2014–2015; 2019) and Jerry West (1961–1974).

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NBA All-Star prize money

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Winning the MVP nomination in 1956, 1958 (co-MVP) 1959 and 1962, former Milwaukee Hawks player Bob Pettit held the four-MVP record solo for 49 years. However his record was later matched by Kobe Bryant, who scooped the MVP award in 2002, 2007, 2009 (co-MVP with Shaquille O’Neal) and 2011. The award was renamed the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award after Bryant’s tragic death in 2020.

Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, and LeBron James have all scooped three MVP awards, with James becoming the youngest player to win the accolade in 2006 at the age of 21 years and 1 month. Bob Cousy, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Durant have each won the All-Star MVP nomination twice. Giannis Antetokounmpo picked up last year's award, his first All-Star MVP.


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