Giannis top pick for LeBron All-Star squad, Team KD taps Kyrie
LOS ANGELES – LeBron James chose Giannis Antetokounmpo to spearhead his NBA All-Star Game line-up on Thursday as rival captain Kevin Durant opted for Brooklyn teammate Kyrie Irving with his top pick.
Los Angeles Lakers superstar James — who had the right of first choice from the player pool after topping votes for the All-Star game — wasted no time in drafting the Milwaukee Bucks’ reigning league MVP Antetokounmpo.
Durant, who will be a non-playing captain in Sunday’s showpiece in Atlanta due to injury, chose Irving with the second pick.
James meanwhile filled out his starting line-up with Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry, Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and in-form Denver Nuggets power forward Nikola Jokic.
Durant meanwhile added Philadelphia 76ers power forward Joel Embiid and Los Angeles Clippers talisman Kawhi Leonard with his second and third picks.
Washington Wizards league-leading scorer Bradley Beal and Boston’s Jayson Tatum completed the Team Durant starting line-up.
Sunday’s All-Star game has been scheduled during a mid-season break that originally was meant to give every player a rest as part of a restructured campaign because of the shorter-than-usual off-season.
James and other top players have criticized the decision to go ahead with the game, with James last month describing the move as a “slap in the face” for weary players.
All-Star festivities surrounding the game have been scaled back and no spectators, parties or special events have been planned to coincide with the game, traditionally a highlight of the NBA calendar.
All-Star Game squads:
— NBA (@NBA) March 5, 2021
Starters: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic
Reserves: Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis, Rudy Gobert
Starters: Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum
Reserves: James Harden, Devin Booker, Zion Williamson, Zach LaVine, Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, Donovan Mitchell
Note: Kevin Durant non-playing captain.