Bam Adebayo will start NBA All-Star Game, replacing Joel Embiid

Bam Adebayo will start NBA All-Star Game, replacing Joel Embiid

/ 11:09 AM February 18, 2024

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Bam Adebayo NBA All-Star Game starter

Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo dunks against the Philadelphia 76ersduring the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

INDIANAPOLIS — A new honor is awaiting Miami’s Bam Adebayo: He’ll be an All-Star starter for the first time.

Adebayo was announced Saturday as the replacement for Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid in the Eastern Conference starting lineup for Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game. Embiid — the reigning MVP and two-time defending scoring champion — is missing the game because of a knee injury.

Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, who will lead the East team in the All-Star Game, made the selection and informed Adebayo on Saturday morning. Adebayo said the conversation was brief and direct: “He walked in and was like, ‘Bam, you’re starting,’” he said.

“It’s going to be a dope experience,” Adebayo said. “Just going to really cherish that moment and thankful to God and all the people who support me through all the ups and downs. We’ve added something new to our list.”

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READ: Guide to 2024 NBA All-Star Game: schedules, rosters

Adebayo made the All-Star team this season as a reserve selected by coaches, just as he did in 2020 — when he also won the skills competition at All-Star weekend — and 2023. He’ll become the seventh player to be an All-Star starter as a member of the Heat and the first since Dwyane Wade in 2016.

Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Alonzo Mourning and Anthony Mason also were All-Star starters as members of the Heat. Mason was an injury replacement for Grant Hill in 2001; Bosh was an injury replacement for Rajon Rondo in 2013.

“My lineup decision was easy,” Rivers said. “I looked at Big Joel out, what other (center) do we have on the team, and Bam got the honor. It’s good for him, too. It’s funny, I told him in locker room. He didn’t know. I thought he knew because I told the league yesterday that he did know. You could tell he was very happy about it.”

Adebayo — a member of the U.S. Olympic team that won gold at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and someone expected to be part of the team that will seek a fifth consecutive gold medal at the Paris Olympics this summer — is a four-time All-Defensive team member. He has finished no worse than fifth in the defensive player of the year voting in each of the last four seasons.

Adebayo is averaging 20.2 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1 block per game this season, his seventh with the Heat and his first as Miami’s captain. No Heat player has ever finished a season with all those averages and only two other players are averaging at least that much in all five categories this season — Embiid and Milwaukee All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

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TAGS: Bam Adebayo, Joel Embiid, NBA All Star, NBA All-Star Game

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