Ja Morant was just 5 years old when LeBron James made his first All-Star Game in 2005. Morant, now 22, was selected on Thursday to his first All-Star Game. James, now 37, made his record-tying 18th consecutive All-Star Game.
The old guard isn’t getting out of the way, but there’s always room for newcomers.
This is the first of what should be many All-Star appearances for Morant, and for James, it’s likely not the final one – but he’s getting close.
James, Morant and eight other players from the Eastern and Western conferences highlight the backcourt and frontcourt starters for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland on Feb. 20.
Starters from the East: Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, Atlanta’s Trae Young, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.
Starters from the West: Golden State’s Steph Curry, Memphis’ Ja Morant, Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins.
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The reserves will be announced Feb. 3. James is the captain from the West, and Durant the captain from the East, and the two players will pick their teams most likely the week of Feb. 7.
Durant, who is sidelined with sprained MCL in his left knee, likely will miss the All-Star game, giving Adam Silver a chance to replace him with a commissioner’s pick.
James is now tied with Kobe Bryant for second-most All-Star selections at 18, one behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and tied with Bryant for most consecutive All-Star selections (18) and increased his all-time best All-Star starts to 17.
Wiggins was a major surprise, making his first All-Star appearance. He averages 18.1 points and is shooting 48.1% from the field and 40.4% on 3-pointers.
Notable players not voted in as a starter from the East: Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Chicago Zach LaVine, Toronto’s Fred VanVleet and Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday.
Notable players not voted in as a starter from the West: Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Phoenix’s Chris Paul and Devin Booker, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell and Dallas’ Luka Doncic.