The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, playing in his 20th and final NBA season, was selected to be an All-Star for the 18th time after the final results of NBA All-Star Voting 2016 presented by Verizon.
Bryant, a four-time All-Star Game MVP and the top scorer in the game’s history, led all players with 1 891 614 votes to finish ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry (1 604 325), who earned his third straight starting nod.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard were voted starters for the first time. This is the first All-Star berth for Leonard, who joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to be named an All-Star, Finals MVP and Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Bryant, Curry, Westbrook and Leonard in the Western Conference starting line-up is Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, an All-Star for the seventh time.
The Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry, who trailed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving by 32 285 votes for second place among Eastern Conference guards in the previous balloting update, surged to a starting spot for the second consecutive season. Lowry (646 441) finished second among East guards behind the Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade (941 466), who was picked to be an All-Star for the 12th time in 13 seasons.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James led the East with 1 089 206 votes to secure his 12th All-Star nod in 13 seasons. James, whose 278 All-Star points are two behind Bryant’s record of 280, is joined in the East frontcourt by the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George (711 595) and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (567 348).
Anthony edged the Chicago Bulls’ Pau Gasol by 360 votes to earn his ninth trip to the All-Star Game. George, also chosen to start in 2014, clinched his third All-Star selection.
The 65th NBA All-Star Game will tip off on Sunday, February 14 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, the first All-Star Game to be held outside of the US The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game in the US for the 14th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 31st year of NBA All-Star coverage.
With his 18th All-Star berth, Bryant moved one behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most all time. Bryant was followed in the West frontcourt voting by Durant (980 787) and Leonard (782 339). Durant owns the highest scoring average in All-Star Game history at 26.0 points. In the last balloting update, Leonard trailed the Warriors’ Draymond Green by 12 321 votes for the third starting spot in the West frontcourt.
ALL-STAR GAME STARTERS ANNOUNCED
Curry, who leads the NBA in scoring (29.9 ppg) and three-pointers made (196), is set to become the first Warrior to start three All-Star Games in a row since Rick Barry from 1974-76. The other starting guard in the West is Westbrook, now a five-time All-Star. Westbrook was named the 2015 All-Star Game MVP after scoring 41 points – one shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s record set in 1962 – in the West’s 163-158 win in New York.
The NBA’s 30 head coaches will select the reserves for the 2016 All-Star Game. They must vote for seven players within their conference: two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at either position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their own team.
All-Star Game reserves will be revealed live on TNT on Thursday, January 28 at 7 p.m. ET, before the network’s doubleheader featuring the Raptors hosting the Knicks at 8 p.m. and the Bulls visiting the Lakers at 10:30 p.m. If a player is unable to participate in the All-Star Game after the coaches choose the reserves, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will select the replacement.
NBA All-Star Voting 2016 presented by Verizon is an all-digital program that gave fans everywhere the opportunity to vote for their favourite players as starters for the All-Star Game. New to the voting program this year, fans were able to cast their daily votes directly through Google Search on their desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
They also voted on NBA.com, through the NBA App (available on Android and iOS), SMS text and social media networks including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as via Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblogs in China.
NBA All-Star 2016 in Toronto will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. Along with the NBA All-Star Game, the Air Canada Centre will also host the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, February 12 and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, February 13. Other events at NBA All-Star 2016 include the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire.
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Stephen Curry, Golden State
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
Carmelo Anthony, New York
Paul George, Indiana
LeBron James, Cleveland
Kyle Lowry, Toronto
Dwyane Wade, Miami