NBA All-Star captains select rosters live on game night

The NBA All-Star game is on February 19. And no one will know the All-Star roster until that night. Not even the players themselves.

The team captains — likely LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and either Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo or Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant — will make their selections in a live, televised pregame segment shortly before the game begins in Salt Lake City.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced the format change Tuesday night.

This will be the sixth time the league has used the format where the captains select their teams, but in each of the first five instances the roster was chosen several days before the game.

The captains and starters will be announced on Thursday.

James has been a captain in each of the first five years, and based on the poll results released by the league late last week, he is almost certain to be one again this year. The leading vote getter from both the Eastern and Western Conferences deserves the right to be captain.

Durant was the early leader among East players, then fell slightly behind Antetokounmpo in the latest poll. He’s still expected to be selected as the starter, and it won’t be known until Thursday if he regained the East voting lead in the final days.

Ballots to decide the starters were due on Saturday.

“I want to play,” Durant told reporters in New York on Tuesday. “I want to be a part of all these events.”

James’ teams are 5-0 in All-Star Games when he is captain.

Durant has been the East’s leading vote-getter in each of the past two games. Antetokounmpo appeared in the previous two games, 2019 and 2020.

The top three frontcourt players and top two guards in each conference will be selected as starters, with the leading total vote getters from each conference serving as captains and selecting their teams.

Fan votes count for 50% of starting ballots, a media poll counts for 25%, and the ballots cast by NBA players count for the other 25%.

Reserves — chosen by NBA coaches, seven players from each conference — will be revealed Feb. 2.

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