James posted 13 factors, one rebound and 4 assists in 14 minutes earlier than sitting out the second half with a hand damage that didn’t seem severe. Regardless of lacking out on crunchtime, James was ubiquitous, collaborating in a reside, playground-style draft with Milwaukee Bucks ahead Giannis Antetokounmpo to choose the staff rosters after which being honored at halftime alongside Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone, the NBA’s second and third all-time main scorers.
“Regardless of the problem, regardless of the noise, he was relentless,” former Miami Warmth guard Dwyane Wade mentioned as he launched James to hearty applause at halftime. “He’s not only a four-time MVP or a 19-time all-star or a gold medalist or an NBA champion. He’s a son, father, husband and buddy. Now, he’s the all-time main scorer in NBA historical past.”
James, Abdul-Jabbar and Malone then stood facet by facet, embracing and waving to the group earlier than the second half commenced. By incomes the nineteenth all-star collection of his profession, James tied Abdul-Jabbar for essentially the most in league historical past. His 19 all-star appearances characterize a document.
“It’s an honor any time I’m in contrast with any of the greats that ever performed this recreation,” James mentioned throughout a pregame information convention. “These guys laid the trail each on and off the ground for guys like myself to stroll, speak, run, leap and do the issues I do each single day. It’s fairly cool being part of historical past.”
Within the NBA’s unconventional all-star format, the groups competed quarter-by-quarter for charity. They tied at 46 within the first quarter; Staff Giannis received the second quarter, 53-46, and in addition claimed the third quarter, 59-49.
The clock was turned off for the fourth quarter because the groups tried to succeed in a complete goal rating of 182 factors as a part of the “Elam Ending,” which ensures each contest ends with game-winning factors. Damian Lillard delivered the wining basket with a deep three-pointer to finish a low-intensity affair after a number of half-court heaves by Staff Giannis missed badly.
“Simply making an attempt to be aggressive a little bit bit and have some enjoyable with it,” Tatum mentioned. “[The all-star scoring record] means the world. Information are supposed to be damaged. I’ll maintain it for so long as I can, however I’m sure somebody will come alongside and break it.”
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell added 40 factors, 4 rebounds and 10 assists for Staff Giannis. Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving and Philadelphia 76ers heart Joel Embiid every scored 32 factors for Staff LeBron.
The weekend’s showcase occasion, which featured even much less defensive effort than traditional, started with a brand new twist: James and Antetokounmpo picked their rosters one-by-one as a part of the televised pregame present. To minimize the embarrassment related to being picked final, the NBA and the gamers union agreed that the captains would choose their benches earlier than selecting their starters.
“We thought this could be an fascinating experiment,” Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned. “Thought it could simply add a bit extra pleasure to it.”
Antetokounmpo chosen Lillard as the primary choose among the many reserves — to James’s shock, on condition that Jrue Vacation, Antetokounmpo’s Bucks teammate, was on the board. James later chosen Embiid with the primary choose among the many starters.
The draft had its share of humorous interludes, together with Antetokounmpo mistakenly trying to pick out Ja Morant within the reserves spherical despite the fact that the Memphis Grizzlies guard was slated to be a starter.
“Giannis is making an attempt something, y’all,” James joked.
After Jaren Jackson Jr. was the final reserve chosen, Denver’s Nikola Jokic made certain he wouldn’t face the identical destiny among the many starters. Jokic hopped up out of his seat early earlier than James had made his final choice, leaving Utah’s Lauri Markkanen to shrug in confusion as soon as he realized he was the final man left onstage.
As soon as Antetokounmpo completed his drafting duties, he took the courtroom with a wrap defending his injured proper wrist. The 2-time MVP dunked on the primary possession after which instantly checked out to forestall additional damage. He claimed his first victory in three tries as an all-star captain.
“Winner, winner, rooster dinner,” a smiling Antetokounmpo mentioned.