New York, Jan 28 (IANS): Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will be the captain for the Western Conference in the 2022 NBA all-star game, marking his fifth consecutive selection as an all-star captain. This will be his 18th consecutive all-star appearance, the most by a player in the 71 years of the exhibition games.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was named the captain of the Eastern Conference, his second consecutive selection as captain and his 12th career all-star appearance for the match to be held on February 20 at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse arena in Cleveland, Ohio. But his availability is in doubt due to a rehab for a recent MCL injury.
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry makes his 8th appearance for the Western Conference, while reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo makes his 6th appearance representing the Milwaukee Bucks' for the Eastern Conference.
Newbies in the NBA all-star game include 22-year-old Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins. Morant is making his first All-Star appearance in his third NBA season, while Wiggins is making his debut appearance in his 8th season.
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young returns to the All-Star game in 2022 after making his first appearance in 2020. Chicago Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan has been rewarded for his renaissance this season as an All-Star starter, his fifth career appearance and first appearance since 2018.
Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid also makes his fifth appearance alongside reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic who will play his fourth All-Star game this year.
All the players have been having fantastic seasons to earn them a position as an All-Star starter. Durant and James are leading the league in scoring currently, while Curry is making history with a new three-point record every time he steps on the floor.
Jokic, Giannis, and Embiid are all locking horns in this year's MVP race, while players like Ja Morant have emerged into the MVP and All-Star picture after a break-out season. This year's All-Star game promises to be one for the ages.
The bench players for both conferences will be revealed next week (February 3) after a vote from all the coaches in the NBA. Five more players from each conference will be named to round the team's out and there will be an additional wild card berth for each conference.
The 2022 NBA All-Star game will be televised live in India on VH1 and MTV as well as on streaming platforms VOOT and JioTV.
Western Conference squad: -
Guards: Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
Forwards: LeBron James (captain, Los Angeles Lakers), Andrew Wiggins (Golden State Warriors) and Nikola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
Eastern Conference squad: -
Guards: Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks) and DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
Forwards: Kevin Durant (captain, Brooklyn Nets), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks), and Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)